Had a follow-up story in Maryland’s succession plan with the football program in today’s dead-tree edition, and there were some things with my conversation with Kentucky offensive coordinator (and coach in waiting) Joker Phillips that were worth passing along.
Phillips is in much the same situation as Maryland’s James Franklin – a hot commodity who opted to stay at a school he was plenty familiar with. Phillips is a Kentucky alum, and he is obviously satisfied with the coach-in-waiting setup.
“I think it’s big for Maryland,” Phillips said. “Maryland is a similar job to Kentucky. It’s a place that needs some stability and some continuity in recruiting. It was a place that I know my old head coach Jerry Claiborne was at for 10 years. Since he came here and left there, there’s probably been six or seven coaches. He was here for nine years and it’s been six or seven since he left in ‘90. … I definitely think they’re two programs that need some things to get over the hump. For us to get over the hump, we have to have consistency and continuity.”
Phillips, who said he talked with Franklin about a month ago, had some common-sense advice for Franklin after spending more than a year as Rich Brooks’ designated successor in Lexington. He also advocated an open-ended agreement like Kentucky’s or Maryland’s rather than an established date for a handover.
“I would say ‘Just be patient,’” Phillips said. “It’s got to continue to be business as usual. I mean, you’re still the coordinator and Ralph [Friedgen] is the head coach. I myself liked the fact Rich didn’t give a date. I think that’s good for business. If Ralph or Rich would give the date that date was April 2010, what happens in April 2010 when Ralph’s not ready to go? It’s just human nature for myself or James to be a little excited and upset when it happens and human nature for a guy like Rich or Ralph, if they’re not ready to go, to feel uncomfortable.”