notes

Kentucky football notes: Joker says he doesn't need a tirade to show he's angry

Berating players just isn't his style

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 19, 2011 

What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.

That's the way it should be, Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips said when asked about his perceived lack of fire and frustration after a bad loss at Vanderbilt last week.

"I'm not going to go in and berate the players in front of the world," Phillips said. "It's not the right thing to do."

So losing by 30 points at Vandy and being a 30-point underdog this week at Georgia does upset Phillips?

"Definitely," he said. "I'm not going to go pitch a tirade. I'm not going to do that.

"Am I a competitor? Anybody that's ever known me, ever played me, knows I'm a competitor. ... I'm not going to pitch a tirade, screaming, cussing, hollering, those types of things. That's not me."

The coach didn't mince words about the loss earlier in the week, though.

"It was embarrassing last week — there's no question about that — the way we performed," he said of the loss to the Commodores. "We want to get that corrected."

'I love playing Georgia'

You can't blame Kentucky wide receiver La'Rod King if he often has Georgia on his mind.

The junior wideout has had good moments against the Bulldogs in his UK career.

As a freshman in Sanford Stadium in 2009, King took in a Morgan Newton pass on a crossing route and turned it into a 21-yard touchdown.

It was the North Hardin product's first college score and helped spark UK to a 34-27 victory in Athens.

"I thought Morgan was looking at the tight end. I was like, 'Please, throw me the ball.' I was dead open," King recalled. "He threw it, I caught it, and I was kind of shocked, actually. I was like, 'Oh God, I caught the ball. Now, I've got to score.' "

When he did, "That feeling was amazing," King said.

Last year, when Georgia gained revenge on UK in Commonwealth Stadium with a 44-31 win, King again hurt the Bulldogs. He caught two Mike Hartline passes for touchdowns, one a 35-yarder and the other 22 yards.

"I love playing Georgia; it's a good challenge for me," King said. "To go back down there, it's a great atmosphere to play in."

Warford not thinking NFL

Larry Warford, Kentucky's standout junior offensive guard, says he has not decided whether he will turn pro a year early or even have his name evaluated by the NFL to help decide whether to enter the 2012 draft.

"That stuff, I'm not even thinking about," Warford said Wednesday. "We've still got two games left. I'm not concerned with that stuff. I've got to be thinking about our team, what I can do to help us."

College players are eligible to enter the NFL Draft three years after their high school class has graduated.

Home sweet home?

There are 21 players on the UK roster from the state of Georgia.

Does going home provide extra motivation to play well?

Phillips says it did in 2009 when the Cats upset Georgia at Athens for the first time since 1977.

He hopes it will Saturday.

"We've got a (few) more Georgia players on our team now than we did then," he said. "Last time we went down there, a lot of guys from Georgia made plays for us. We expect that same type of effort, desire to win down there."

Blocking refrigerators

Georgia nose guards John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers are not small.

In fact, they are bigger than many small homes. Jenkins, a junior-college transfer, goes 6-foot-3, 351 pounds. His understudy, Geathers, is 6-6, 350.

"They're going to be a pretty wide load in there," Warford said with a smile.

So how do you block someone so large?

"Usually, with somebody larger, they tend to stand up a little more than less-weight guys would," said Warford, no midget himself at 6-3, 336. "It could be easier to get combination blocks on them, a double-team push."

Etc.

The game will be shown on the SEC Network and called by Dave Neal and Andre Ware with sideline help from Cara Capuano. ... Senior tight end Nick Melillo and junior defensive lineman Taylor Wyndham are game captains. ... The 'Cat Walk' will be at 10:15 a.m. at Gate 5 of Sanford Stadium.

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