Nov. 23, 2010
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An Interview with:
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH Joker Phillips
COACH PHILLIPS: First thing is the injury report. Brian Adams is really questionable. We'll check him out on Wednesday and Thursday. But right now he's probably doubtful for the game.
Norman Delic tweaked his shoulder yesterday. He should be back on Wednesday. Ricky Lumpkin will be limited reps, but we should have him available for Saturday. Everybody else should be ready to go.
Two of the announcements will be Mark Crawford will be suspended for the rest of the year for violation of a team rule. Martavius Neloms, we got a letter from the SEC office and he will be suspended for the first half of the game. And we broke one streak, we won the blood drive.
Q. What is 517?
COACH PHILLIPS: Somebody's area code; I don't know. That's all we've got. Everybody's looking at me like `Come on now.'
Q. Asked if he required the players not to talk about 517?
COACH PHILLIPS: I didn't put anything. You see how they tweet. I can't stop those guys. I didn't do anything.
Q. Will Crawford be out the rest of the season, does that also include a possible Bowl game?
COACH PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.
Q. Talk about what does it mean for both teams; do you ever remember a game where a game had as much at stake?
COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, I can remember. I remember the Claiborne years when we were 5 and 5 playing for a bowl game. That's the position they're in right now. So I'm sure they'll be ready to play.
We got a chance to have a special year, 7 and 5, for us. So it's a lot at stake for us also. Big game. In the last three games offensively, they have went with the freshman, (Tyler) Bray, and their numbers are unbelievable offensively. They're averaging 42 points a game.
He's throwing for right at 300 yards a game in those three games. And then they also have (Tauren) Poole (who) went over 100 yards in all but one game. In one game he didn't have 100, he had 99. So I think it's helped them not only in throwing the ball, but it's helped them in rushing the football also. They're scoring a lot of points. They're not turning it over. They only have three turnovers in the last three games, and they have created 11 turnovers. So it's helped them defensively. Only given up about 12 points in the last three games also.
So they're playing really well, one of the hottest teams in the SEC right now. But it's a huge game. We're starting to play a little bit better. Starting to protect the football a little bit better. And starting to stop people more often than we have.
So it will be a good game. Huge game for both involved.
Q. How sweet would it be not just break the losing streak against Tennessee, but to knock them out of any Bowl game?
COACH PHILLIPS: Our goal is to be 7 and 5 at this point, and the sweetness of that, I mean, that has nothing to do with it, it would be sweet for us to be 7 and 5.
Q. Not having Crawford, what does that do to the playing rotation up front?
COACH PHILLIPS: Well, he didn't play a lot in the last game. We'll have to play (Donte) Rumph a little bit more, who continues to come, getting himself into really good shape.
He hasn't played as fast in the games as he has in practice. We hope he's going to be able to take it now that he's going to have a big role in the game, hopefully he's able to take more of his effort to the game than he has in practice, because in practice he's playing really, really fast for us right now. We need him to continue to come and he'll get a lot of reps in this game.
Q. Randall was doing a great job telling us he has no emotion.
COACH PHILLIPS: He stopped me out there. That's why somebody was saying I was late. That's why I was late. He said, "Coach, I got them ready for you. I told them it's just another game."
Q. Re: trying not to be overly emotional
COACH PHILLIPS: You can't say it's just another game for either party. I mean, you can't go down there and find any person that will say it's just another game. You can't come here and find out (it's just another game) it's a big game for both parties involved. We've got a chance to be 7 and 5. They've got a chance to be Bowl eligible. So it's a big game. And every week we come here, and I say that, because what league are we in? SEC. It's a big game every week. And it's no different this week.
Q. What do you think about Randall's approach, though, trying to keep trying not to I guess seems like he's trying to not let the emotions get too much
COACH PHILLIPS: Whatever approach he takes, I wish all of them took. Because he comes to play every week. I like his approach, because he'll be ready to play. We know that.
Q. You guys have stopped some of the previous streaks, but is this sort of the big one?
COACH PHILLIPS: It's the big one because it's the next one. I mean, simple as that. We have stopped a couple this year, and this is the biggest one now, because it's the next one. And that's how we're approaching it.
Last week was getting Kentucky better. That was big for us. Getting us better last week and also preparing for Tennessee, about 10 to 15 minutes each day. Now our focus is preparing for this game, which is a huge, huge game for us.
Q. Did you get what you wanted to get out of it?
COACH PHILLIPS: Last week, yes, we were able to get Derrick Locke some conditioning with no contact. We were able to continue our player development with our young kids and some of the guys who are back ups. And we were able to get some of our guys that were banged up healthier and rested, too.
Q. Did you ever coach against Kentucky when you were at any of the
COACH PHILLIPS: South Carolina.
Q. Re: Coach Tee Martin returning to Tennessee
COACH PHILLIPS: We really haven't talked about it. Tee's a competitor, regardless of who we're playing, he's ready to compete. I mean, the guy has competed at the highest level, and I'm sure he's taking this game as one of those big games for him also. He loves to compete. The same with Coach (Randy) Sanders, those guys like to compete.
When I was away (from Kentucky) and playing against (other teams), I was ready to compete. I mean, every week. And I don't worry about coaches getting too high or too low. Our coaches will be ready to coach their brains out.
Q. Randall mentioned not wanting the streak to be a distraction, that's why he's not looking at it, talking about it, but then Brad (Durham) kind of said, well, we want to keep it on our minds, keep us motivated. How are you going to approach it? Leave it alone? Talk about it?
COACH PHILLIPS: How I approach it? I'll approach us trying to get to 7 and 5. That's how I'll approach it. One of our goals is to be 7 and 5 at this point. And that's all we'll mention about it.
Q. Going to show game film from 1984?
COACH PHILLIPS: I showed it one time when I had the kids, and I didn't show it, they kind of grabbed the video and watched it. I thought it would look pretty good. But they thought it looked kind of slow. And it was. It was slow.
But I don't want to get into watching those, the past games, anything. These guys, they've got to find their own way and we have to help them find their way with this game.
Q. Sticker on the door out there, and Durham mentioned there's stuff all over the complex. Is there a difference or have you done something different getting ready for this game in terms of reminders around the locker room, whatever; have you anything different than you would for any other game?
COACH PHILLIPS: We've done stuff in the offseason. We'll take each opponent and do things in the offseason. Today we're working on our first opponent. The next day we're working on our second. And our offseason conditioning program is working on all 12 of our opponents. And we've done very little different than working on Tennessee.
Q. There wasn't a "Beat Louisville" sticker on that door. Do you have something in the complex that ...
COACH PHILLIPS: Yes.
Q. Could you ...
COACH PHILLIPS: No. (Laughter).
Q. What do you remember most about the '84 game?
COACH PHILLIPS: If I told you it's just crazy. It may take a little long to explain. But at Tennessee, they had a line they didn't have the white part, you know how you have the fill in white part on the sidelines. So they have a line and then they had a box with another line. It was a square. Everybody envision that?
Can you envision that? So it wasn't a white line outlining the sides of the field. It was just a line and then about another yard there was another line. I remember catching the pass in the flat and running out of bounds but thinking I'm still in play because I'm reading that other line and I'm streaking away from everybody. I kept running for 15, 20 yards until I realized nobody's chasing me that I really stepped out of bounds. So that's what I remember about it.
And I also remember George Adams going over a thousand yards, and we were pounding the football, and I got to do what I did best, which was block. Something the receivers - (La'Rod) King the other day was telling me the only thing people can say about you was you were a good blocker. That was a good thing. It was a good thing because that's how you got on the field.
Nowadays the thing is for them to catch passes. And he's doing a good job at that. But that's what I remember was running down the sidelines thinking I was getting ready to score but only caught the ball for a 2 yard gain because I ran out of bounds.
Q. Could you talk about the Tennessee defense and how they played all year in your opinion?
COACH PHILLIPS: I think their front four is as good as any in this league, that's where their experience is at, in their front four. They've got some experience at two of their linebackers.
Their back end is very talented, young, but very talented. Their safety, Janzen Jackson, is one of the best in this league. He's probably a guy that will have a chance to be a first rounder next year. Hopefully he is, because he's a talented player, covers kicks.
We've got to find a way to get hats on him in the kicking game, because he's so talented in doing that.
Physical. Typical Tennessee defense that runs well, big up front, long. They're longer than most teams I've seen at Tennessee up front. So, (it's a) big challenge for us offensively.
Q. Tennessee's quarterback (Bray), does he remind you of anyone?
COACH PHILLIPS: The Ainge kid they there a couple of years ago. Tall, slim guy that gets the ball out of his hands in a hurry.
He hasn't thrown a lot of interceptions. They've only turned the ball over three times, I think, in the last three games. And I think only one or two of those have been interceptions. So he's doing a really good job. And he's thrown for 11 touchdowns. So he's throwing it to the right people.
Q. How do you get him out of his comfort, at least try
COACH PHILLIPS: That's what you have to do with every quarterback. Not just him. You've got to make it uncomfortable for every quarterback, and we've got to get pressure on him. Get people in his face and put some hits on him. We do.
We've got to make it uncomfortable for him because they've got some talented young receivers; they've got two talented older receivers and they have two really talented young receivers that will be stars in this league in time.
Q. Clearly, it's important to get off to a good start?
COACH PHILLIPS: We say that every week, too, gosh.
Q. That's not you all.
COACH PHILLIPS: We're just laying in the weeds until the second half and come out fighting. I guess that's the approach we need to start taking.
But it's important for us (to start well). We've got to play 60 minutes. We do. We have to play 60 minutes. This is one of those games, if you don't if you do what we have done in the first half (in recent games), you could be too far behind in the first half. Because this team (Tennessee) has the ability to score a lot of points. We've seen that in the last three weeks.
Q. That's a huge stadium. Based on your experience coaching and playing there, how much of a factor for some of your guys who are making their first trip?
COACH PHILLIPS: It will be somewhat of a factor. But we've played in big, loud stadiums throughout the year. So I don't expect this in game 12. Our guys, this is our fifth game on the road and every stadium we've been in has been in a hostile environment. They should be used to it.
Q. Talk about the recent success of Steve Johnson, Jacob Tamme in the NFL. Does that surprise you any at all?
COACH PHILLIPS: No. It definitely helps. And it doesn't surprise me. Stevie and Jacob both are having outstanding years. Stevie has nine touchdowns, I was reading. Last year the most anybody had was 13, maybe. He's already at nine.
Jacob is having an unbelievable year. Some of our managers, and I know Morgan Newton always talks about their fantasy teams. He says those two guys are big time fantasy numbers, I don't know you would know the lingo, but they're getting a lot of points out of those guys with their fantasy.
And I would take them. I would take them on my team, both of them. Those guys not only are they good players but they're good people.
Q. Does your team's conditioning via Rock Oliver gives you extra confidence?
COACH PHILLIPS: Maybe that's the reason why we've been laying in the weeds, waiting for our conditioning to kick in. (laughter) But I think (laughter) because we have not played well in the first half. But we have got to come out and play fast from snap to whistle, from the first whistle to the buzzer. But it's definitely helped us. It's helped our confidence more than anything and knowing that we've put in the time. We've put in the mileage. They put their time in the weight room.
Our injury report, I think, is the reason why it's like this, we don't have a lot of injuries is because of our conditioning.
Q. The fact that you had to suspend somebody for the rest of the year, this late in the season, you laid down the law. How disappointing is that?
COACH PHILLIPS: We have hard core rules. When our kids don't follow them, I said it numerous times, we've got to teach them more than just football. And we've got to teach them some of the important values of life and we had to suspend Mark because of it. Disappointing I wouldn't call it disappointing. It's a teaching time for us.
Q. At this point, with getting off to so many slow starts, have you kind of exhausted as far as like
COACH PHILLIPS: Anybody got any ideas?
Q. Have Ricky Lumpkin do a pregame speech?
COACH PHILLIPS: He did a good one at halftime the other day. We've let Ricky do it in the first half before, too, and it didn't work.
Q. Pretty much at this point out of ideas as far as trying to
COACH PHILLIPS: We'll come up with something creative. We always gotta be thinking, always gotta be thinking how to get this team to play fast from the first kickoff. Opening kickoff.
Q. To be clear, we talk about the sweetness of you getting to seven games as opposed to breaking the streak, stopping them from going to a Bowl, it's sweeter to get the seven wins than it would be to stop the streak?
COACH PHILLIPS: It would be sweeter for us to get the seventh win, for me.
Q. What would Stevie's fine have been, you saw what he did yesterday with the touchdown, pulling up his jersey
COACH PHILLIPS: What his fine would have been for me?
Q. Obviously would have gotten a flag, but I'm just curious.
COACH PHILLIPS: After his third touchdown? I'm sure (laughter) come here, Stevie, you better not do that again. Now sit down and score me another one. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.