Joker Phillips

Joker Phillips out as UK’s head coach at season’s end


For the second time this season, a head coach has been relieved of his duties.  And this one will likely be the least surprising of any that will happen over the next month or two, particularly given the apathy that’s set in among the fan base.

In an open letter penned by Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart, the athletic director confirmed that head football coach Joker Phillips will not return for the 2013 season.  Phillips will remain on through the end of the regular season later this month, and “[t]he search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally.”

The firing didn’t come easy for Barnhart, who has a very close relationship with Phillips that extends far beyond the football field.

“I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach,” Barnhart wrote in the letter. “Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard.

“I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.”

Phillips played at Kentucky from 1981-84, and served as an assistant coach at UK from 1988-96.  He returned to his alma mater in 2003 and in 2008 was named as the head coach-in-waiting.  Upon Rich Brooks’ retirement, he took over as head coach in 2010.

In two-plus seasons, Phillips has posted an overall record of 12-23 and 4-19 in SEC play.  This season, the Wildcats are 1-9 and 0-7.

As for which direction UK may turn for a successor — and as will be the case for just about every SEC opening — keep an eye on Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes.

“I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program,” Barnhart wrote. “It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth.  Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.”

Dalvin Cook remains day-to-day for FSU vs. Miami

Dalvin Cook
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One of the more underrated storylines heading into Week 6 continued its tack of uncertainty Tuesday.

During the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, Dalvin Cook tweaked his hamstring and didn’t return to the contest.  The sophomore running back was initially labeled as day-to-day for this weekend’s game against Miami, and that hasn’t changed as Jimbo Fisher reaffirmed that Cook’s status for the in-state rivalry game remains up in the air.

We’ll keep waiting,” the head coach said, adding that, because of Cook’s knowledge of the offense, he could sit out of practice the entire week and still take the field against the Hurricanes.

“He knows what to do, you can keep him healthy and do that there’s no doubt about that,” Fisher said.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th. The Seminoles’ No. 2 rusher, Mario Pender, is still dealing with the aftereffects of a collapsed lung that will sideline him for at least another week.

Ryan Simmons, one of Okla. St.’s ‘unquestioned leaders,’ out for rest of 2015

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Ryan Simmons #52 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys brings down Jaxon Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns during a game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State won the game 38-13.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma State’s defense has taken what will likely prove to be a very significant and impactful blow.

On Twitter as well as Instagram late Tuesday night, Ryan Simmons announced that he “recently tore my MCL & PCL which will require surgery.” As a result, Simmons, who was injured in the Week 5 win over Kansas State, will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, even as OSU has yet to officially confirm the linebacker’s status moving forward.

Because Simmons is a senior, and this is his final season of eligibility, the end of his 2015 season would also mean the end of his collegiate career.

Simmons has started the last 31 games for the Cowboys. He was second on the team in tackles last season, and his 26 career tackles for loss makes him OSU’s active leader in that category as well.

On his official bio, it’s written that Simmons is “[o]ne of the unquestioned leaders of the team, both on and off the field.”