So This week at a speaking event at the Louisville Quarterback Club Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips addressed disgruntled Wildcat fans when asked about the impact the recruiting . ”I’m selling you. I’m not selling Joker Phillips. I’m selling you all. So please support these kids.” Phillips said. Now I’ve jumped up on my soapbox plenty of times to argue that fans should always support their team , so you know how I feel about the need for a plea such as this. But that’s not exactly my point tonight.
Phillips said it as simply as anyone. While he may have bent the truth a bit, he does in fact, sell Joker Phillips. More often than not signees talk about how they love Phillips, as do current players. But choosing a college based only on a coach is a bad idea and parents know that. He sells recruits (and parents) on UK, on the BBN, that fabled mythical fanbase that travels everywhere and is rowdy in support of their team. What happens when they can’t see that?
Kentucky is no football power. It has little tradition or name recognition to fall back on in comparison to it’s SEC cohorts. The Wildcats need every recruiting pitch and advantage that they can muster in order to compete. (Insert tired joke about lack of competing) The Big Blue Nation has been a great selling point for a while now but what happens when that gets yanked away and recruits hear boos and see empty seats. Better yet, borrow a tactic from Bengals fans and cover your heads with paper bags. Be those people. Or you can just hide behind the anonymity of the internet and try to drag the program down that way. Our friend Brian Eldridge has a good article about this over at Scout .
Recruiting aside, it’s the players that I feel sorry for. You may not like Mitch Barnhart or Joker Phillips or whomever, but the players don’t deserve the vitriol they endure. These guys give blood and sweat regularly and try their best. No they haven’t won the SEC, but it’s not like they don’t want to. Poor Morgan Newton, that kid came here hoping to be Andre Woodson and everyone expected the same. It hasn’t worked out and Newton is no happier about it than you are. But as a 20-something college student he doesn’t deserve to be drug through the mud like he’s been. Newton recently remarked on Twitter how good it felt to meet some NICE Kentucky fans. That’s sad and made me look in the mirror. Hopeful some others follow suit.