UK Head Football Coach Joker Phillips will be the feature guest speaker at The Rotary Club of Lexington Thursday, July 12.
The contingent from UK will address reporters and videographers at around noon at the Southeastern Conference football media days in Birmingham.
Head coach Joker Phillips will address the media, along with senior defensive end Collins Ukwu, senior center Matt Smith and senior offensive guard Larry Warford.
Phillips no doubt will get his share of “hot seat” questions, following Kentucky’s first losing season since 2005. The Wildcats last year finished 5-7, although they snapped another streak, the second in the Joker Phillips Era, by beating Tennessee in the season finale. In 2010, Phillips’ first year as head coach, the Wildcats upset South Carolina, beating Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier for the first time, dating back to the years he spent as the head coach at Florida.
Warford is the most highly-touted of the Wildcats who will be interrogated today. The 6-3, 343-lb. product of Madison Central High School was named the coaches’ pre-season All-SEC first team. Last year he was named second team All-SEC for the second consecutive season, and he was a member of the SEC All-Freshman team his first year as a Wildcat.
The 6-4, 296-lb. Smith, a graduate of Louisville St. Xavier, came to UK as a defensive lineman but shifted to the other side of the ball during his first year, as a redshirt. He’ll be starting at center for the third consecutive season, and was part of an offensive line that was ranked in the top 25 nationally in fewest quarterback sacks allowed.
Ukwu, a 6-5, 258-lb. native of La Vergne, Tennessee, missed much of last season with an injury, but made an impact immediately after sitting out his first year as a redshirt. Ukwu played in all 13 games as a freshman and moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore, where he has been ever since. As a sophomore, Ukwu had a career-high six tackles in UK’s upset win at Auburn.
You can see coverage of SEC Media Days Wednesday on 27 NewsFirst at 6.