Phillips says having more experience around Newton or Mossakowski should help compared to the situation last year when Hartline was hurt at South Carolina midway of the season.
“We have enough experience around them that we just have to go out and play. A year ago Morgan was younger and we had to try and protect him,” Phillips said. “We didn’t have as much experience around him, especially in the skill positions. We feel like we have to do what we have been doing all year.
“Last year there were times protection-wise we couldn’t do all the things we wanted to do. We had to go with some simple protections for a young quarterback. A lot of our complicated protections got abandoned. Last year there were some things we didn’t get into as much with the young quarterbacks as we will now. Those guys have got two years into our system and we will call them and see how they do with them.”
Hartline apparently will be doing his part to try and make sure Newton and Mossakowski are ready for Pittsburgh’s defense, too, even though he can’t play.
“We put this on Mike also and have given him the option if he wants to come over and try to help out some of the young guys ... and he asked for that also,” Phillips said. “He wants to come over and possibly help some of the young guys. It won’t be in uniform. It will be as a student-coach and to try to help those guys get through this bowl prep.
“We will allow him to come down (to Birmingham) for the last couple of days with us as a team (before the bowl) and be on the sideline (at the game). He is a huge part of this. Unfortunately, what happened happened. We had to do what we thought was best for him and this football team and move on. But he understands that.”
Injury update: Sophomore receiver LaRod King suffered a sprained shoulder at practice Sunday that left him in obvious pain on the sideline with an ice pack on his shoulder. It’s the same injury that defensive end DeQuin suffered Saturday.
“They will be out a week and then we will get them back out here on the practice field. Nothing major. They should be fine,” Phillips said.
NFL help: Recently Phillips encouraged junior safety Winston Guy to get an evaluation from the NFL about his potential draft status, the same thing receiver Randall Cobb and linebacker Danny Trevathan are doing.
“I would like to do it with all of our juniors,” Phillips said. “Sometimes it is a humbling experience, too. I am not saying that about Winston, but I would like to do it with all our juniors just to see where they are at.
“Sometimes it will come back and help them going into their senior year and allow them to see what they need to work on and also give them some motivation to raise their stock in the last year also.
“I have heard, but I am not sure they do this, that Ohio State gets all their underclassmen (juniors) evaluated. I think that’s smart and gives all the guys a chance to see where they are at.”