Darnell Jenkins Q&A

Wide receiver Darnell Jenkins is working hard in the off-season to get stronger and faster. He has improved his speed and has shown the ability to run by defensive backs during spring drills. Jenkins is excited for spring practices and is even more excited for the 2004 season to start.

How are workouts going for you?

I am just getting ready for spring practices with workouts, seven on sevens, and one on ones. Seven on sevens are going good. I talked to coach C.J. and he said I have got a lot better this year and I have I have matured more. I have been getting better off the line and catching the ball better.

Who do you usually go up against in one-on-one drills and how do you do?

I normally go up against Antrel Rolle, Kelly Jennings, and Terrell Walden. I do pretty good against them. Going deep, I beat them all. It is kind of hard running the short routes on Antrel because he is so strong. Other than that, coming off the ball I have gotten a lot quicker. It is hard for them to cover me now.

How is track going and how does it help you for football?

It helps me a lot. When I run deep routes on defensive backs they are always telling me how fast I am. They were so used to playing me with the under routes and not worrying about me running deep on them. Now they are confused. Track has helped me a lot because I got a lot faster. The last time I ran the 40 I got a 4.41, but now I ran a 4.33. I have gotten a lot faster and a lot stronger. I feel like I am running a lot more relaxed now. The muscles I didn't use in football I use in track.

What is something that you had to adjust to when you came to Miami?

Being quick off the ball. That was the hardest thing I had trouble with when I came here because in high school everyone would play off of me. I wasn't used to having someone so close to me. I had to get used to going up against stronger and faster players than in high school. It was like playing an all-star game all over again.

How are you doing in the weight room?

I am getting a lot stronger. My bench is at about 285 and my squat is at about 365. Last season I was a lot lower, my bench was 255 and my squat was 275.

What is your height/weight measurements and where would you like to be in the fall?

I am 5-10 and my weight is 183 now. I came in at 160. I want to get to at least 190 by next fall. It is going to be something I will have to work at.

How excited are you for spring practices?

I am very excited to start practices because it determines who plays during the regular season. We have a new offensive coordinator and he is starting everybody fresh. He wants to see who can make plays and who will step up. He says that there are no starters determined right now and it will depend upon how we play. I know I have a chance to start and the chance to make plays like I am right now.

What are your thoughts on the wide receivers with a lot of guys coming back?

Last year we were ranked 68th and I think this year we can be number one, definitely in the top five with the receivers that we have. We got Ryan, Roscoe, Hester, everyone is 4.3, 4.2 speed and versatile. I think we can all make plays on the field when we get the ball.

What do you expect from the offense in 2004?

I expect a big year from our offense this season. I think Brock Berlin will be more comfortable this year. He should be used to the routes more and with us as receivers. We should be able to spread the ball out more this year. We got Frank and Tyrone. All of us receivers will be ready for the season. The offensive line is going to be good. Everybody is showing improvements and we should have a big year.

How are the young defensive backs coming along?

They are coming along real well because when Stoops left they were working with coach Swasey. They increased their game like 100% and it was hard for the receivers to do anything. They got a lot stronger and a lot faster by running track. They are going to have a good battle for playing time.

Are you healthy right now?

I strained my back muscle twice in track, but I'll be fine for spring practices.

Besides working out and doing track, what else are you doing in the off-season?

I am just helping raise my daughter who is two now. I am spending time with my girl and visiting my mom. I am just doing things that will keep me out of trouble.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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