Updated 3 years ago by Brent Carney
Joker Phillips did his best to down play any controversy about Donald Russell a few days after his mother went public with her complaints about the way Phillips and the coaching staff were handling her son.
Tanya Russell vented on a Kentucky football message board Sunday about her son's lack of carries and the coaching staff's lack of support for him since his costly fumble in the Georgia game. On Monday she made similar comments to a newspaper reporter.
Phillips, talking with the media Tuesday for the first time since Russell's allegations, quickly made sure it was clear that her words were not a concern. When reporters greeted him by kidding that he needed to say something especially newsworthy, he quipped, "Where's Donald Russell's mom?" With a big smile he said, "I couldn't resist."
Phillips got serious in his assurance that he and all the Russell's were on the same page. "His mom and I want the same for Donald to be successful in all areas of his life, we feel the same about Donald," he said.
"Help him be a man and teach him that you're going to go through adversity," Joker said of how he can help Russell succeed. "There's different ways to handle [adversity] and some ways are not the right ways to handle it."