Another former Kentucky player wants to add his perspective on the UK football program, and while he agrees with some of what another former player noted were problems with the program, he does have some different feelings.
The Kentucky native asked not to be identified, like the player who spoke out in a column Monday, because he did not want to be viewed as being disloyal to the program.
“Could go on, but won't waste time. Also, with UK's tradition, it must do the little and achievable things better than programs that dedicate more money and have more in-state talent such as public relations, marketing and promotions,” the former player, who has season tickets and attends games regularly, said.
Kentucky football has to think outside the box. Take a lesson from the creativity that John Calipari has brought to the basketball program.
This player doesn’t buy the theory, either, that UK’s football facilities are subpar and keep UK from competing in the SEC.
“I think facilities are just fine. Extending Kentucky's football footprint could easily be accomplished by two free, achievable goals,” he said. “One, attention to detail in all promotional matters including marketing, promotions, and public relations. Two, having passion. I feel that most times UK's efforts toward football are a mere mandatory must in order to check the block to move to next event.”
He vented his frustration by noting that former Kentucky punter Ryan Tydlacka is still listed as the leading receiver in the Blue-White spring game on the UK athletics website, even though Tydlacka did not even play in the game — a statistical program error led to that glitch that was corrected on stats distributed to the media but apparently not on the website.
This player also realizes that the negativity toward the program has intensified because of back-to-back losing seasons under coach Joker Phillips.
“Winning is the cure all and answer to the real problem. Hiding unhappiness and disgruntled fans by spending money on facilities is just masking the real problems that have plagued UK football for 50 years. Do and it's done,” the player said. “Utah, Washington and Colorado, West Virginia — once championship level teams but somewhat down now — are programs from state schools that produce equal to less prospects as Kentucky.
“One could argue it's the chicken and the egg theory, players won't come to a non-title contending team. Well, it has to start somewhere, sometime. I don't buy ‘it's the way it is and always will be’ excuse about anything, including UK football. Something like three-fourths of the country's population is within six hours of Lexington. Not sure if totally accurate, but close enough. I will never buy the geography excuse.”
Earlier this week, another player said he felt UK faced an uphill battle trying to compete with schools such as Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn and others for top recruits and that the lack of in-state Division I prospects annually hurt, too.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Hard to know, but obviously two former prominent UK players still feel passionately about the program and that kind of brutally honest evaluation of the program typifies the way most Kentucky fans feel. Some fans think Joker Phillips needs more time. Some fans think UK needs a new coach. Some believe UK can never win. Some believe UK should be able to consistently win.
Combine all those thoughts and it makes for an interesting next few months for Phillips before UK opens the season at Louisville in what likely is a must-win game for Phillips’ young team to have a successful 2012 season.