Former Signal Mountain and University of Kentucky quarterback Reese Phillips completed his first 13 passes on Sept. 16, when his Montana Grizzlies were on their way to a 56-3 thrashing of Savannah State.
Phillips never got to finish that game, however, shattering the fibula (calf bone) in his left leg and rupturing ligaments in his left foot. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound senior was a recent guest of "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 FM.
Q: How has surgery gone, and how are you?
A: "It's been good. I had surgery pretty much right after the game. It was a three-hour surgery. I've been all right. They put me up at a hotel and got me a little golf cart so I can go to practice, so I'm hanging in there."
Q: It was a gruesome injury. Do you even look at the pictures?
A: "Unfortunately, I did have to see the pictures. They were up on a couple of different sites, so it was pretty hard not to see it."
Q: Have you already thought about pursuing a medical redshirt and coming back?
A: "I haven't really taken that step, but of course I've thought about it. I don't know. It will be such a different situation next year. We have a lot of senior O-linemen, and this is a serious injury. It's going to be a long recovery. We have a young quarterback who is good.
"It would definitely be a different situation."
Q: When you talk about a long recovery, have you been given a ballpark timetable?
A: "I'm not supposed to put any pressure on it for about three months. Hopefully me being young and healthy will make it a little sooner than that, but that's what the doctor told me. It was hard for me coming back from the Achilles' injury I had (in March 2015), and this one is pretty serious."
Q: What was your reaction when it happened?
A: "It was kind of a weird play, but it was also pretty routine. I was going to throw, and the corner played the pass pretty well, so I just stepped up to try to run like I've done so many different times. My foot just kind of got stuck in the turf along with the D-lineman falling on it.
"I could definitely feel it, but I didn't hear it pop. As I was falling, there was nothing I could do. I could feel that my leg was stuck, and I couldn't move it. I knew it was coming. Once it reached my stomach, the damage had been done."
Q: Who all has reached out to you?
A: There have been so many people. A lot of Montana greats have reached out to me. Jared Lorenzen reached out, and he was always a great guy when I was at Kentucky. A lot of my old coaches, like (former Signal) coach (Bill) Price, reached out. So many people have, even random middle-school kids in Montana, so it's been crazy.
"It's also been really special."
Q: Is it weird to think that may have been your final play?
A: "I kind of have a feeling that may have been it, and that's the hardest part to wrap your head around. I had just come so far, and once I got the opportunity to play, I knew that I could play well. I was very confident about the season. I didn't feel like anybody could stop us."
Q: Were you having the best game of your career?
A: "No doubt. I had said after our first game that I was going to be much different when we came back home for the third game, and I was. It didn't even feel like I was trying. I was just in a groove from the beginning.
"I didn't know I had completed that many in a row. I just knew I was playing on a different level than I had been."
Q: You had no control over this injury, but are there any decisions you would have done differently after your time at Signal?
A: "I really don't think I would change anything. When I hurt my Achilles' in my third year at Kentucky, I had some regrets, because I wanted to leave the semester before that, and I kind of got talked into staying. Then I got hurt and was out for the year, but I got to meet (former Kentucky offensive coordinator) Shannon Dawson, who will really benefit me down the line if I decide to coach.
"We have a great relationship, and he's the one who got me out here. I definitely wouldn't change anything about coming out here. The people have been amazing. It's the closest SEC feel you can get in the FCS. I accomplished the goal that I wanted to do. It just got shortened."
Q: Turning to our rapid fire, what are you going to do with more down time?
A: "I'm like in the 1 percent who hasn't seen 'Game of Thrones,' so I've got to start watching that."
Q: If Bill Price and Jared Lorenzen are in a wing-eating competition, who's winning?
A: "I love my man Bill, but Jared is taking that one with ease."
Q: You don't have to watch what you eat anymore, so what are you going to binge on?
A: "That's actually pretty dangerous, because I've got a sweet tooth. Any candy in my sight will be eaten up from here on out."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.