These fans, as much as any in the country need to have something good to happen, but Phillips was conveying that it is very difficult if this program follows on the same pattern of upheaval.
Sure, this is a very convenient stance for the coach because he has come home to a program that nurtured him from a youngster to the where he is now – that being the offensive coordinator of a major college program in the SEC. That being said, let's look at a succession of facts as to why the program is where it is – per Phillips.
Let's start with the Bill Curry staff, one on which Phillips coached. They had four different offensive coordinators in seven years with four different philosophies. On the same staff, there were three different defensive coordinators. We have explored the recruiting coordinator snafu in a coming article.
Then there was four years with Hal Mumme with a very questionable defensive coordinator. Mumme sang a one-note samba when asked questions pertaining to the defensive side of the ball. Ask Maj (Mike Major)! Mumme topped off his four-year tenure with a 2-9 season and leaving the program on probation--recruiting - same as aforementioned.
Enter Guy Morriss, the tall Texan with the easy-going style and the aw-shucks personality. That wowed the players and the fans alike. His offense was supposed to be just a tweak from the previous one but turned out to be almost completely new. The second year of his two-year tenure was one of the best (7-5) in UK history. But even his tenure wasn’t without a little whirlwind. There was a 4 ½ game break in Jared Lorenzen’s generalship with the installation of redshirt freshman Shane Boyd at Quarterback. Exit Morriss – fan and player iceberg or shall we say glacier!
With the entry of coach Rich Brooks, there has been a slow thaw and some of the fans are still in the deep freeze. Many of the players left by Morriss were so cold they had to leave before rigor mortis set in. Could this finally be Brooks’ team? After stumbling around for two years with what turned out to be the wrong fit for former offensive coordinator Ron Hudson, could Phillips be the answer? Only time will tell.
Patience…ummm? The most recent head coach, David Buchanan of the Kentucky All-Star team said: “I’ve seen their staff. Patience is going to pay off. They are on the right track – the Cats are going to be fine. We need to leave those coaches and players alone and they are going to be okay.
“You saw it for yourself,” was Buchanan’s response about Kentucky’s players right after the All-Star game.
This is a revamped team philosophy, coaching staff, and player attitude. Could it be enough to create some continuity?