March 25, 2009

Phillips focused on improving

MADISON, Wis. - Each of the past few Wisconsin football seasons have seen a quarterback battle begin in spring and endure deep into fall camp. This season may be no different as four quarterbacks jockey for position to be the main guy.

With spring ball underway, had the opportunity to catch up with one of the quarterback's-freshman Curt Phillips-after Tuesday's opening practice.

The following is a question and answer with the Tennessee native:

I guess to start, how does it feel just to get back out on the field?

Phillips: It was a lot of fun, just studying the playbook and working with the strength program, it's fun to finally get back out here and get back to work.

The strength program was a little bit different this year, I guess I would like to get your take on how that went?

Phillips: It was good. I mean, it was a lot of fun. I really like what coach Ben Herbert is doing. Everybody liked it and everybody benefited from it. Some of these guys are looking huge, so I'm thinking it will help us.

Did you gain any muscle weight?

Phillips: Yeah, I was a little sick after the bowl game so I dropped a lot of weight. I dropped about 15 pounds so I just tried to gain all of that back.

What were you sick with?

Phillips: Just kind of pneumonia and then some stuff came from that, so it kind of took a while.

Out here this spring, what are your expectations?

Phillips: You know, just come out and compete everyday. I'm just trying to get better on everything, the speed of the game, the offense and all that, just let it all come to me.

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about how there seems to be a quarterback battle every spring and fall. Do you feel like that is going to happen again this year at all?

Phillips: I don't know. We try not to pay attention to that. That's nothing we can control, we just come out and try to get better. All of us are friends so it's not like we're really trying to put each other down or anything. We're not wishing anything bad on anyone else. Just come out and have fun.

When you see Jon Budmayr out here during his first collegiate practice, do you have a flashback to yourself a season ago?

Phillips: Yeah, I was really surprised with him. He did a great job. I think my head might have been spinning a little bit more. He's a smart guy so he did really well.

Just talk about that some more. You were in his shoes a season ago, how much did coming onto campus early and going through spring help you?

Phillips: It was a huge benefit. At first, whenever I heard the play call I didn't know what was going on. Even if I knew the route there were other words I was guessing at. It just makes you so much more confident now coming out of the huddle and know what everything means and know what everybody else is doing.

I noticed today that you look pretty poised in the pocket and weren't afraid to take off and scramble. Do you feel like you have more of a comfort level in the pocket?

Phillips: Yeah, I'm a lot more comfortable. Coming out of high school, I ran a lot more so at first I had to kind of learn how to sit back a little bit. Now I'm just comfortable with it and I don't have to think as much about it. So, I just play.

Have the coaches given you the green light to take off when you feel like you have the chance?

Phillips: Yeah, obviously you don't want to get out to early and let things develop. But if it breaks down, they're all for it.

Finally, with spring break over, did you do anything fun?

Phillips: I just went home, but it was a lot of fun. I had the Bristol NASCAR race, so it was fun.

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