Joker ready? Point -Counterpoint

Parents often question whether our 16-year olds are ready to get drivers licenses or whether our young daughters are old enough to date. There were many question heard from various and sundry quarters about the readiness of Joker Phillip one of which, he doesn't have any head coaching experience.

Parents often question whether our 16-year olds are ready to get drivers licenses or whether our young daughters are old enough to date. There were many question heard from various and sundry quarters about the readiness of Joker Phillip one of which, he doesn't have any head coaching experience.

Aside from that, there were some who conversely felt strongly that he was ready and prepared. Of the most important supporter was Rich Brooks. Of the opinions pro and con we will explore a few of them in a point counterpoint manner.

Cons:

* One meaning well media cohort said he wanted Brooks to stay one more year because there was going to be a quarterback controversy in the spring. He said he didn't want Phillips to have to go through that and some Kentuckians might want to accept his decision if it's not the one they want to see. As we said leading up to the Brooks resignation I really didn't have a dog in the fight and I feel confident Phillips will put the quarterback on the field that gives him the best chance to win. Counterpoint! Winning is the ultimate goal not playing favorites in choice of quarterbacks.

* "I would like to see Brooks stay around one more year so he can get a farewell tour around the league," another media cohort said. "He won't leave because he wants to defeat South Carolina and Tennessee." Counterpoint! Brooks has too much class and respect for Phillips to prolong the inevitable

* "Is Joker ready," one fan said. Counterpoint! His twenty-one years in coaching and where he's coached and who he coached under gives him a strong resume – at Kentucky under Jerry Claiborne; at Cincinnati University under Rick Minter; at Minnesota under Glen Mason; at Notre Dame under Bob Davie; At South Carolina under Lou Holtz; and at Kentucky under Rich Brooks.

* Phillips had a two-year audition, as the head coach in waiting, which at time s wasn't pretty. Counterpoint! Yet the Wildcats won seven games in both years. After Ron Hudson stepped down as the offensive coordinator in Brooks' second year, Phillips took over the play calling chores in the last game of the 2004 season at Tennessee with the much-maligned Shane Boyd at quarterback. The Wildcats put up 31-points in a 37-31 defeat. That was the sharpest Boyd had looked.

* Phillips had a two-year audition as coach in waiting. He doesn't throw the ball down the field enough was the complaint of some detractors. Counterpoint! Phillips is the same coach that put up 37-points per game in 2006-07 and the engineering of 12 fourth quarter comebacks and outscoring opponents in fourth quarter over those seasons. Given the fact there was very inconsistent quarterback play and almost no tight-end production, the Cats did well in winning 7-games in 2008 and '09. The Wildcat offense suffered a huge blow when quarterback Mike Hartline went down to begin the second half at South Carolina. The first half of that game was the best Hartline had played in his career. That was winning football. No train runs efficiently without an effective engine.

· The last two years looks a lot different with wins over South Carolina. Counterpoint! In all reality a question could arise, if UK had the same level of talent. The difference in those games was South Carolina's receiver play with both tight-end and wide-receiver. Those positions were the difference. In '05 and '06 it was Sidney Rice; in '07 and 08 it was Kinney McKinley; and in ‘09 it was true-freshman Alshon Jeffries over UK's true freshman cornerback Martavius Neloms, who was making his first start.

· Now the Pro's:

* One veteran well known sports talk-show call beat the drums over two years for Brooks to step down in favor of Joker Phillips. He said he felt that Brooks had reached a plateau and a young coach like Phillips could get the Cats to the next level. New Kentucky coach Ron Turner was asked could the Cats get to next level? "WHY NOT," the coach adamantly responded. "I think if you are not trying to be the best you're in the wrong line of work. It's not going to happen tomorrow. It's going to be a process and that's why I'm here to help Joker take it to the next level."

* Brooks was asked in one late season press conference if he planned to return in2010? Brooks said he needed to recharge his batteries and then he would make that decision later. Of the many signs, that was the most telling. One would have to question whether he was mentally and physically prepared to coach another year – whether he still had the fire in his belly.

* Others said Brooks was to loyal to make needed changes in his coaching staff. Remember the Ron Hudson incident?


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