UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 16, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
WESTERN KENTUCKY – 32
KENTUCKY - 31
JOKER PHILLIPS: Injury report: CoShik Williams has a hip strain and could go back in, finished the game; Cartier Rice, quad contusion, had it in the spring and missed most of the summer with it. Got it again; Max Smith had a bruised shoulder.
Hard?fought game, real physical team, but I thought that we matched them. We still really think we've got a good football team, just didn't make enough plays. Can't turn the ball over, and I count five, gave the ball up on downs early in the game, in the first half, turned the ball over too many times, had the ball on the ground a couple other times.
Defensively, again, keep them snapping the ball, made plays when they needed to, couldn't get themselves off the field when they needed to.
Q. Do you worry about keeping this team together?
JOKER PHILLIPS: No, I don't. I don't.
Q. What did you see in the last play?
JOKER PHILLIPS: What did I see? I saw a bubble screen throw?back, we're in man?to?man coverage, only guy you don't have a man accounted for is the quarterback. Great play. Great play by the?? I thought we had the first guy down. He broke a tackle and was able to get it out to the quarterback. He's the only guy that we don't have covered in man?to?man coverage.
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, we weren't as accurate in the throw game. We didn't do a real good job of throwing and catching. Max, a couple of them got away from him, and you can't give a good football team a short field, a team like Western, a real good football team that's just competitive and tough. Can't give those guys short fields, and we gave them short fields in the first half.
Q. Seems like you had a lot more at risk.
JOKER PHILLIPS: I don't think a lot more to risk. We're both lining up and playing football. We've got to play the guys that are on our schedule. I don't consider it more risk. They're a good football team. They've come a long way, no doubt about that. Willie has done an outstanding job with his team. Again, made more plays than we did tonight.
Q. Can you talk about your defensive line?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Yeah, we didn't do a great job of getting off blocks. I thought that there was times there was some stalemates at the line of scrimmage, but now it's time to release and get off blocks and make plays. A few times we didn't do that. But I thought, again, those guys are fighting hard. You could see the back standing behind the line of scrimmage trying to rally, trying to find a hole, and then at the last minute he comes out the back end.
The one thing we have to do is continue to hold our gap. Got to keep not only your guys but you've got to keep your body in your gap. Sometimes we got out of it and gave the guy a chance.
Q. What did you say to your team?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, that's us. That's our business. Again, we give credit to Western Kentucky again, but what we say in our locker room is our business. It's family. I don't know what you told your family today before you left, but that's our business. We're going to talk amongst our team in our locker room. Our locker room is our locker room.
Q. Some fans would be concerned that such a young team would hang their heads.
JOKER PHILLIPS: They had an opportunity to hang their heads today. They had an opportunity down in the first half and even late in the second half. They had an opportunity. This team is a team that I know I've heard the word soft a couple times, and this team is not soft by any means. This is a tough?? you think because of the offense we're running, but we're not a soft football team. We've got some tough individuals in that locker room.
Q. How disappointing was it at the start of the second half? You had gotten the momentum at the end of the first half and then??
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, I mean, you've got to get yourself off the field. We did give them the momentum back to start the second half. But we went right back down and regained it. We just never got it back until late in the game. We did some really good things offensively. We did not throw and catch the way we have been, but there were some big plays still made. For us to be efficient offensively, we've got to make more than we did tonight.
Q. Did you consider going for two?
JOKER PHILLIPS: No, we didn't. We thought, again, we had the momentum and we just decided that we hold or continue to try to play overtime. It looked good at the time, especially after we got the ball back and put the ball in the end zone. But we did not. We did not consider it at that point.
Q. Did you see a roughing the passer?
JOKER PHILLIPS: No, I did not see it. I did not see it. I wasn't watching the quarterback. I wasn't watching the quarterback, I was watching the ball and took my eyes off the quarterback. So we led with our head.
Q. Talk about George's performance tonight.
JOKER PHILLIPS: Yeah, I mean, Jonathan is a guy that has been around here a long time, continues to battle. He's got some really good players in front of him, and again, a guy that does everything right, does what he's supposed to, and it was good to see him get an opportunity, and not only get an opportunity but take advantage of the opportunity.
Q. How does it make you feel that Raymond had a career night a week ago and couldn't play tonight?
JOKER PHILLIPS: You've got two kids, right? He's like a kid to me. Kids sometimes don't do little things that they're supposed to do, and we hold our kids accountable. We're not going to sit him out four games from now, we'll do it now. That's the thing.
We hold our guys accountable here.
Q. Were you expecting a trick play kind of thing?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, yes, you've got to expect trick plays, but again, we were in man?to?man coverage. The only guy you can't account for is the quarterback, and they threw the ball back to him.
Q. Are you surprised Max hasn't been more consistent?
JOKER PHILLIPS: First of all, nothing surprises you. This is a game played by 18 to 22 year olds with an oblong ball. It doesn't always bounce back up to you. Nothing really surprises you. Max had been very accurate. Tonight he wasn't. He wasn't?? especially early. But I thought he was really close on some of the throws, especially in the last drive, and then he stepped up and made a real big throw to the Sweat kid.
Q. Will you try a different alignment with different personnel or what will you do defensively?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, we have to continue to get better. Again, it wasn't alignment. The thing we have to do is do a better job of getting off blocks and making big plays. On the naked, we've got to change to sacking for a loss in overtime, and we don't make the play. The thing we've got to do is just continue to get better fundamentally.
Q. What do you say to fans?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, we've got a lot of young players. We've got a lot of young players, and we'll continue to play them and see how much better they get from week to week.
Q. How concerned are you that you weren't efficient in the run game?
JOKER PHILLIPS: Well, what concerns me more than the running game is the turnovers. The turnovers is, again, one of the things?? last week, didn't turn the ball over. We put up 40 something points. The thing that we cannot do offensively is turn the ball over. In the running game sometimes you get outnumbered in some of those little quick screens that we throw. That's a run to me. The Sweat catch last week, that's a run. That's a toss sweep in this offense. The running game does not concern me. The thing that concerns me is how careless we are with the football.
JOKER PHILLIPS: You know what, let me just tell you guys this: This game has done so much for me, and it has done so much for Willie, also. I will tell you what I told my football team, okay, before the game. I respect Western Kentucky's football. I watched Jimmy Feix carry Western Kentucky to the 1?AA championships and how he ran the program and how much this game has done for me and done for everybody that's in that room. I'm not about to disrespect something that has done so much for me and my family, okay.
It's their program, and it's this game. I played this game longer than most, okay. You don't get to play this game 15 years, okay. And I'm not about to talk about an opponent and their program. I'm not about to, okay, that's me. Say what you want. Say I'm not a tough guy. I'm a tougher guy because I'm not about to talk about somebody else's program.
I played at the highest level, and I've never heard guys talk like this, I really haven't. It's a shame that the game has gotten that way. We're not going to do it here at Kentucky. We're not going to do it here at Kentucky, as long as I'm here, okay, so what everyone is saying, say it.
JOKER PHILLIPS: I told them, I respect their program. Respect it. Jimmy Feix is one of the guys I really respect in this business, the way he built that. He's the one who allowed Western to be a 1?A school, so I respect him that much. I respect Willie. I think he's doing a hell of a job there, and I am not about to talk about somebody else's program or have our kids run their mouth. We're not going to do it.