LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 2012 football season has not gone as planned for both the University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee. Both will end the season with losing records and fired coaches. But pride is still on the line as the Wildcats and Vols prepare to square off on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a big rival game. They got nothing to lose, we got nothing to do lose so it’s going to be a big battle,” says junior linebacker Avery Williamson.
Williamson leads UK and is first in the SEC in tackles. Players have tried to avoid paying attention to the rumor mill about who could succeed Joker Phillips as head coach next year, but Williamson says a win on Saturday would be a big boost going into next season.
“Everybody’s going to get re-evaluated and positions are probably going to get changed around. And this is a time, like coach has said, to raise your stock up for the new coach.”
Unlike Phillips, fired Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley opted not to finish out the season after he was fired.
“Coach Phillips stuck it out with us so I don’t know what it feels like for a coach to actually say ‘I’m not going to be able to coach your last game,’” says junior defensive tackle Tristian Johnson. “That’s one thing I respect out of Coach Phillips, for him to do something that most coaches don’t even do.”
Kentucky and Tennessee will kick off at 12:20 PM Saturday in Knoxville.