What lessons have you learned from your first two years as head coach?
JP: Trust your plan. One thing I was told by Coach [Rich] Brooks on his way out was, "Don't listen to the noise." The noise gets louder with every loss. We understand that. But we trust what we're doing.
How has the athletic department changed since you were a player here in the early 1980s?
JP: Mr. [Mitch] Barnhart's come in here and done a great job with every program. Our baseball team was Number 1 for a few weeks, our basketball team's winning titles, our tennis team won the SEC, our volleyball team is competing at a high level, our rifle team won the national title, we've been to five bowls in six years. The program is a lot better than when I played here.
SI: DOES THE HOOPS TITLE IMPACT YOU?
JP: EVERY FOOTBALL PLAYER THINKS HE'S A BASKETBALL PLAYER, SO [DURING RECRUITING] WE SELL, "COME WATCH THE NUMBER 1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY." IT GIVES US A CHANCE TO SELL WHAT WE HAVE IN FOOTBALL.
How did your annual humanitarian trip to Ethiopia come about?
JP: Jason Schlafer, who does the marketing in the athletic department, adopted [a child from] Ethiopia and came up with the idea to do a tour there. I thought it was a great idea to take a couple players and do some community service, which is what we are about at Kentucky. I don't care what kind of background you have. It'll change your life.