Joker Phillips went up to Louisville this morning. UK was holding a football kickoff luncheon and Joker was asked to stop by a local station to do an interview first. Coach enters the station and is greeted by a young staffer, "Good to meet you, coach." As Phillips tells the story, "The young man then turns his back to me and says, 'You know, I'm not really a Cardinal fan; I grew up in Lexington.' I said, 'I'm Joker."
The guy had thought he was speaking Charlie Strong.
Phillips and Strong have been friends for years and now are the faces of the two preeminent college football programs in the state. Phillips was asked if it's awkward going against his friend when recruiting in state talent. "We don't really talk about their program when we're trying to sell Kentucky. You're very limited in how many opportunities you have in front of a recruit, so for me to spend time talking about somebody else's program, that's just taking away time for me to talk about mine. And we've got a lot of things to sell here at Kentucky, and I need all that time to sell it."
Phillips was also asked how his players are responding to new defensive coordinator Rick Minter's schemes. "Our kids have come a long way in understanding Rick. Rick's a tough, hard-nosed, in-your-face type of coach. Some had problems with that. I understand that. But they now understand the benefits of his approach. His approach is to try to get out kids to line up fast, to play great technique and to play within the schemes."