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Players Play For Themselves First

Posted: Sep 17, 2012 6:12 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: Sep 17, 2012 6:24 PM

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We've been calling it "The Joker Watch" on LEX 18.

Although most True Blue fans believe Joker won't coach next year, I still don't think that decision has been made.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart has said many times that he is patient.

If the team doesn't quit on Joker, and if it looks like the young players are really developing, you might not like who the coach is next season.

I believe that the President and Athletics Director at UK don't want to fire Joker.

That doesn't mean they won't change their minds if UK doesn't win more than 2 games this year, or if a lot of the games end up being blowouts.

And, that also doesn't mean that some strong money people won't convince the President that something has to be done.

But, Joker acted on Monday as if he's a man who has a job. The media fired plenty of questions during their weekly press conference at Joker, and he was calm and cool. He even made a pitch as to why he should continue coaching UK.

"Well, I mean, we got 72 freshmen and sophomores in this program," says Joker. "We just played a program that has 50 juniors and seniors in their program."

Doesn't matter if Western Kentucky had 50 seniors, you can't get beat by WKU.

"We got to be better than that. But we got a lot of good, young players playing ball for us."

Not only are players not stupid, there are upper classman on the team that are smart. They get it. They know Joker is on the hot seat.

"We more rally around each other, especially the senior class," says Defensive End Collins Ukwu. "This is our last time regardless if he is going to be here or not."

Losing isn't fun. It's not supposed to be. If you win, everyone loves you. But the team doesn't talk about trying to save Joker's job.

"Not really. It's something as a team we don't think about. Only thing Coach Phillips tells us we all we got basically. Everybody probably off the bandwagon. Losses that we had that were supposed to be wins."

Avery Williamson went to Joker and asked if he was fine. Joker told him he is, and asked Avery if he was ok.

"I'm sure," says UK's linebacker when asked about Joker. "I'm sure it is. It wouldn't be the first coach in the history of coaches to be under pressure. We can't really worry about that now. We just got to go out there and play. And we can't really pay attention to all that outside talk."

Avery feels best when he's around his teammates. He does his best to ignore social media.

"Don't get on twitter and stuff."

But he admits that easier said than done.

Topics: Joker Phillips, Kentucky Football