In his final luncheon news conference with the Kentucky media, Joker Phillips talked about Tennessee, his separation from UK and the chances of playing a wide receiver at quarterback on Saturday.
Here are some highlights:
- The last time Kentucky beat Tennessee two straight seasons was 1976 and 1977. What would a second straight win over the Vols mean to Phillips? “It would mean a lot just to finish out for these seniors. There’s a lot of history like that that we’re trying to change, and this would be one of those things that would be a plus, one of the things that this class has changed if we can get it done.”
- A reporter mentioned that it was the first time he had seen Phillips without his UK gear on in the news conference. Phillips was wearing khaki pants and a black Nike pullover. The coach acknowledged he’s had “start to separate,” before adding: “I understand this is still my University.” The coach did add that he had about 50 family members coming up for Thanksgiving and that he’ll draw names to see who gets to pick out what UK gear. “I’ve got a lot of stuff. … They should be able to enjoy it. Hopefully, I’ve got to make room for some other gear.”
- A few weeks ago, Phillips told his team of a former Kentucky player who is battling pancreatic cancer. This week, the coach issued a challenge to UK fans to help support that player, Mike Scott. Phillips also said Scott gets the game ball from the win over Samford on Saturday. “I would like to challenge 1,000 Kentuckians to give $100,” Phillips said (here’s website to make donation: http://www.giveforward.com/miracleformike). “I understand there are those that can’t, but for those that can, I would challenge them to. Nobody loves this school more than Mike Scott.”
- Before the end of the news conference, Phillips was asked if he had any plans to start Gene McCaskill or Aaron Boyd at quarterback this weekend a la Matt Roark from last season’s win over the Vols, which snapped a 26-game losing streak: The coach smiled and said: “Maybe. No.”