Redskins

Florida hires former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips

Florida hires former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) It didn't take Joker Phillips long to find another job.

The former Kentucky head coach landed at No. 4 Florida on Monday, joining the Gators as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said Phillips will begin work Friday.

``His background as a head coach and the number of years he has coached wide receivers will be a tremendous asset to our coaching staff and players,'' Muschamp said in a statement. ``Joker is obviously very familiar with the Southeastern Conference and has always done a great job in recruiting. Obviously, I had a number of experiences with Joker both on and off the field, as our paths have crossed often, but I've been really impressed with Joker Phillips as a man during this hiring process.''

Kentucky fired Phillips on Nov. 4. He went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky, including 0-8 in SEC play this year.

Phillips played at Kentucky (1981-84) and was on the football staff from 1988 to 1996. He returned to his alma mater as offensive coordinator in 2003, and then became the second black coach in SEC history in 2010.

His resume also includes stops at South Carolina (2002), Notre Dame (2001), Minnesota (1999-2000) and Cincinnati (1997-98). He coached receivers at each of those schools, working with Ron Johnson, Javin Hunter, David Givens, Keenan Burton, Steve Johnson, Dicky Lyons, Jr. and Derek Abney.

``I'm thrilled to become part of the Gator family,'' Phillips said in a statement. ``I'm looking forward to the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level. I believe in coach Muschamp's philosophy, and what he has done in his short time here at Florida is phenomenal. I'm looking forward to contributing to the long-term vision that he has for this program. In addition, it will be very rewarding to be involved in the hands-on development of the players I will coach.''

Former receivers coach Aubrey Hill left Florida in early August amid an NCAA investigation that involved his coaching tenure at Miami. Muschamp promoted graduate assistant Bush Hamdan to receivers coach, but said last week that he planned to hire someone to fill the position full time.

The Gators (11-1) surely need some help, too.

Tight end Jordan Reed leads Florida with 44 receptions for 552 yards. Receivers Quinton Dunbar (31-306, 4 TDs) and Frankie Hammond Jr. (20-273, 3 TDs) have been mostly inconsistent, while Andre Debose and Latroy Pittman have been non-factors.

Quick Links

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

usatsi_10847404.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.