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  • Dupree, Smith support Joker, say losing is not his fault

    By: LARRY VAUGHT



    LEXINGTON — Fans are already speculating on who Kentucky should consider for its next football coach, but two of coach Joker Phillips’ best young players says the coach is not the reason UK is off to a 1-2 start after Saturday night’s 32-31 overtime loss to Western Kentucky.

    “Coach Phillips is a good coach. He is trying real hard to help us be great. We just have to follow his footsteps and continue to listen to what he says and keep pushing ourselves,” said sophomore linebacker Bud Dupree, who had a late personal foul penalty that enable Western to score in overtime.

    Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith threw four interceptions, but also led UK on a late scoring drive to tie the game and then got the Cats into the end zone in overtime to take a 31-24 lead.

    “I don’t feel the heat. I don’t think he (Phillips) feels the heat. He is a man and he is going to be perfectly fine,” Smith said. “Coach is going to keep coaching the way he has been and do a great job. We have to win some games for him. It is not his fault we are not winning.

    “We have to execute on the field. Our coaches are great and do a great job. We just have to make plays offensively and defensively. They do a very good job. We just have to keep fighting.”

    That’s not going to be easy considering UK plays at No. 14 Florida Saturday with the Gators coming off a convincing win at Tennessee.

    “It’s good to be on the road. I love the crowd noise, hostile environment. They will be loud and rowdy. They are a very good team, but maybe playing on the road will be good for us,” Smith, who has thrown 111 passes the last two weeks against Kent State and Western Kentucky, said.

    “It will be hard to put the loss behind us, but we have to move on. We have to get ready for Florida and get ready for the real conference now,” Dupree, who had 12 tackles and one tackle for loss Saturday, said. “They are going to be really loaded. We have to get real prepared and expect everything. We have to come out and play loose.”

    Real prepared? Expect everything? Too bad Kentucky maybe didn’t do that against Western instead of falling behind 17-0. Dupree and Smith made no excuses, and shouldn’t have.

    “We should have just executed a whole lot better than we did from the get-go. We did better the second half. We had a chance to come out with the win, but we just didn’t take advantage of what we had after overcoming that rough start,” Dupree said.

    “Even though we are 1-2 that doesn’t have anything to do with our young talent. They are young and still learning the plays. We will win games. I know that. The season is not over with,” Smith, who threw for 332 yards and two scores after his horrendous start, said.

    Optimistic? Certainly. However, that’s what the quarterback should be believing or the season is truly over.

    “You got teams like Arkansas that are down, too, right now. They lost to a Sun Belt team (Louisiana-Monroe). Auburn almost did but pulled it out in overtime. Vanderbilt is 1-2. We just have fight. Now is the toughest part (in SEC play) and we just have to fight and battle our way through and get more wins,” Smith said.

    Arkansas and Vanderbilt are not as good as anticipated. Tennessee probably isn’t, either. But neither is UK and thinking Kentucky will beat any SEC teams at this point based on the defensive woes UK has had is a bit optimistic.

    “This is probably one of the lowest times since I have been here. As a team, we have to come out and boost things back up,” Dupree said. “Losing makes me want to work harder, but it does hurt your confidence losing to a team like Western that we should have beat.”

    Smith said one thing that was a bit perplexing after the game when asked about the way UK scored on its last two drives.

    “When we want to or need to, we can go down and put points on the board,” Smith said.

    Well, why not do it all the time then? That just doesn’t send the right message about the team’s sense of urgency against Western Kentucky and why UK would have been overconfident against anyone is bewildering.

    Do give Smith credit for playing in pain the fourth quarter. Remember he sprained his face at LSU last year and separated his shoulder against Georgia and missed UK’s win over Tennessee.

    “When I separated my shoulder against Georgia, I couldn’t move it at all. I hurt it and was able to continue to play tonight. That last drive I had already hurt it, but I’ll be fine,” Smith said.

    Dupree hopes UK will eventually be fine, too, and he took time to thank the fans who came to the game and stayed to support the Cats — even in overtime.

    “Tell our fans who stayed thank you for the support and we have to get better for their sake and our sake to make sure they want to stay and watch us,” Dupree said. “We all need to step up and not let anyone slack. Each player needs to do that so we can have good games and make sure every player does his best and lays it all on the line.”

    Again, though, why would anyone playing for UK think he didn’t need to lay “all on the line” in any game is as baffling as how UK was so thoroughly outplayed by a Western Kentucky team that just a few years ago couldn’t seem to beat anyone.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Dupree, Smith support Joker, say losing is not his fault started by LarryVaught1 View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      Do give Smith credit for playing in pain the fourth quarter. Remember he sprained his face at LSU last year and separated his shoulder against Georgia and missed UK’s win over Tennessee.

      Is that really possible?

      Rallying around the coach is a positive note. I just wish their faith was well founded.
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Might not be his "fault" but it is responsibility. Sometimes that is what it means when you are one in charge. The program has progressively gotten worse under his reign. If the players don't execute on the field as they have been instructed, that in part is the coach's fault.
    1. kybobcat's Avatar
      kybobcat -
      he sprained his face

      That sounds like the setup for a punch line.
    1. Catonahottinroof's Avatar
      Catonahottinroof -
      Look at UK football in Brooks last year, and compare to now. Are we better? Are we worse?
    1. Padukacat's Avatar
      Padukacat -
      Quote Originally Posted by kybobcat View Post
      he sprained his face

      That sounds like the setup for a punch line.
      Im dying laughing.....wth, who sprains their face? Bunch of weirdos! Lol
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Shows the quality of our kids, they said what they should say, but if they believe it then it's just that they don't know what they don't know.

      Teams that come out unprepared, who take opponents too lightly, who don't get focused until they're down and close to losing is a coaching thing. Either they are recruiting players who don't have the right attitude (and that's no the case) or they aren't working to get the team having the proper culture.

      Once in a while OK, that could be the players and youth, etc., but all the time? that's coaching.
    1. akaukswoosh's Avatar
      akaukswoosh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Padukacat View Post
      Im dying laughing.....wth, who sprains their face? Bunch of weirdos! Lol
      Jeff Goodman looks like he has a sprained face.
    1. jazyd's Avatar
      jazyd -
      citizen it has been a hallmark of Joker teams, come out flat and unprepared.
      As far as being able to score when they want to, w/o a major penalty and a dumb one at that, they probably don't score late to tie the game. So far they scored when they wanted to against a KSU team and for a half against a WKU team, didn't do it at all against UL.
      I like their attitude but it is Jokers fault, period. he hired his buddies as asst coach's, he can't get his team up to play, his offense is short yardage only, Max is a typical Joker qb, can throw short all day but can't make the long throw, and once again he has a woeful defense and he put his buddy in charge of that. I don't blame Sanders because I think he has his hands tied, because we are seeing the same type offense that Joker ran as OC.

      We 'might' win 4 games this year, mainly because someone is going to ahve to win the Ark game, whichever team has given up the least at that point in the season will win.

      Quote Originally Posted by CitizenBBN View Post
      Shows the quality of our kids, they said what they should say, but if they believe it then it's just that they don't know what they don't know.

      Teams that come out unprepared, who take opponents too lightly, who don't get focused until they're down and close to losing is a coaching thing. Either they are recruiting players who don't have the right attitude (and that's no the case) or they aren't working to get the team having the proper culture.

      Once in a while OK, that could be the players and youth, etc., but all the time? that's coaching.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by akaukswoosh View Post
      Jeff Goodman looks like he has a sprained face.
      That's his face? I thought he was mooning UK fans.
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Quote Originally Posted by jazyd View Post
      citizen it has been a hallmark of Joker teams, come out flat and unprepared.
      I'll go to my grave unable to understand how a team comes out "overconfident" against a ranked team that's a 14 point favorite. Lack of mental focus and preparation has to be my #1 complaint with Joker as HC.
    1. LarryVaught1's Avatar
      LarryVaught1 -
      Do believe the players believed what they said. Both very loyal to joker
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      I'm glad Joker seems to be a player's coach. That may serve him well down the road. And I appreciate the players' loyalty. But other than a Billy Gillispie type situation, which is extremely rare, I never hear players not support the embattled head coach who is losing games. It's natural. Good for them, anyway.