Updated: Finding His Groove

After redshirting last season but experiencing the ups and downs of spring practice, redshirt freshman Curt Phillips is settling into what his roles are. More importantly, thanks to a trip down to Florida for spring break, Phillips knows what he needs to do mechanics wise in order to make an impact at Wisconsin.

Badger Nation: Do you feel things are much easier now compared to last spring?

Curt Phillips: Oh definitely. It's a huge difference from last spring. To be able to study the playbook more and work with Coach Chryst is on a completely different comfort level compared to where I started last year.

Badger Nation: What kind of things are you hearing from Chryst this time around compared to last year? I assume the expectations are a little bit higher?

CP: Definitely. Last year I was just trying to get the right play. Now, just like everybody else, I am trying to make the right read and everything is needing to be quicker, quicker. I know that I need to make my reads quicker in order to be effective.

Badger Nation: Are things slowing down for you this time around?

CP: Yeah, for sure. With the comfort level, everything slows down, which is going to help me make my reads quicker.

Badger Nation: How big of weapon are your feet? You see sometimes you might struggle with your passing, but you can tuck the ball and scramble with plenty of speed that isn't comparable.

CP: I think they can be. I am confident with my legs. Now, I am having to learn to be patient and stay in the pocket and let things develop. At Wisconsin, we have great offensive linemen, we have great running backs. We don't need our quarterbacks to run the ball when we have our good running backs do that.

Badger Nation: Is patience the biggest thing you are battling right now?

CP: I think so. We talk about the internal clock. I just need to set that back a little bit to be more patient.

Badger Nation: How did the quarterback camp in Florida with Sherer come up? Whose idea was that and how did all that get started?

CP: That was all Dustin's idea. I have met with him (Darren Slack) a couple times last summer and I travelled with him a little bit. I have probably worked with him every off season. Dustin had worked with him in high school, too. He told me that he was going down there over spring break and asked me if I wanted to go too.

Badger Nation: What makes Darren so much different than other quarterback camps or coaches that you have worked with?

CP: He's a pure mechanics coach. Other guys work on coverage, reads, speed, all that other stuff. I think he is the best mechanics coach and people to to him purely for mechanics.

Badger Nation: When he watched you, what did he try to suggest to you and what kind of feedback did he give you that you are trying to apply now?

CP: Just extending a little bit more and try to turn out of it. When you turn out of it, you get more RPMs on the ball and a better spiral. That's the big thing I am working on right now.

Badger Nation: Have you felt a difference since you came back and have been throwing a lot for over a week?

CP: I think I kind of revert back to old ways a little bit whenever you get live bullets. That just gives you something to think about when you are on the side and I am sure it is the same for Dustin. When we throw on the side, we throw real well. When we get in there, it's not quite as good, which gives us something to work on.

Badger Nation: Spending that time with Dustin outside of this setting do for you guys in terms of putting the QB battle aside and hanging out as friends?

CP: We all get along real well and it was good to be done there with Dustin. While we are competing, it's fun because it pushes you a little bit extra> It is fun going back and forth a little bit. It's all in good nature, but it's all in good fun.

Badger Nation: When you look at your position, do you feel that each of you bring a different quality to the position that maybe some of the others don't have and that you sponge different things off each other?

CP: Yeah, I think so, Everybody is a little bit different and when we all get back there after someone takes a bad rep, we all talk about what happened and what can we do better. We all work off what each other knows and the better all four of us play, the better the position is going to be.

BN: How is Jon Budmayr progressing, with his first spring in the program, going through the same thing you did last year?

CP: He's doing really well. I've been really impressed with Jon. He's a real smart guy, so he picks up on things real quick. You see the wheels turning whenever we're watching film. He's a smart guy.

BN: Do you have friends or family asking you how the QB competition going, or how you're progressing throughout the spring?

CP: I talk to my parents every day, but it's not necessarily about how the competition's going, how'd I do or what I need to work on. My dad watches a lot of football and he does try to help me as much as he can.

BN: What do you want to get out of the spring game, more than anything else?

CP: It's fun just to get out there and play for everybody. It's really just another practice for us, it's not really any different than our other practices, just with people watching. It's just one more day to get some more experience.

It's a lot more fun when there's people there. It's a fun environment, they have the whole thing with the kids all day, so it's a lot of fun.

BN: You've been running the spread offense mostly for the benefit of the defense and what they'll see next fall. But is that helping your offensive game, particularly if UW works in a spread package offensively in the future?

CP: I think I'm learning from it, for sure. You have some habits come in from high school, and you can't get away with everything you did. So you learn what you can get away with and what you can't. It's just getting adjusted to those guys' speed, that's the big thing. At first, I wasn't really sure of how it was going to go, but I'm really comfortable with it now.


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