Phillips on UK-UT matchup

Kentucky is only 4-7 and can't have a winning season, has had its five-year streak of playing in bowl games snapped and has not defeated Tennessee since 1984.

Kentucky is only 4-7 and can't have a winning season, has had its five-year streak of playing in bowl games snapped and has not defeated Tennessee since 1984.

But Kentucky coach Joker Phillips, 10-14 in his two seasons as head coach, insists he feels no extra pressure going into Saturday's season-ending game with Tennessee.

"No, I?don't," said Phillips. "We are playing for pride and pride for university. I don't feel any pressure for myself. I don't want them (the players) to feel pressure for me especially. I want to them to put their pride on the line and not play for me. I need them not to play for me but for their own self pride."

Phillips says there will be no special emphasis on the game despite UK's record and continuing speculation about his job status because of his team's play this season.

"Our emphasis last week (against Georgia) was to try to continue the streak of going to bowl games. It is lost now," Phillips said as he reflected on the 19-10 loss at Georgia. "Again, one of our goals is to try and end certain streaks on our schedule and that is one goal still out there. I want to them to prepare and play with the same type intensity (they did at Georgia) and try to get the job done."

Phillips was on the last UK?team to beat Tennessee. He insisted a win over the Vols, who need a win to gain bowl eligibility, would not mean anything special even though it could be viewed as a season-saving win by UK?fans or maybe a job-saving win for Phillips.

"Just to get a win. It has been two, three years ... I think it was the Liberty Bowl ... since we got a win to end the season. Going into the offseason with a win would be really big."

Former Kentucky coach Rich Brooks and Phillips both noted that one big advantage for going to a bowl was the extra month of practice it provided. However, on Sunday Phillips downplayed what losing those extra practices would mean to the Kentucky football program.

"It's always helpful to get that extra month of practice, but one thing we have done is play a lot of young players, especially the last three or four weeks," Phillips said. "Young guys that normally practice (during bowl preparation time) are not only practicing (with the top units), but playing (in games). We have played more true freshmen than we have in a long time. More on our two-deep depth chart than ever before.

"It always helps to have that extra month. No doubt about that. But playing the young guys (during the regular season) has been helpful also."


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