Kentucky Wildcat Football: Joker Phillip's post game quotes after Vanderbilt Commodores game

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Nov 3, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Joker Phillips walks off the field after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

COACH PHILLIPS: All right, injury, E.J. Fields has a rib contusion, Neloms hamstring reaggravated, Quinn reaggravated his hamstring. That is the injuries. I was hoping, as they said, the audio was off. I was hoping it would still be off. That’s the kind of year we’ve had.

It’s a tough game, lot of mistakes. Defensively couldn’t get ourselves off the field on third downs. 8 of 10 in the first half and converted one of the fourth downs on one of those. So that equals ‑‑ that’s what equals the points that they had in the first half. I thought offensively we moved the ball some in the first half. Our margin for error with the young football team offensively is very small. You get a holding penalty after a big play, and then have a tough sledding after that, so had a couple of those.

Special forces was really bad today. Lot of things that we hadn’t seen all year, and that’s one of the areas where we had been fairly good, fairly consistent. Ran into the punt catcher twice, dropped a couple balls in the return game. Just a very sloppy performance in the kicking game. Any questions?

Q. When you run and your guys are in the tunnel jumping up‑and‑down and you run out on the field and it looks like 20,000 people in the stands. Does that affect you?

COACH PHILLIPS: First of all, I appreciate the fans who were there. That’s the thing that I see. I see the people that are there and I want those guys to know that we appreciate them. Regardless of how it looks, you’ve got to play. Regardless how it looks. I’ve played a lot of games when it’s like that. Okay, you’ve got to play. It shouldn’t have any effect on how we perform.

Q. Where do you think this team is at right now and where do you think you’re at right now?

COACH PHILLIPS: There are some hurt young men in there right now. No doubt about that. They are definitely not proud of the way they’ve performed today. I shouldn’t say they; I should say the way we performed. It was not a very good performance by us.

What’s kind of hurtful is how we played two weeks ago, and we haven’t gotten to that level the last couple weeks. Where I’m at, I get it. I get this business. I get the criticism. Nobody in this program wants this place to have success more than me, but I understand. I understand this is a business that is based on results, and we haven’t gotten the results right now.

Q. What does that mean you’ll do, Joker? Obviously Mitch (Barnhart) wants to keep you and you’re making it real hard on him.

COACH PHILLIPS: Yeah, we are. No doubt about that, making it real tough for him. Again, I think it’s a young football team. This place has won, and I’ve been a part of it. You look at it, and it’s been some upperclassmen ‑‑ we’re depleted up top in our upper two classes. The last four years we’ve lost 49% of our signing class in the last four years. We have 88% of our last two classes that are a huge part of this program.

Kentucky’s going to win when you have veterans at the top. When you’re doing it the other way, it’s going to take a little bit longer. It’s going to take a little bit longer. But it’s just hard. I understand how hard it is to fight through what we’re seeing today.

Q. Pregame radio show (Mitch) was talking about in practice the enthusiasm, energy, it doesn’t look like a team that’s given up or anything. But how do you explain today?

COACH PHILLIPS: It’s hard. A lot of it has to do with youth, but you see it. You see the guys coming to practice. They’re fired up, a lot of chatter. There is nobody dragging. Again, a lot of it has to do with how young we are too. If we were an old team, it would be hard for 46 juniors and seniors to show up every day understanding that you’re out of bowl contention and those things.

But we’ve got 46 scholarship guys that are underclassmen that are playing. So that is the reason why I think you see the excitement at practice.

Q. Even with that, how does that not translate?

COACH PHILLIPS: I don’t know. Again, we’re making a lot of mistakes when we get to the field. Making mistakes that we don’t see on the practice field. We’re not getting people stops and then we just can’t stay on the field offensively.

Again, we’ve moved the ball the first three series offensively. Actually, every series except for the last series we had in the first half. Again, it’s hard for us to drive the football the length of the field. Today when we got into the second half, we couldn’t take advantage of the short fields.

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