Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ESPN Reviews Joker Phillips

ESPN takes a look at BCS coaches in their third year and has the following to say about Joker Phillips and Charlie Strong


Joker Phillips, Kentucky

The past: Phillips, who was former Kentucky coach Rich Brooks' handpicked successor, hasn't enjoyed the same success as his predecessor. After Brooks guided the Wildcats to four consecutive bowl games from 2006 to 2009 (winning three of them), Phillips' first team finished 6-7 and lost to Pittsburgh 27-10 in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Wildcats went 5-7 last season but finished with a 10-7 victory over Tennessee, which ended their 26-game losing streak to UT.
The present: The Wildcats are off to a terrible start, losing to rival Louisville 32-14 in their opener and then falling to Western Kentucky 32-31 in overtime on Sept. 15. Florida blasted UK 38-0 in Saturday's SEC opener.
The future: Kentucky fans, who cherish basketball over everything else, don't expect much from their football program, which hasn't had a winning record in the SEC since 1977. They want to beat Louisville, be somewhat competitive in the SEC and go to bowl games, even with a 6-6 record. Phillips, one of the most likable coaches in the business, is 4-13 against SEC foes, and interest in his program is dwindling.

Charlie Strong, Louisville

[+] EnlargeStrong/Bridgewater
John Sommers II/Icon SMILouisville is 4-0 heading into Big East play.
The past: Strong, a former defensive coordinator at South Carolina and Florida, waited nearly a quarter century for his chance to become a head coach. His early results suggest he should have been hired much sooner. After inheriting a program that won only 15 games during the three seasons before he was hired, Strong guided the Cardinals to consecutive 7-6 seasons and a share of a Big East title in 2011.
The present: The Cardinals are ranked No. 19 nationally after starting 4-0 for the first time since their Orange Bowl season in 2006. After impressive victories over rival Kentucky and FCS foe Missouri State to start the season, Louisville nearly blew a big lead in a 39-34 win over North Carolina and struggled to put away Florida International 28-21 on the road on Saturday.
The future: If Louisville wins the Big East and gets to a BCS bowl game -- and some are already suggesting it might finish the regular season unbeaten -- Strong will be among the hottest coaching candidates in the country. Strong, a native of Batesville, Ark., already has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Arkansas' vacancy.



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