VAUGHT: Q&A with Coach Joker Phillips

Kentucky offensive coordinator Joker Phillips talks with Kentucky Sports Report's Larry Vaught in detail about the Louisville game. Today's interview discusses how the Kent State game impacted Kentucky, what Kentucky will have to do against Louisville to win the game, and much more.

Question: Was Kent State a good or bad game to get your team ready for Louisville?

Phillips: "I think the second half was good. I think the first half was an eye-opener for us. I think we can use it like that. I think the second half the way we ran the football, I think that sends a message to our football team that we can do that. I think the second half we came out with an attitude and our offensive line took over the game."

Question: What do you have to do better early against Louisville than you have the past few years?

Phillips: "We have got to run the football. We have to keep our defense off the field. One of the things with Louisville is that if they get the ball first and you go three and out twice, the third time you get the ball you could be down 21 points. One thing we have to do is keep our defense fresh. Our defense stays fresh if we run the football.

"We have been a big striking team, and sometimes, especially in the first half against Kent State, I got away from the run game and got in the mindset that we are a big strike offense. We have to be able to sustain long drives and you sustain long drives by running the football."

Question: Wasn't it almost impossible to think your team might not overlook Kent State last week in anticipation of playing Louisville no matter what you told them?

Phillips: "We still sell them the Appalachain State deal (win over Michigan). Another eye-opener should have been when Kent State went into Iowa State and won. Those are two eye-openers we tried to sell and they didn't buy."

Question: Since you were a former Kentucky player, are you yet to the point where Louisville is just another game to you or not?

Phillips: "I think this is a huge game for us because it is our next game. We are both undefeated. We are playing them at home. We have to defend our turf. That has been our motto. We were 6-1 (at home) last year and are 2-0 this year. We have won seven out of our last eight games. So this is a huge game for us not because we are playing Louisville but because it is our next game."

Question: So beating Louisville would be no more satisfying than beating LSU, Florida, Tennessee or any other ranked opponent?

Phillips: "It is not going to feel any better, especially if we don't have a successful season. A successful season to us right now is SEC championship. The door is still open for that."

Question: Does this mean you are just getting older and wiser, or does it mean you just don't tell the truth about what this game means to you?

Phillips: "Definitely getting older for sure. But I am telling the truth. Our goal is to win a SEC championship. We have enough pieces of the puzzle put together here to do that. This is a huge game only because it is our next game."

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