According to many sports writers, Kingsport native Curt Phillips could challenge to be the University of Wisconsin's starting quarterback this fall.
The Sullivan South product is a redshirt freshman, and delivered an impressive performance in the Badgers' spring game. Phillips split time with the first team offense, throwing for one touchdown and rushing for another. He led the unit to four scores in his five possessions at the helm.
Thanks to that strong outing, Fanhouse.com reports a quarterback controversy could now be brewing at the Big Ten school. Senior Dustin Sherer finished last season as the starter, and is penciled in as the guy for 2009.
But pressure from Phillips is expected.
"I like the fact he threw a couple strikes," coach Bret Bielema said of Phillips performance in the spring game. "I think if you ask Curt where he is right now compared to a year ago . . . he's a lot further along."
Wisconsin's quarterback play was poor in 2008. The Badgers were at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in completion percentage, average yards per pass, and touchdown passes. While Wisconsin may forever be a run-first offense, the coaching staff knows a lack of production through the air will do them no good.
And that's why competition at quarterback is a good thing. If Bielema can place Phillips in a position to be a legitimate competitor to start, it pushes Sherer to get better. It also pushes Phillips to improve, so he can perhaps win the job.
According to student newspaper the Badger Herald, it was the run-first philosophy -- a staple of most successful NFL teams -- that landed Phillips in Wisconsin.
A nationally highly-touted, dual-threat, signal-calling recruit, Phillips told the newspaper he didn't want to be a spread offense quarterback. That style of play wouldn't prepare him well enough for the NFL.
Speaking of the NFL, the fantasy football phenomenon that has swept the pro game has now trickled down to the college ranks.
According to CollegeFantasyFootballInsider.com, "If you are drafting Wisconsin quarterbacks, take Phillips. Trust us on this one."
"The only shock is that he didn't challenge for the job last year."
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