Q&A with Coach Darryl Jackson

In this exclusive Devils Digest interview ASU's wide receivers coach discusses his deep and talented group.

DevilsDigest: How are the wide receivers looking as a group going into the season opener?

Darryl Jackson: "They're doing all right. It's experienced group, with a lot of veterans. They did a great job at Camp T, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the gentlemen do against Temple."

DD: Looks like Derek Hagan hasn't missed a beat from last year. Is he playing as well as he should be playing at this point?

DJ: "The whole group is playing very well right now. Derek, T-Rich, Moey, Matt…all those guys have come on. The surprise was Nate Kimbrough – he really had a good camp. Mike Jones is coming along slowly than I wanted him to, but he's showing some signs. The first four I mentioned are having a great pre-season. Derek is playing well and he should be playing well because there's no pressure. He's prepared to play at a high level."

DD: Terry Richardson had by far his best season last year. Do you expect him to kick it up to even a higher level in 2005?

DJ: "I expect that from all the veteran receivers. This is all their fourth year in the same system against pretty much similar competition week in and week out, with a change of non-league games here and there. I do expect all of them to play at a higher level and play with more confidence each and every year. Each year they all got better at the specific things they needed to get better at, and because of that our group is playing very well. We're gonna find out how well against Temple."

DD: How do you feel the true freshmen Chris McGaha and Brandon Smith performed in their first fall camp?

DJ: "I like both those kids. Chris is rangy, can catch the deep ball, he has very good hands coming back to the ball and can change directions very well. Brandon can go after the deep ball and is good at judging the deep ball. He has very good hands as well. In his first few practices he did very well. We have two very good freshmen, and they know they'll be very good. The good thing for them is that they get to learn from some veteran receivers, that learned from some other veteran receivers. We have a good legacy going here and we have to keep that tradition going."

DD: Because of all the veterans you mention, do you expect a smooth sailing with this group on and off the field?

DJ: "I would hope it is a smooth sailing, but every now and then you always have bumpy waters. That's what tests your manhood and character. The veterans have been there and it's all about having peaks and not valleys, and we talk about keeping our peaks high each and every week. If we don't that will hurt not only the group but also the team."

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