DEMAREE: Brooks and the talk show culture

At his weekly Monday press conference, Rich Brooks set off a flurry of mostly good-natured give and take related to the effects of callers on radio talk shows. Obviously this piqued my interest since he spent better than five minutes in my wheelhouse of interest.

I'm in my seventh straight year as guest host of a two-hour post UK game talk show dedicated strictly on the just concluded football game. It has been an obstacle-course journey since the start of our tenure in many ways. When the Cats lose, or even if they win ugly, we allow the callers to vent. When they were bad the first four years we were accused of playing the ‘Player Card' when we defended the coaches as they were shooting with a short stick due to probation. Fans would rather blame the loss on the coaches.

"I find it interesting about the perception of UK football," Brooks said. "I find Kentucky football an interesting phenomenon and what our team has been trying to do is change the culture of Kentucky football and I think we've done that but some people don't get it."

On the call in shows, Brooks said – "All of you know I listen to these things when I'm in my car, that's no secret. You get more calls after a loss than you do after a win and I find that negativity. It's hard to keep that from filtering into the team." Brooks talked about an example of negativity. He asked the media what is the ‘Bluegrass Miracle'? He said the ‘Bluegrass Miracle' should be the Arkansas game rather than LSU.

Brooks discussed the fans leaving Saturday night's game early. "After the last two years, no I don't understand but that's their prerogative," Brooks explained. "I was disappointed, too – I was talking to players, having players talk to players to get something going. That's the cascading effect and to not have your players give in to it. Does the media promote it or do you (media) react to what the people are doing?"

Brooks compared Kentucky to his previous college stay in Oregon. "It's not apathy, just negativity here in my opinion because there was nobody in the stands there (laughs).

"I'm thrilled we are sitting here picking away at every little thing on our team and we are 5-2," said a hopeful Brooks. "Four year ago we would be shooting off fireworks at 5-2, but not now and I don't have a problem with it and just being negative to be negative. People are invested with this team and when they get disappointed they get mad and I understand all of that."

Joker Phillips, who has been involved with UK football over twenty-five years, discussed the possible change in the overall culture at Kentucky. "Yes it has (changed)," Phillips enthusiastically responded. "I always longed to be a team that is 5-2 and the fans being upset. I think it's exciting, I think we have done all the right things and you are 5-2 and your fans are upset, at Kentucky." When told that Brooks admitted he listened to the talk shows, Phillips said the assistant coaches didn't have the time.

Yeah coach! Perhaps this is the Bill Curry brand in that he maintained he didn't listen to the shows or read the newspapers. So the overall task is to get the UK fans to cease and desist with the negativity and keeping that from filtering into the team.

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