Kentucky junior receiver Randall Cobb doesn't always say or do the right things off the field, but from sideline to sideline he's as productive as ever.
Cobb has a amassed a program-record 33 touchdowns in just two and a half seasons, and his nine this year have occurred via runs, receptions and punt returns. His most recent score, a 24-yard catch from Mike Hartline with 1:15 remaining last Saturday night, propelled the Wildcats to a 31-28 upset of then-No. 10 South Carolina at Commonwealth Stadium.
The biggest play of the Joker Phillips era occurred on a fourth-and-7.
"We kept our faith even though we were close to losing and nobody believed in us," Cobb said. "We held on to our faith and kept pressing on and found a way to finish."
Within hours of the victory, however, Cobb posted a couple of messages on Twitter blasting Kentucky fans for showing up late and accusing them of telling players that they stink. The messages didn't last long Sunday morning, as they were deleted and replaced by one thanking the fans and telling them they deserved a win like that.
"He's a 19- or 20-year-old who doesn't always understand how to deal with people not reacting in a way he thinks they should react," Phillips said.
After a 42-35 loss at Ole Miss on Oct. 2, the 5-foot-11, 186-pounder from Alcoa, Tenn., skipped interviews and explained later that he was ticked off and tired of losing.
Kentucky's win over the Gamecocks snapped a three-game losing streak that followed a 3-0 start, but the Wildcats have been thriving offensively all along. Players talked this summer of emulating the 2007 offense headed by quarterback Andre' Woodson, tailback Rafael Little and receivers Keenan Burton and Dicky Lyons, and they are doing just that.
The '07 Wildcats averaged a school-record 36.5 points per game, and this bunch is just behind that pace at 35.3.
Cobb and senior tailback Derrick Locke were expected to provide a nice 1-2 punch, but the emergence of Hartline and senior receiver Chris Matthews has made the Wildcats even more dangerous heading into Saturday's home game against Georgia. Hartline, a senior whose '09 season was trimmed in half by a knee injury, completed 32 of 42 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns against the Gamecocks.
"I hope he gets the respect from everybody," Cobb said. "I've been trying to say this for the longest time: Mike is the best quarterback that I've played with in my life."
Locke has 574 yards (5.3 a carry) and seven touchdowns but missed Saturday's win with a shoulder stinger and is questionable for this week. The Wildcats overcame his absence with an aerial attack headed by Hartline and Matthews, a 6-5 senior who erupted for 12 catches for 177 yards and a score.
Cobb leads the Wildcats with 40 receptions, but Matthews has 33 catches and a 482 to 466 edge in yards.
"Chris is making some big plays for us, and the thing that Mike is able to do is go through his reads and feel confident in all the receivers," Phillips said. "Chris is breaking tackles and making plays for us, and it makes it a lot harder for teams to try and roll coverages over Randall Cobb."
Cobb continues to be the primary focus of opponents, and how could he not? He's involved in nearly every facet of the game.
"He's a warrior," Phillips said. "Every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, he cannot move because every muscle in his body is sore, but by Thursday he gets going and he rests on Friday, and by Saturday night he's ready to perform. I wish we could get him over there at safety so we could get some more stops."
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was named Monday as the SEC freshman of the week for a second consecutive week, while junior center Ben Jones was the SEC offensive lineman of the week. Jones had 19 knockdown blocks in Saturday's 43-0 throttling of Vanderbilt.
Murray completed 15 of 24 passes for a career-high 287 yards and two touchdowns. He is the No. 18 quarterback nationally in pass efficiency and No. 1 among freshmen.
COBB DOES THE JOB
The season totals of Kentucky junior Randall Cobb entering Saturday's game against Georgia:
4-of-6, 51 yards, 3TDs
32 for 195 (6.1), 3 TDs
40 for 466 (11.6), 5 TDs
17 for 166 (9.8), 1 TD
14 for 328 (23.4)