Q&A with Darnell Jenkins

Darnell Jenkins is a senior receiver who has caught 49 passes in his career.

How has fall camp been for you so far?

"I have gained more weight, gotten stronger and faster, and run my routes better. I am just ready to go."

What do you feel like you have improved heading into 2006?

"I improved in my attitude, my route running, and the ability to go up and get the ball. Last season I used to pout because I would be open a lot, but I hardly got the ball. So I wanted to work on my attitude and accept things the way they are."

As a senior, what type of leader are you for the WR unit?

"We have a lot of young guys, George, Sam, Ryan Hill, and I just want to be an example for those guys. When I was a freshman, I hardly got playing time and it was hard for me to understand that because of my athleticism. They are going to be playing in the game. They have got opportunities to do things that I never did."

How confident are you in the new offense?

"I am very confident in the new offense. Coach Berry and Olson are doing a good job of doing a lot of three step drops and getting the ball into the receivers hands quick—trying to bring the DB's up so we can take some shots downfield."

How frustrating was it playing in last year's offense?

"We went three receivers on every third down, so everybody was expecting pass and they dropped into a zone blitz. This season, we are going at the defense, whatever down it is and we are taking shots downfield."

What is going to be the difference this season?

"We are going at the defense with reverses and screens to the receivers and deep routes."

Will we see four and five receiver sets?

"You'll see more three receiver sets; sometimes four."

What makes Sam Shields special?

"He is working on his routes. He is getting better. Kyle sees him as a first-teamer. He has worked hard and worked his way up the depth chart."

Have you talked with Sam about playing this Labor Day against FSU under the lights at the Orange Bowl and what to expect?

"I just got through talking about that with him today. I tell him, Sam when that crowd makes that vibration go through your body, you can't get nervous. You have got to go out there and do your assignment. That is why you have to practice hard everyday. You see me practicing hard everyday because you practice how you play. You cannot hear anything on the field because it is so loud, so you have to know your assignment and keep your poise."

How has Lance been this fall?

"Lance has gotten mentally stronger. He is not emotional like he was last year. He is also a leader and he has also gotten a lot faster. He has a very good feel for the ball because of his height and ability to go up and get the ball."

What type of impact can Ryan Hill have at receiver?

"Ryan is a special guy. He is so quick. He doesn't look fast until you see him run. When you try to run downfield and block for him—he's fast. He is going to help us a lot. He is humble and got his mindset right."

Will Brian Monroe see time at receiver versus FSU?

"I doubt it."

What do you say to the critics who say the receivers are a question mark on offense?

"Either they are going to be with us, or they are going to be against us. We ain't got nothing to prove to them. As long as we do our assignments and get the job done on the field to help our team win, that is all we need to do."

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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