Wildcats' Nate Phillips set to be back

Arizona wide receiver Nate Phillips missed the second half of last season with an injury, but is ready to get back on the field. Read on to find out how he is fitting back in with the offense, which newcomer is standing out, and more.

For Arizona, one of its best receiving threats may be flying under the radar as the upcoming season approaches.

Junior Nate Phillips missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury, but is back healthy and ready to contribute this season.

"It's been a pretty good experience so far," Phillips said. "It's been a couple days of trying to get everything installed. We have to get everyone on the same page.

"It's kind of different now. It's still a camp grind, but this year it's more of getting back into gear and refining my skills instead of trying to learn the offense and find a place."

The injury wasn't the receiver's first in his career and he has learned how to approach his return to the football field.

"Coming back (from the injury) is just like in my freshman year," Phillips said. "I had the shoulder surgery and I'm just coming out here and getting back at it. I feel comfortable with it and I'm not second guessing how it feels when I run routes.

"I'm just happy to be back on the field. I'm not self conscious about it or worried about it hurting or if it breaks again. It's out of my mind."

Even though Phillips missed half the season, he still feels like he has progressed as a player during his time off.

"It wasn't really a setback for me," he said. "Sometimes, we'll be watching film from recent games and I'll feel a little sad that I'm not out there. I don't feel like it was a setback, but this is my 'comeback' year and I always get a little from the guys about it. I feel like I'm good to go and happy to be back out here."

Being in his third year, Phillips feels that it is his duty to help out some of the younger players.

"This is David (Richard)'s third year here with Coach Rod and fifth year in college in general. For me and Samajie (Grant), it's our third year, so it definitely falls on us to help out the younger guys in the film room and on the field."

Phillips has seen the offense transform over the past two seasons, but feels that this season could be even more special with all of the offensive threats in the receiving corps.

"The first year, we had weapons, but our offense wasn't really clicking like we know it can," Phillips said. "This past year, everyone got to see just how good we could be and when we are running on all cylinders, we are a pretty good team.

"Having Cayleb Jones and Dave Richards on the outside and my partner-in-crime, Samajie, on the other side, it's taking some pressure off me.

"We run 70 to 80 plays a game and having that extra depth also helps. Since we have so many weapons out here, we may have two or three full periods where it feels like we're getting a break. The depth is definitely going to keep us fresh and dangerous."

Heading into the season, there is no question who the Wildcats' starting quarterback will be and having a returning arm in Anu Solomon is something that Phillips believes will only help the offense.

"There's no real adjustment for us to make with (Solomon) this year," he said. "We saw it last year and we are getting the same thing this year.

"In high school, I was throwing with Zack Werlinger and he was throwing it out of the right side and then I got here and it was B.J. Denker throwing it out of the left side and then last year it was Anu throwing it out of the right side again.

"Having the same quarterback for the second year in a row, you can see our chemistry and timing that the offense is built off of."


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