This Thursday midnight post is usually dedicated to picking college football games from all around the NCAA. I will still get to that, no worries, but I won’t be dissecting the games as a usually do. Not tonight. Tonight I feel that it is appropriate that I address the seniors that are leaving, and our coach that is leaving, Joker Phillips.
This Kentucky team has gone through some rough times this past season. Morgan Newton, Larry Warford, Collins Ukwu, Martavius Neloms, La’Rod King, E.J. Fields, CoShik Williams, Aaron Boyd, Mikie Benton, Cartier Rice, Matt Smith, Gene McCaskill, Taylor Wyndham, and the other lesser known seniors didn’t expect or want a 1-9 record up until this point. They didn’t expect or want to play in front of 18,000 people at Commonwealth Stadium. They didn’t expect or want to be shut out twice in one season. They didn’t expect or want their coach to be fired. But it happened. All of it.
But these players showed up every game and performed. CoShik Williams’ season and career was cut short, but he still gave a lot to this university. We need to show up to send these guys off with applause. Because no matter how bad it got, no matter how many fans refused to show up and no matter how many bloggers, journalists, or pundits took shots at their teammates, they still showed up and played every single game.
And, this may not be a popular thing to say, but thank you Joker Phillips. Thank you for beating Tennessee and for beating Steve Spurrier. Thank you for the years of hard work and dedication. Things did not end up like we all would have wanted, but that happens sometimes and now it is time to move on.
But before we move on, there is still a game to be played at Commonwealth and there is a trip down to Knoxville to take. Samford is 7-3 on the season and many feel that this Wildcat team is so dejected that there might be an upset brewing. Let’s give this team a reason not to be dejected. Let’s show up to Commonwealth stadium and send them off in style. The fans no longer have a grudge against Mitch Barnhart, they got what they wanted, Joker is gone.
So let’s set aside the conversations about Kentucky’s next coach for a minute and let’s realize that these seniors aren’t going to get a chance with a new coach. Their days of playing football for the Wildcats are just about over.
Give them and Joker Phillips something to smile about amid this season of turmoil and disappointment.
Kentucky Wildcats 30- Samford Bulldogs 10