As kickoff nears, what about Brooks?

Kickoff is moments away. Will this be the last game Kentucky fans see Rich Brooks patrol the sidelines as the Wildcats' head coach?

Will Rich Brooks be back next year as Kentucky's head coach?

If he knows, he's not saying — or telling those closest to him.

That includes Joker Phillips, UK's head coach in waiting.

"No, I don't know if he will be back," said Phillips. "He will talk if he is ready to retire. We go about our business like we do every day.

"That is not something I sit around and ponder about. I am the offensive coordinator and my job is to make sure this offense is headed the right direction. I have enough to worry about with that. When the time is right, Rich will let us know what he's going to do. But I have no reason to believe he won't be back."

The players are in the same situation.

"I have no idea about next year," senior cornerback Trevard Lindley said. "He is old, so I guess he can feel good about what he did here. If he is retiring, I want to give him one more win in our bowl game. Coach Brooks has done a lot for me. I hope he keeps coaching, but that's all up to him."

So what will he do?

My guess is that he's going to retire. No, this is not based on inside information. Instead, it's a gut feeling based on observations and being a little old myself.

First, Brooks looked the most physically and emotionally drained after the overtime loss to Tennessee that I have ever seen him. That loss hurt.

Second, he often talks about spending more time with his grandchildren. Since I've become a grandparent, I now understand more about what he means. You don't get that time back.

Third, when he was asked about next year in his pre-Tennessee press conference, Brooks avoided a direct answer. That's not like him. At best, it means he doesn't know. However, Brooks has always been brutally honest with the media and him not confirming right then that he would be back told me he's at least thinking about retiring.

My feeling was if UK beat Tennessee to finish second in the SEC East, he would return. If the Cats lost, I thought he would decide enough was enough and go spend time with those grandchildren.

I'm still not sure what he will do, but if I was a betting man today, my money would be on Phillips being UK's head coach next year.

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