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**FOOTBALL PRACTICE NOTES (Wed., Oct. 31)**

  • Some Halloween news and notes for you today:

    ###For once, Kentucky got some good news on the injury front today. Running back Josh Clemons has been practicing this week and has looked really good according to Joker Phillips. That would be a major boost for this offense if he can come back healthy in the spring and maintain that health into the 2013 season as he knee grows stronger:

    "We had a new recruit out here today running around, number 21, which nobody is used to 21," Phillips said. "Josh Clemons showed why he was our starting running back, you could see that. Hopefully he'll come back healthy and come back for next year. He did the individual (work) and some of the hook up stuff but looked good doing it so we've just got our fingers crossed he can make it back next year."

    ###The requisite QB question was asked, and here was Phillips' response: "Every day is a learning experience for them, trying to learn how to beat different types of defense, fast defenses. This defense we'll play this week is ranked real high at 19 points per game and bring blitzes from everywhere, probably the best team we've seen in terms of disguising blitzes. You're going to see that as the ball gets into your hand so you have to be able to react to it as quickly as you can. Those guys are doing a good job coming out here trying to get better."

    ###Phillips was asked about Vanderbilt's offense, which does a nice job running the ball and then hitting play action to a pair of big play receivers. He likened it to an offensive philosophy that has garnered a lot of attention the past year or so:

    "You've got to stop the run and we've done that well the last couple of weeks," Phillips said. "We haven't given up any big plays in the run game. (Vanderbilt) did a really good job running the ball downhill against Florida and that's what you're going to see. It's similar to a Stanford, San Francisco 49ers, it's Harbaugh ball, that's what it is. That's what you are seeing with these guys offensively. They use play action to get the ball down the field."

    ###I asked Joker on Monday about how you evaluate the offense's issues in regard to what percentage of them is due to not having Maxwell Smith and what are issues that just simply can't happen at this time of the year. Some other reporters have picked up on that and also asked similar questions like one today about whether the staff has talked to the players about not using Smith's absence as an excuse:

    "It can't be," Phillips said. "It did hurt us and we've had to change gears but it can't be (an excuse). We've had to change gears around here a lot and we expect results and we haven't gotten them the way we'd like to."

    ###I've been asked by a few people about the curious case of Christian Coleman and his lack of playing time this season. Phillips had this to say: "A lot of it has to do with the way Tristian Johnson has played," Phillips said. "When he got an opportunity to go in and get snaps he did well and well enough that when (Cobble) came back he couldn't get his starting position back. (Coleman) has been injured a lot. It seems like every day we're peeling him up off the carpet in practice so the thing you have to be is healthy and make plays and that's the thing that Tristian has been so he's gotten more opportunities than Christian."

    ###Asked whether last year's loss to Vandy is motivation and that D-Line coach David Turner has been texting his players video of Vandy's runs last season, Phillips said motivation should be for more reasons than that: "I would have a chip on my shoulder because of what happened last week instead of last year," Phillips said. "This is a team coming in here that obviously thinks they can go 4-4 in the league right now or even better. They've already got two and think they can get a couple more. We have to match their intensity."

    ###I almost hesitate to even write this because of the response I'm sure it will get but AD Mitch Barnhart was at part of practice today and spent a few moments talking with Phillips afterward. Appeared to be a very cordial conversation. Again, I don't think that means anything in terms of Phillips' future and nothing Barnhart does or says right now is going to appease angry fans but I guess it's worth noting.

    ###Appears as though UK will practice on Wednesday and Thursday next week during the open week of the schedule.

  • Thanks for the notes Matt. I also appreciate you asking about Coleman. I was wondering the same thing myself because he looked really good as a FR.

    Follow me on twitter @ TailgatingCzar

  • Sorry to bust any remaining bubbles, but the info from Joker on Christian Coleman is entirely false. Coleman "tweaked" his shoulder the beginning of September and the team physician advised the coaches "to limit the amount of reps Christian took in practice, so he would be ready for the games", however, he was never injured enough that he could not play, or make plays during a game. Until that time he was injury free and has remained injury free until yesterday at practice, when he rolled his ankle. Z. West was hurt--he played; Towles was hurt--he played; A Lowery was hurt - he played, etc... This is just another example of discrimination against a player that has displeased "someone" and is not being given ANY opportunities to redeem themselves, or be "coached-up". This is one of the biggest disappointments in the coaches I have seen and one of the reasons UK continues to struggle, fails to recruit more SEC players and loses players to transfers.

  • Thanks for the factual info. Real easy for Joker when his side of the story is the only one that gets out most of the time.

  • If Joker was winning games people would be saying Coleman needs to get his act together even if the so called facts were the exact same.

  • If joker was winning... we can probably just stop right there...

  • Get his act together????

    This post was edited by 1003blue 17 months ago

  • If Joker were winning, no one would wonder WHERE Coleman was and whether he could help the team! The fact that UK is losing, getting beat-up on the line while the coaches refuse to put in key players, then LIE about their reason for doing so.... Makes you wonder what the heck the coaches are doing, what other players are getting over-looked/screwed over that could be helping UK win a game and what ELSE the coaches HAVE AND WILL LIE about! REALLY?!

  • Unfortunately, this has proven to be a pattern. We saw this several times where Joker can't evaluate talent or plays favorites to guys he deems "doing it the right way". In either case, it's a miserable failure and unfair to some talented kids not getting their shot.

  • Last year, it was Tristin Johnson that was on the hot seat, this year it's Coleman, so, I don't buy into the theory that he doesn't give 2nd chances.. I believe him when he says Johnson has just earned it more than Coleman has.. He's been one of the few bright spots on the line..

  • Coleman is not the only player that has been whacked and pushed to the side. There is a list, but I won't go into that. Hopefully it's water over the dam in a couple of weeks. Bottom line is this coaching staff continues to NOT develope players. How much better has this team really gotten since week one?!?!? Give me stats to prove there is any improvement worth noting. Yea players here and there but overall team progression and improvement. And don't use the injury card - others teams build depth (IE: develope players) to be ready and don't use the young card - this staff has created the upper classes that they have preceive to not be productive. You must lie in the hole you dig.

  • I will agree with playing favorites but it isn't always with the guys doing it the right way. I could give you a list but I don't call players out. I know you do, as I have read some of your post on other forums, Fact is we have players doing all the right things that have gotten the shaft. There are two sides of every story and every situation.

  • And you know which players are and aren't "doing things the right way" behind the scenes, i.e. at practice, in the weight room, in the classroom, in attitude, in all around effort, etc.? I can't say I disagree with you that Joker and this staff tends to play favorites, is very inconsistent in how/when they punish or reward players, and simply does not give a lot of kids the same chance as their "chosen favorites" (even though it is easy to say they all got their shot in practice and simply did not produce), but I am not ready to say we for sure have guys getting the shaft who are doing everything they are supposed to do in order to prove they deserve to be on the field.

    The Coleman situation, though, is really odd. He played fantastic last year, yet the reasons we have heard from the coaches in the media as to why he isn't playing much have been all over the board.

  • I just don't get what is confusing here and my point was that if we were winning no one would be questioning Joker they'd be questioning the kid even if the facts were the exact same. The key to that statement is EVEN IF THE FACTS WERE THE SAME. Early on we were told that Coleman was slacking in practice. Therefore he wasn't getting the reps that Johnson was. Then when the season started Coleman actually got in the game before Johnson so I thought his talent had risen to the top. Well then apparently he got banged up. Cobble was out as well. At that time Johnson came in and made the most out of his opportunities and played really well. Now Coleman is fully healthy but why play him over Johnson when Johnson has played so well. Maybe I'm missing something. I'm willing to take other opinions into consideration. Just not sure if I buy that Joker has done Coleman a disservice. I think its more a situation where Johnson deserves every bit of playing time he's gotten. And I'm still not sure that Joker plays favorites. I think his favorite guy is the guy that he thinks will help the team win football games. Which is where the problem might actually lie. He's apparently not very good at finding the right guys that will help him win football games. That much is obvious.

  • Yeah, I'm with you in that I have absolutely ZERO problem with playing T. Johnson right now. He has been doing very well. I also have zero reason to believe Coleman is being done a disservice or is dominating in practice but just not being given the chance to play in games. Now, do I believe he is being given equal opportunities in practice so that he can completely dig his way up the DC? I have no idea. Do I personally believe that Joker tends to play favorites to the extent that he may annoint certain players as "his guys" from very early on or to the extent that he has a distorted view of how/why/when/to what extent players should be rewarded or punished? Yes, I personally do but I base that on what I see and what I have been told by a couple of people here and there.

  • Thanks for the intelligent response, it validates what I thought.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by 1003blue 17 months ago

  • mdotson - You will have to trust me on my inforamtion and I won't elaborate. The Coleman situation is a joke! Avcoleman5 posted the facts. I stand by there is much bias that goes on within. And until that stops and players truly are given a fair shot, not one and done after a bad practice or bad game or have a disagreement with a coach, this program will struggle. This coaching staff is far more lenient on kids smoking weed than they are on kids having a bad game/practice or disagreement. Some do not get the chance to redeem themselves. Others it's handed on a platter. It's been going on the past few years....it's nothing new. We have some of the laziest players starting on that field. I do not call players out, therefore I will not name them, but if any of you watch a lot of UK football, you should be able to label them real quick. Yet, they continue to start and play. They can turn the ball over, not run routes, not block, give up on plays, you name it and we play them 24/7. There are others behind them that are and willing to give far more effort if given a chance.

    This post was edited by 1003blue 17 months ago

  • I agree with about half of the above, but I am not going to keep beating this up. The part that Joker's favorites are not always the best option is oh sooooooo true! Call it favorites, call it bias, call it whatever you want, it's real.

  • So there is absolutely no chance that Joker for some reason just thinks that certain guys give him the best chance to win football games. Even if he's off in those assumptions. Why does it have to be playing favorites?

    This post was edited by tWhit 17 months ago