After throwing just seven times in his first start against Indiana, Phillips has been asked to throw 50 times combined in his last two games.[/media-credit]What a difference a year can make.Last season, Curt Phillips wasn’t even at the Big Ten Championship game. Now, he’s the starting quarterback on the biggest stage a conference game can offer.At home in Tennessee still rehabbing from his third surgery on the ACL in his right knee, the quarterback still dreamed of one day getting his shot. Phillips remembers the feeling he experienced, sitting at home and watching his teammates play for a conference championship without him there.“It was disappointing,” Phillips said. “I wanted to be there with the team, that was frustrating. But it’s that much extra motivation, when something’s taken away from you.“Now I get my opportunity to be a part of it.”Phillips has never played against Nebraska, Wisconsin’s opponent in the conference championship game. Last time around it was redshirt freshman Joel Stave making the start, as Danny O’Brien made a late game appearance to run the two-minute drill.But after the last two weeks, it’s no doubt who the Badgers’ best quarterback is in the clutch.Leading Wisconsin back in the final seconds against both Ohio State and Penn State only to see both games lost in overtime, Phillips has begun to develop a reputation for stepping up when it matters most.The hurry-up, two-minute drill that Phillips has thrived in so far for the Badgers resembles the offense the quarterback ran at Sullivan South High School in his hometown of Kingsport, Tenn.And for a team that has lost its five games by an average of less than four points, that kind of ability to close out, or rather, bring a team back, is something this Wisconsin team desperately needs.“It’s great to have that kind of faith in somebody that he’s already been there and done that,” redshirt junior left guard Ryan Groy said. “He’s already done it, we know he can step up in those situations.”And he’s also shown improvement. After only throwing the ball seven times against Indiana, Phillips has thrown 25 passes in each of his last three games, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns – both career-highs – against Penn State Saturday.“Each game I feel like I’ve settled down a little bit, especially from the first start,” Phillips said. “I had some mental mistakes I shouldn’t have made (in his first start), being a little giddy I guess. But I feel like I’m more comfortable and relaxed.”It’s been hard to say Phillips has had adequate time to get comfortable this season. The redshirt senior has been sacked nine times this season, a result of lackluster play in the offensive trenches, team’s sending consistent blitzes to challenge the inexperienced quarterback and stop the Wisconsin running game and the quarterback holding onto the ball for too long.With the Big Ten Championship game marking just his fourth start for the Badgers under center, Phillips says he’s starting to find his comfort zone as “the man” for his team’s offense.“I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable, like I’m on the same page as my receivers,” Phillips said. “At first, I felt I knew what was going on and what I was seeing from the defense, but I wasn’t getting it out that fast because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making any mistakes. So now I can play a little bit faster and trust myself.”It was an observation also reflected by his head coach, Bret Bielema. “I think the part that probably has shown up, in my opinion, from an old defensive coach, there are some plays where he maybe wasn’t quite sure he could throw it,” Bielema said at his Monday press conference. “If you just hesitate a half second, sometimes that window can close.”Wisconsin’s No. 1 wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who was named a consensus first team all-Big Ten selection Monday, has seen his production vastly decrease since the injury to Stave, recording just seven catches over the past three games.But, like Bielema and Phillips, Abbrederis also voiced both receiver and quarterback are still learning from one another.“We’re just trying to figure each other out, with the play-calling, trying to understand what he’s good at,” Abbrederis said. “I think we’re good chemistry-wise and as the weeks go on we just keep getting better and better.”Phillips admitted he needed some time to adjust to the starting role. When he took over the offense nearly a month ago, it was the first time he received the majority of reps at quarterback since fall camp. But he found the learning curve slighted thanks to a lasting friendship with a former Wisconsin quarterback.And not just any quarterback. This one led Wisconsin to their first Rose Bowl in a decade, a feat Phillips will look to achieve with a win on Saturday.“One person, I’ve always looked to for advice is Scott Tolzien,” Phillips said. “I usually talk to Scott a couple times a week. We’re pretty close, he’s always good to talk to because he keeps you grounded.“He’s always got some good advice, right before the competition opened up when Joel got hurt he said to make the most of it because I had already come this far and to just to have fun with it.”So, will he brag to his friend if he ends up winning Wisconsin its first Rose Bowl since 2000?“No, I haven’t made it that far yet,” he laughed. “We have to win this one Saturday.”Follow Nick on Twitter
Rebekah Jones, the woman who created Florida’s popular COVID-19 dashboard, has created a new one of her own. We apply the CDC’s guidance on counting “recovered” cases to show by-county estimates of the number of recovered people. This calculation includes all cases diagnosed more than six weeks ago where no death, hospitalization or ER admission is on file. Jones was fired from the Florida Department of Health last month, for what she says was her refusal to censor data in order to support the state’s reopening plan.Gov. Ron DeSantis later said in a news conference that she had been terminated for insubordination, and for adding data on the website against the judgement of state doctors.The governor added that she is facing open criminal charges for sexual cyber-harassment and cyberstalking.In an interview with CNN, Jones said that she disagreed with state officials over COVID-19 data in rural counties, explaining that some information showed several rural counties did not meet the criteria to reopen. She claims her supervisors changed the criteria for reopening rural counties soon thereafter.“If refusing to mislead the public during a health crisis is insubordination, then I will wear that badge with honor,” Jones said. The Florida COVID Community Action website uses a “community-mapping approach,” in which the data is scaled to the local level. Members of the community can submit data instantly online, according to Jones.She says her new website shows the most up-to-date statistics along with “other data Florida leaders have previously tried to hide or restrict from public view.”People can search for the latest data in their counties, in addition to testing locations and hours, community events to help those struggling during the pandemic, and submit information about resources in their communities.A statement on the website rads:We count everyone who has had a confirmed-positive COVID-19 lab result, including antibody testing. Any cumulative count of positive people in Florida should include any person who has a confirmed-positive lab result, whether tested while symptomatic or not. This helps us better track the disease burden on healthcare systems and its spread in the community. We show the number of positive people, hospitalizations, and deaths for everyone tested in Florida, regardless of their legal address. DOH excludes non-residents from its demographic data, zip code data, death data, and case data over time.
ATHENS — Defending champion Olympiakos beat Ergotelis 3-0 to open up a nine-point lead in the Greek league on Feb. 14.Second-place Panathinaikos travels to OFI on Feb. 15.Olympiakos totally dominated at home, with 36 attempts at goal, to Ergotelis’ three, but did not score until the 71st, when Jimmy Durmaz’s shot off Alejandro Dominguez’s cross found the net.Costas Fortounis scored in the 75th, just five minutes after going on, and his second in the third minute of injury time.Ergotelis goalkeeper Bojan Saranov saved Dominguez’s penalty in the 79th.Also, Panionios won 3-1 at Giannena, Panetolikos beat Asteras 2-0, and Panthrakikos won 3-0 on paper against Niki Volos, which has been expelled from the league over financial difficulties.TweetPinShare0 Shares