CN Mike Grant Interview

CN has a talk with wide reciever's coach Mike Grant about his receiving core.

Blum: How have your receivers preformed in the first few practices?


Grant: Decent. I think we are right where we want to be. It's a hard working group and they expect a lot of themselves. It's never a situation where anyone is getting comfortable and that's how I like it. We've got a lot of competition at the spot and it seems like everyone wants to work hard to get it. Once we get Milan [Moses] back from his ordeal that can really add some depth to our situation.


Blum: How is Milan doing?


Grant: Pretty good. He came down with a slight fever; it has nothing to do with the Chron's. So that's bothering him right now but that is on the positive. We're going to take it day by day and hopefully get him back in the lineup as soon as we can.


Blum: How is Marquis Hamilton playing?


Grant: Hamilton is doing a great job. He red-shirted, but he wasn't like a normal red-shirt. He didn't stay down with the scout team. He stayed up with us all year long. So he's picking up right where we left off. He knows the plays and the formations and those types of things. Most freshmen after they sit have been looking at cards the whole time and so they lose a little bit. He gained quite a bit in sitting around and being a 2 (2nd team) last year. He was always ready in case of injury or emergency and we were fortunate enough to not have to play him, but he got the experience of being a varsity guy. He was always up with us making the road trips and those things.


Blum: Do you expect Hamilton to see the field often?


Grant: I think he can. I expect him to. I expect to hopefully play a lot of people. One thing in looking back at the season, some of the guys had to play a lot of downs. Even though they are all back, it would be nice to see some bodies rotating into the system and keeping legs fresh. That way there is always a body going full speed at some D-Back's that may have played 60 or 70 plays. Here come some fresh legs, so that's my ultimate goal. We have the privilege right now of having some depth, we'll try to knock on wood and stay away from injuries. We want to keep bodies fresh and keep pounding at the defensive backs, so we have fresher legs than they do.


Blum: How is Ryan Baum dealing with his knee injury?


Grant: Good. He is outstanding. I didn't expect him to do much this spring and he's hanging in there. We've got a cautious jersey on him so he's staying away from contact. But he's doing a lot more than expected. We were hoping to just get him through some of our individual drills, but he's really come on and practicing well. Obviously, we are keeping him out of the scrimmage situations.


Blum: Is RJ Sumrall prime for a breakout season?


Grant: I think so. For him we've got to get more reps which would contribute to my ultimate goals with all of these guys. He's got to be consistent. He's a guy who can make the spectacular catch and occasionally he'll drop the little simple one. I expect that from a freshman the first time he hits the field. With RJ, I think he can only get better. I think he will work at it and do a lot of great things. You can see that he wants to be a starter and he understands that there isn't a role where he's upset if he's not on the field, but he does want to be a starter. And I think all of my guys need to have a little selfishness about them, which I like.


Blum: How do you keep guys like Blythe, Davis, and Flynn motivated?


Grant: I don't do a lot of showing them the good things. That's my biggest deal there. We'll go through our practice tape and I'll cut out the mistakes. They won't ever see themselves making the touchdown or anything like that and I try to keep the heat on them. And they know the guys behind them are keeping the heat on them. It's not like that at all spots, but at the receiver spot its there. And hopefully, as long as I am here it will stay that way.


Blum: Do you see some room for improvement from those three?


Grant: I think so. Everyday Jon's getting better and improving. Blythe's got to do some things on the intermediate. He averages 21 yards a catch, but you never see much five to ten yard catches with him. So we try to work towards those goals and make him a complete player. With all those guys they need to do as I call it "dominate the perimeter" with the blocking aspect of the run game.


Blum: How does this group compare with the receiving corps with Lane Danielsen, Jack Whitver, Jamaul Montgomery and Lance Young?


Grant: Talent wise there's no question they are better. The biggest thing is those guys knew the game and the current guys are getting there. That one year [2003] I had five seniors who knew the ins and outs of what we were doing offensively. They can only improve. These 15 days are going to help out tremendously and all summer long. So they have a chance, but talent wise there's no question they can be there.

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