Not Rolling Over

Curt Phillips (Matt Fleming/2009)

After getting a taste of college football last season, sophomore Curt Phillips has spent the offseason in the film room. The results show, which means Phillips isn't letting senior quarterback Scott Tolzien take the starting job without a fight.

MADISON - For the first time since John Stocco commanded the huddle, the Badgers have a legitimate starting quarterback returning to the huddle. But before anyone anoints senior quarterback Scott Tolzien as the starting quarterback of a University of Wisconsin football team that has its sights set on a conference title and higher, sophomore Curt Phillips plans on making it a challenging competition.

Getting his first cup of coffee at the college level last season, Phillips played in four games and completed 7-of-12 passed for 65 yards. His most potent weapon, however, were his legs, which he gained 143 yards on the ground with last season, including 92 yards on just four carries against Wofford.

A year older and wiser, Phillips is more confident in a number of areas and hopes to make enough of an impact to be the mix for the starting quarterback job in the fall.

Badger Nation: Scott Tolzien said something interesting at Pro day that it is more fun to watch film when you are watching yourself instead of watching others. I assume that your performances were on the DVD quite often this winter?

Curt Phillips: Like you said, it's definitely better watching yourself because you can remember what was going on in your head at the time. It makes it a lot more interesting. Just from watching last year, I thought I made a couple of pretty good throws on the run to the outside.

Obviously there was one deep throw I missed against Purdue that didn't come out too well. It's one of those … we were talking about this the other day and laughing … that keeps showing up, no matter how many times you watch it. There are a lot of things to just improve on. For me, it's more of watching practice than games because I don't have the game reps like Scott has. Seeing those practice reps and maybe know what you were thinking at the time helps.

Badger Nation: From an outsider's perspective watching you this year, you seem more confidence with your throws when you are on the move. Do you feel more confident out there knowing that you've been through a season and a couple camps and you know what you are capable of?

Curt Phillips: Yeah, I am definitely more confident whenever I am on the move. A lot of times, I try to make myself stay in the pocket and not want to run so I can work on what I need to work on. That's one thing Coach Chryst tries to reassure me and tell me. ‘Don't worry about it. Go ahead and do it. That's your game.' I definitely feel more confident with it knowing where everybody is. If I do have to move, I can still try to make a plan trying to get it into those guys' hands instead of tucking and running.

Badger Nation: What's the biggest thing you have learned by watching Scott last year on the sidelines and being actively involved in many games either calling in plays or playing, things that you couldn't get with a redshirt season?

Curt Phillips: The big thing, I think, was just watching how Scott analysis things pre-snap. Most of his stuff, he knows where he's going with it before the play even start. A lot of times he's throwing off his back foot or putting something up because he knows where the guy is going to be. That's real impressive to watch that and to talk about it as soon as he comes over to the sideline. He asks me when I saw and I ask him what he was seeing. It's a lot easier that you can talk to somebody about it.

Badger Nation: Coach Chryst always likes to push people's competitive buttons, and he's said all along that this is an open competition, even with Scott coming back. That's got to fuel your fire a little bit that Chryst wants you to try and take that position?

Curt Phillips: Exactly. Everybody knows Scott had a great year, but I didn't come here to sit on the sidelines and watch. In the spring, it's a great opportunity because everybody is getting an equal amount of repetitions. All you can do is go out and compete everyday, try to make the most of it.

Badger Nation: What have you liked about these first couple practices, besides being outside in March and getting use to Camp Randall again?

Curt Phillips: I just feel so much more confident with where everybody is, and that just comes spending time in the film room with these receivers in the winter and the summer. Being on the same page and for the first time, everybody really knows what's going on this spring. We didn't have to spend a lot of time with installs or anything like that. We know this offense and we know what's going on, which makes it all that more enjoyable.

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