When Joker Phillips took over as Kentucky’s head football coach, many people were anxious for his first spring practice.
As spring ball kicked off, we all got a glimpse of what Phillips, a former Wildcat wide receiver and Franklin, Kentucky native, had in store for Big Blue Nation.
Operation Win is what Joker calls his plan for his football team. He calls his special teams “Special Forces,” even doing things like changing it from the punt team to the “Bombers.” He is renaming the teams with military terms and trying to reshape the team into his image.
Yet in creating the team in his image, we hope that they do not miss a beat in this transition.
After going to our fourth bowl in a row last year, it has become an expectation to be bowl eligible at the end of the year. Last year the Wildcats fought hard but fell to Clemson 21-13 in the Music City Bowl, ending their season at 7-6 (3-5).
With that being the Wildcats' third visit to the Music City Bowl in four years, there is hope that they can finally capitalize on the success and reach a game a little farther south.
In 2010 the Wildcats look to continue their recent success and put an end to some streaks. The season starts as usual with Louisville at the Cardinals' newly renovated stadium on Sept. 4.
Then in the fourth game of the season, Kentucky will start its annual gauntlet of SEC play with games at Florida and Mississippi, followed by a home stint that goes Auburn, South Carolina, and Georgia. They will need to pull out a few games here to become bowl eligible.
It would also be great to beat South Carolina and Steve Spurrier, which would end Spurrier’s almost TWO decades of domination over the ‘Cats.
Then after games with Charleston Southern, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt, we will finally get another shot. That is, get another shot at Tennessee, who have beaten the Wildcats for 25 consecutive years. The Volunteers barely kept that streak alive last year; it took them overtime to squeeze out the heartbreaking 30-24 victory. Maybe this will be the year that streak is ended.
This year’s team will have it work cut out for it after losing key defensive players like Micah Johnson, Sam Maxwell, and Trevard Lindley.
Still, there are some bright spots on offense with Derrick Locke returning to school and the always dangerous Randall Cobb. The biggest question for the Wildcats is the same one that has plagued the team since Andre' Woodson's departure, and that is who will be the quarterback.
The two starters from last year—Mike Hartline, who was injured, and Morgan Newton—will battle with redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski to gain the starting job as “General” of the ‘Cats this fall.
All of our questions will be answered in a few months. We all hope Operation Win is an astounding success for Coach Phillips and our Kentucky Wildcats.