TIREY: Cats won't miss a beat with Caragher

A lot of Kentucky football fans have expressed to me that they are worried about Joker Phillips not being the recruiting coordinator anymore. The key to getting the great recruits has been Joker Phillips they say. Well, if the performance at Tennessee was any indication of what having Joker as the offensive coordinator will be like, then I say good riddance.

There are some misconceptions about the recruiting coordinator’s duties with any program, not just UK.  Caragher says one of those is that the RC makes some kind of final decision about whether or not a recruit is offered.  “As far as accepting or turning down possible recruits…that really comes from the top.  Our head coach is very involved in recruiting, and we make decisions as a staff, as a whole.  Be it watching tapes of prospects, who we really think would be good additions to our program, we watch that as a group, and we make a group decision.  So that really won’t change.” 

As far as affecting Caragher personally, the coach says, “just the organization of things.  Who goes on the road, as we’re only allowed seven of our ten coaches on the road at a time.   Where we will go?  When the head coach does go on the road, where will he be utilized most?...So from an organizational standpoint, that will keep me pretty busy.”  If there’s one thing that always impresses me about Caragher when I talk with him, it’s the organization.  The recruiting coordinator’s position is one that relies on organization as its’ lifeblood.  I’ve never seen Caragher with a hair out of place, much less unprepared with an answer or not having his ducks in a row.  A native of California, and a four year quarterback for the UCLA Bruins, Caragher honed his organizational skills in private business for three years before getting into coaching. 

So what is the key to recruiting?  According to Caragher, it is evaluation.  “There’s all kinds of lists of “blue chip” guys, and guys are rated by star systems, and all that on internet services and whatknot, but what it really comes down to is, these guys, when they show up their freshman year in August for two-a-days, how quickly do they pick up a system?  How do they make that jump from the high school level to the college level?  You can throw all the blue chip earnings out the window.” 

When Ron Hudson resigned from the staff before the Tennessee game last year,  Caragher got a little taste of helping call the plays for the offense in the near upset of the Volunteers.   He warns fans to be ready for a change in offensive philosophy for this next season.  “You’re only as good as what your players execute properly out on the field.  While the previous system had its’ success in the past, in certain situations, we’re just hoping to best utilize our talent and maximize our potential and put forth the best Kentucky offensive football team that we can.”  Basically, that is a reversal from the previous offensive thought that the system comes before the players.   Now, the players dictate the system. 

Caragher is not shying away from following Joker in the RC position.  “I very much look forward to the challenge and opportunity to do that,” stated Caragher.  And in this reporter’s opinion, it’ll be just like Sonny and Cher.  “The beat goes on…The beat goes on…”

JIM TIREY is the weeknight sports radio talkshow host for 630 WLAP radio and is a regular contributing writer for Kentucky Sports Reports.  You can read Jim Tirey's articles here on Kentucky Sports Report several times a week as well as Kentucky Sports Report - the magazine.  If you have a question or comment, ask Jim on the message boards.

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