If it was the worst day, then perhaps on Saturday he had the best day. Phillips, playing in the rotation at safety, helped seal a Hurricanes victory by snagging two interceptions.
"It was great," Phillips said about the picks. "It was great for me, it was great for the team, you know we got a lot of pressure on the quarterback from the d-line, made the quarterback throw a bad throw, it was tipped, and I just came down with it and started running and I had some blocking. It was great for our whole defense."
Phillips and the defense started off a bit slow in the first half, and FSU was able to gain some yards through the air, but the coaching staff made second half adjustments and FSU was limited during the latter stages of the game. FSU's leading receiver was Preston Parker, who caught some balls underneath against Phillips in the first half. Phillips spoke a bit about Parker and the defensive adjustments.
"He wasn't killing me.," Phillips said about Parker. "He caught two passes, you know, on shallow routes. Their team is going to come out hyped up against us, they got a little something in the beginning, but we shut it down in the end, and that's how it goes."
"In the beginning you know, we came out slow a little bit on the pass defense, we had to tighten it up, so next game we'll try to come out faster and finish stronger. We tightened up man coverage, settled down. It was a big game, big crowd, for a lot of guys it was their first game playing Florida State, so we just had to settle down a little bit, that's all."
Phillips isn't completely comfortable at safety (it seems), but he's become a regular at the position even now that the ‘Canes are healthy there (with the exception of Anthony Reddick, who is out for the year). He spoke a bit about his progress.
"I feel the same way [as I did before]," Phillips said in regards to getting more comfortable at safety. "I'm a little more comfortable just because of the experience, but other then that you know, I'm very confident and just ready to go out and play."
Phillips, a junior, is still learning the position, but will still be relied upon as a big contributor this year. While he has been in the program for three years, he is still experiencing new things every day. One such experience was winning against Florida State.
"It feels real good, for bragging rights," he said about the victory. "It feels real good to know that we can beat them, because you know we lost the last two years, and I'm just really excited for that. We're going to get better this week and come out strong against NC State next week."