Clark Phillips III Leans On Leadership, Past Experiences As Utah Football Faces Adversity
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s no secret that the Utah football team is facing adversity but how are some of the players looking to overcome that?
After a win over Weber State, followed by back-to-back losses to BYU and San Diego State, Clark Phillips and Utah football are 1-2 for the first time since 2007.
The program made a ton of changes to personnel this week, including their starting quarterback, which led to Charlie Brewer leaving the program.
On the latest episode of Faith, Family and Football with Clark Phillips, the Utah cornerback talked about how he is handling the adversity.
You can listen to the full episode, below.
Leaning On Leadership, Teammates To Overcome Adversity
Phillips gave some detail about the players-only meeting that took place on Sunday afternoon, one day after their loss to San Diego State.
“Britain Covey, I think about Devin Lloyd, I think about the leadership of the team because these guys have have done everything that they can to continue to make everyone feel like we’re good because they make everyone feel so confident,” Phillips said. “I’ll say Britain Covey had a great piece in our players-only meeting, he just was reiterating the fact that integrity is what’s going to hold up. “He said ‘own up to what you’re going to own up to and don’t go back on it and it starts with integrity like do what you said that you’re going to do. You have something to honor by the team. When you decided to come to Utah, you knew what you were getting into, you knew that you were going to have to do your job and do your job at a high level consistently and don’t let up on that, don’t let your teammates down.
“It starts with trust and so I say that to say there’s no break in us,” Phillips continued. “We are 1-2 but I’ll be the first to tell you we aren’t worried about anything, the guys are more than encouraged by the grit that guys have been showing. I’d say the whole team as a collective we’re encouraged by each other even though we feel like we haven’t shown everything that we have. The leadership explained how we have all the pieces that we need, we talked about how we are all we got and we’re all we need and that’s the truth honestly. We have all the pieces now we’ve just got to put it together.”
Clark Phillips Faced Similar Adversity In Senior Year Of High School
At La Habra High School, Phillips had a similar start to his senior season. They had high expectations just like the Utes do now. But it wasn’t about how they started, it was about how they finished.
“We kind of under delivered my senior year,” stated Phillips. “The first game we came out with great enthusiasm, great juice but then the next game we kind of came out a little bit flat and ended up I think getting us. Towards the end of season we had a big turnaround, ended up making it to the third round of playoffs. We didn’t go all the way but we did our thing. I feel like it was just a part of the growing process and really it was a great part of the story to have a slow start and to be a better finisher though.”
Phillips enrolled early at Utah which meant that he was younger in age as a senior at La Habra but was still a leader of the team. He talked about how that experience helped him through that season and using it to help him now.
“I’d say one of the serious things that I did, I felt like it was important was quality control, managing the guys on the team and making sure that nobody was being a downer on us. We’ll let everybody else talk their stuff and our fans talk all that stuff about how the season’s over. But us? No, we know how much work that we put in, they weren’t here in the spring, in the summer, all these months prior to the season that got us here. They weren’t here for all of that. So let’s not start doubting now because of what they’re saying. None of that matters, the only thing that matters is us and that was my biggest point as a leader on that team and I feel like I can see some similarities in the points that the leaders on this team have provided to the whole team. Hey, screw what they say. We know who we are and we know the work that we’ve put in. Let’s not doubt, let’s have faith.”
Utah will open Pac-12 play on Saturday, September 25 against Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. MDT on the Pac-12 Network.
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.