Phillips said the redshirt season last year was good for him, because, he admits, he came in "raw."
"I didn't have much technique," Phillips said. "Coach (Jackie) Shipp just drills technique. I somewhat have my technique down, and that's helped me a lot to get in the rotation."
Phillips added that Stoops talked to him about needing to step up even before senior Stacy McGee's indefinite suspension earlier this month.
"Coach Stoops told me I need to get prepared and be ready to play this year," Phillips said. "That just made me work harder, I guess."
FINCH STOPS TWEETING
A day after tweeting that he might delete his account, Roy Finch became the second Sooner to stop using Twitter before the Sooners' season opener.
Safety Tony Jefferson deactivated his account before the start of fall camp.
Finch said he chose to stop tweeting because it was a distraction from class and football.
Finch said he sent a last few tweets and then stopped.
"I just got too consumed in it," Finch said. "I'm just trying to keep my head focused for this season and not get wrapped up in what other people say about me."
Jefferson cited his main reason also being it was a distraction. Both Finch and Jefferson said they will likely rejoin the Twittersphere before the season is over. Finch joked with the media that it will likely be after a high-yardage game for him.
UTEP: BY THE NUMBERS
10 — Career touchdown passes for UTEP's Nick Lamaison. The Miners' quarterback has a 4-5 career record with 10 interceptions.
0 — Bowl wins for UTEP over the past 45 years. The Miners beat Ole Miss in the 1967 Sun Bowl, but since then have only appeared in, and lost, five bowl games.
10 — Missed field goals by UTEP kickers last season. Steven Valdez, the Miners expected starter, was 1 of 2. OU kickers were 25 for 28.
170 — Career rushing yards returning to the Miners' backfield. UTEP lost its top three tailbacks from last season and will start a sophomore (Nathan Jeffrey) with 24 career carries, backed up by another one (Josh Bell) with only three attempts. The two have combined for one touchdown.
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