The noise is getting louder.
The dissident voices have gotten more vocal in the aftermath of Kentucky’s 32-31 loss to Western Kentucky in overtime last Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
Many season ticket holders spoke out by not renewing their tickets before the season even began, resulting in sub-par attendance in the stands, with numbers that haven’t been as below-par since the Bill Curry era.
Much was given to Joker Phillips when he assumed control of the program three years ago and much has been expected.
Phillips won his first three games as coach of the Wildcats, but hasn’t duplicated the feat since his squad defeated Louisville, Western and Akron two years ago.
During his initial season, Phillips became the first Kentucky coach to defeat South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and kept the team’s bowl streak alive at five a postseason run that came to an end last year. Also under his watch, Kentucky ended a 26-game losing streak to Tennessee with a 10-7 triumph over the Volunteers to end last year’s 5-7 campaign.
However, it’s the present that matters, instead of the past.
Phillips is aware of the noise, but isn’t getting caught up in chatter.
“We won’t hear it,” he said. “We’ll be buried in the office. We sense it, but we don’t get a chance to hear it because we’re buried in there trying to get ready for the next opponent, and our next opponent is Florida.”
In addition to his team’s struggles on the field, off-field issues surfaced on Monday.
Three players — Raymond Sanders, Marcus Caffey and Bookie Cobbins — were charged last Thursday night with marajuana possession.
It’s not the kind of start Phillips envisioned to open his third season as coach of the Cats.
However, he insists he’s in it for the long haul and the task at hand.
“My job is to make sure we win football games, continue to do the things we need to do to win football games,” he said. “The first order of business is focusing on Florida.”
UK Football: Chatter getting louder
University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips argues a call during the Wildcats' 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky last Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. (Sun photo by Bill Thiry)