It wasn't as if there was going to be a big change. That's the beauty of having a coach-in-waiting. The differences are few. The consistency is attractive. The transition is seamless.
There is a line of demarcation, however. Rich Brooks officially retired as Kentucky's football coach Jan. 4. His appointed successor, Joker Phillips, took the reins.
Almost exactly one month later, Wednesday marked Phillips' first national signing day as head coach. Years from now, when historians look back, this will be considered Phillips' first class, even if it wasn't all along.
"I do feel like this was my first recruiting class, our staff, this was our first recruiting class as the head coach and the staff," Phillips said Wednesday. "I do feel like Rich had a lot to do with this, and we had a lot to do with finishing."
Make no mistake, the start was important. Very important. Even as the coaches watched the faxes arrive for the class of 2010 on Wednesday morning, Phillips' staff was on a conference call with recruits for 2011.
Closing the deal is what counts. Finish what you start. Names on the dotted line.
"If we didn't have that in place, it could have been a disaster," said linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Smith of the coach-in-waiting. "Everybody wants to know who the head coach is going to be. Nobody is going to come unless they know who the head coach is going to be."
Was there a difference from Jan. 4 to Feb. 3? Not really. Kentucky had commitments before Brooks retired. It kept nearly all those commitments. It added others, but none who came on board after Brooks' announcement.
Even if the lead messenger changed, the message UK recruits heard at the end wasn't much different than the one they heard at the start.
"He's always been a big part of the recruiting process anyway, even with Coach Brooks," Smith said of the new coach. "The transition was so smooth, it wasn't interrupted at all when it possibly could have been."
Yet, if there weren't this time around, there are bound to be future tweaks. Already, word is that Phillips wants to be a bit more aggressive in recruiting. He kept using the word relentless in his news conference Wednesday. So did Smith.
"Coach Phillips, one of his many strengths is recruiting," Smith said. "And the reason it is is because he bleeds blue. His heart and soul is in this football program, and he is relentless when it comes to trying to sell that to potential players."
Phillips also talked about athleticism. He mentioned how the UK basketball team has such great length. That, said Phillips, is what he wants for the football team.
"When I talk about UK basketball, I always talk about how long they are, how athletic they are, and the last thing I talk about is how tough they are," Phillips said. "And that's what we have. We have a long, athletic team, and now we have to build toughness in this class."
There's your seamless transition right there. Brooks was fair and honest, with a wry sense of humor, but he was tough, too. You have to be in this job. Joker has a terrific background, a wonderful smile and a great name. But he's tough, too. He wants the battles. He wants the recruiting battles.
"I saw a list of kids by the SEC that are in the (NFL) combine; we have five. We had more than Georgia, South Carolina, etc. I think that is what has given us a chance to win some of the battles that we win in recruiting," he said Wednesday. "We are not only winning games and graduating players and putting players in the NFL, but now, with the TV package also, they will be able to get themselves on the TV screen every week. We feel like that has given us a chance to win some of the battles we are fighting now."
Different head coach, same message.