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Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday conversation: Part II with Colter Phillips

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

This is the second part of an interview with Virginia tight end Colter Phillips. Click here for part one.

Team-wise, how frustrating has it been for you guys going through this season, trying to get those wins?

CP: Offensively, it’s been frustrating sometimes because it’s a new offense and this is my third offense in three years. This year, in the beginning at least, it was a little frustrating learning a new offense, and having to learn everything over a third time again. There have been a lot of games where the score really hasn’t shown the true game. We’ve given up a lot of easy plays on both sides of the ball where a one-touchdown game turns into a three-touchdown game by the end of the game. It’s just frustrating sometimes to be that close and then lose it.

Do you think you guys can change that here down the stretch?

CP: Oh yeah, for sure. There are kind of some growing pains with learning a new offense and being with a new coaching staff, but I think, you know, we are ready to change what has happened here in the past and really step it up and become a big-time team in the ACC.

How far away do you think you guys are from doing that?

CP: You don’t really want to look too far ahead in the future. I just try to look ahead to the next game, but it is nice to know I have two years after this season to play. I’m confident that by the time I leave here, we’re going to be one of the best teams in the ACC.

So how did you and your brothers wind up going to different schools? Are you friends?

CP: My family is really close. My final two schools were here and Stanford. I went on all of these recruiting trips with my dad and at first I wanted to play out in California with my brother. I visited around a little bit and came to UVA and just absolutely fell in love with it. My dad liked the school and my mom but they made me visit Stanford one last time to make sure I didn’t want to play with my brother. So we did that, and I actually committed to UVA in the Palo Alto airport. That kind of made the Stanford guys a little mad. I had to go out there and check it out one last time before I came here, but I felt like each of us wanted to go through our own paths in life. Going to a different school has been good for each of us to grow up a little bit. Growing up I really relied a lot on my older brother. We played for the same coach every year, and he could tell me what to expect, and in school what classes to take. I felt like in order for me to really grow and mature both as a player and as a student I had to go to my own school and do my own thing. I feel like it has helped me to do my own thing and be my own person.

So what was it like at your house? Were you guys out there tackling each other in the backyard every night?

CP: My mom went crazy when we were all pretty young. We’re all two years apart, and my youngest brother is seven years younger than me. When it was us three growing up, it was pretty crazy in our house. Somehow we turned out all right.

How much are you talking to your brothers now?

CP: I talk to all three of them every day, whether it’s through text messages or phone calls. We check in on each other. It’s a tough time for us now still. We’re just happy that Willy is doing OK and getting better. We’re going to stick together and get through this thing together.

I was going to ask you how your little brother was doing. He’s the youngest, right?

CP: Yeah, he’s 13. He’s doing alright. I think he’s had five or six surgeries since the crash. His leg is starting to heal. He’s in a wheelchair still. But he’s hanging in there. He’s a tough little kid. I have so much respect for him. I know that it’s been especially tough for him, what he’s been through. He’s just doing his best, and trying to get better.

Wow. What an emotional year. Is there anything else you want Virginia fans to know?

CP: I don’t know if anyone out there is aware, but my man Marc Verica has been throwing out some new songs on YouTube if people want to check them out. If any Marc Verica fans are out there, they can check him out on YouTube.