Dropping Back with Curt Phillips

Being the first Division One football recruit out of Sullivan South H.S. in ages, Wisconsin freshman quarterback Curt Phillips is getting his feet wet during spring camp.

MADISON - Being a three-star recruit and the 42nd rated quarterback in the country by Scout.com, it is not surprise that expectations on young Curt Phillips' shoulders are exceeding large.

His accolades don't get him any breathing room either.

The Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year, Phillips passed for 2,263 passing yards, rushed for 1,885 yards and 57 scored touchdowns threw the air and on the ground. With career totals of 5,418 passing yards, 3,788 rushing yards and 115 career TDs (64 rushing, 51 passing), the future of Wisconsin football looks very bright down the road.

Right now, however, the only thing Phillips is concerned, sitting down with Badger Nation, is slowing down the speed of the game.

BN: You only have a couple spring practices under your belt but that's more than other recruits can say. Talk about the importance of enrolling early and getting these practices in?

Phillips: I think it's a huge advantage to come in early. Everybody always heard about how fast the speed of the game is and how hard it is to get use to it. After going through those few couple practices, it definitely makes a huge difference. Just to be able to come in and work, each practice slows down a little bit each day. The first day was a whole lot faster than the second day and hopefully, it will keep progressing.

Besides the speed, what stood out from Saturday? Bret said all the new guys had the ‘whoa' reaction. Phillips: Yeah. I'd say so. We do the best we can to kind of figure out what is going on but it is not like the real thing. Once you come in, you go through some odd reps, everybody is faster and bigger. Just being here in though, I think, is going to help.

BN: How do you evaluate yourself right now? These first couple practices, what do you think you have showcased and are really pleased with?

Phillips: I don't know if I can name anything that I have really ‘excelled' at. I am just trying to slow everything down and try to make sure that I am making the right reads. Even if I don't place the ball in the right spot, I am trying to make the right reads and get it to the right place.

BN: Do you feel that there are a lot of outside expectations on you? Anytime a team brings in a quarterback, down the line, there are usually high expectations that he will take over and be successful. Do you hear that and if so, how do you process that?

Phillips: I have heard it but I don't really think of it. All people can go out with those rankings systems but that really does mean much to me because I still have to perform here. I think that ads added weight to my shoulders. Everything is starting over with a clean slate here.

BN: What do you like about this offense that Wisconsin runs?

Phillips: Honestly, it doesn't put that much pressure on the quarterback. Like this year, you can kind of sit back and hand it off to the great running backs or get it out to the receivers. It allows the quarterback, every now and then like Tyler Donovan did, to slip out in the back field. It really doesn't that put that much pressure on you.

BN: What have you learned from Evridge, Sherer and Tolzien? They have been in this system for a couple years. What have you absorbed?

Phillips: They have really helped me. You get to here the way Coach Chryst explains things but then afterwards, they take me off to side and explain it there way how they remember it. It has really helped. Whenever we go up to the line for a play, some times one of them will stand next to me and walk me through the reads. Nobody is trying to bring anyone else down. It has been really helpful.

BN: Other than the quarterbacks, what player has really stood out to you?

Phillips: I have been impressed with Nick Toon so far. I heard he was going to be pretty good. I have had a chance to have a couple reps with him and I have been impressed. Kyle Jefferson, as well, has been a go-to-guy and hope to continue that this year.

BN: How excited are you for the Spring Game (April 19) to get your first feel of Camp Randall, be able to be outside and get some of the feel that you would get on a football Satuday?

Phillips: Yeah, I am really excited about it. To get out there and play on a big stage and hopefully, the snow will go away so we don't have to play in the cold. Whenever I came in and watched, it just seemed like a great experience to come in and play somewhere like this. I am really looking forward to it.


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