Adam Nettina (AN): Can you tell me about the decision to list freshman Parrish Gaines at the top of the depth chart at one of the cornerback spots this week?
Buddy Green (BG): With David (Wright) out we started Jonathan Wev last week, and Jonathan got a little banged up. We put Parrish in and he has been making strides in practice and he has got some tools, got some ability. He got his chance, went in, and played as well as any of the other DBs that played on Saturday – so he's going to get the start this Saturday.
I think Parrish has nice size for a corner and I thought, under the circumstances and in that situation, he preformed well.
AN: I seem to recall another wiry Navy corner who started as a plebe back in 2007. Has anyone brought up the comparison to Kevin Edwards?
BG: I think some of the guys have. Wyatt (Middleton) is here working with some of our players, and I think Wyatt has. If (Parrish) can play like (Edwards), I think we'll be alright.
AN: I remember you saying back in 2007 that you had to go back and teach fundamentals more in the defensive backfield because of all the injuries and youth. Are you finding yourself facing a similar situation this year?
BG:: Well, we try to do it every year. We never get away from it. This year – to this point – we've had some newcomers back there and we've reshuffled things. A couple guys have emerged – with Chris (Ferguson), who got his first start against Rutgers – who have been showing up on special teams, and have responded real well during camp. I'm talking about Parrish and Chris, who did some things in camp which were impressive. Fundamentals of the game are always very important, but they're even more important when you have a young group. You never get away from it when you have an experienced group, but it's even more important as far as every little detail they're going to see when you do have a young group back there.
AN: What has the mood been like in the locker-room and on the practice field this week:
BG:: I think we've had a good week. Guys have worked hard. They've got to work on getting better, and they're hungry to get better and to get a win. I think we've had a good week to this point.
AN: Talk to me a little about Notre Dame's offense, and specifically wide receiver Michael Floyd. What can you do to stop him? Do you try to double team him, or does that expose other areas of your defense too much?
When you watch them play they have so many weapons. Every team they have played, they try to do a little bit of everything. They'll double him, but when you look at them -- of course Michael Floyd has great numbers -- but you look at their tight ends and their other receivers and their whole starting lineup, and they've got guys who can catch the ball and take it to the house and are very, very dangerous. In my opinion they are a couple of plays away from being undefeated. The way they beat a great Michigan State team is just so impressive.
The other thing they are doing this year that is a little bit different from a year ago is that both backs – (Cierre Wood) and (Jonas) Grey – are running extremely well, but they are also doing a great job of getting the football to their running backs in the passing game. That has put a big stress on all the teams they have played this year. Teams will do a decent job, but the running backs have hurt a lot of people in the passing game coming out of the backfield with the screen game, the flairs, and the check-downs. They have a lot of talent. You go from a great player in Michael Floyd and there's another great one across from him. There's another great tight end on the other side who's catching the ball. You go down the list of the receivers making great plays, but you can never forget about the tailbacks, because the tailbacks have caught a lot of balls.
AN: What is the biggest difference in year two from year one in the Brian Kelly offense? Have you noticed a faster tempo from the Irish? I know they've had trouble with turnovers, but aside from that, has their execution been noticeably better?
BG:I think their execution has been better. The key has been the play of the quarterback. The play of the quarterback has just been incredible. (Tommy Rees) knows where to go with it and he'll pick you apart. You just mentioned it…how teams, if they overlook one side and try to cover Floyd, (Rees) will find someone in the open seem and take advantage of it. He does such a great job with the play passing game and of faking the run with the rollout game. They have so many more weapons they are using this year that we didn't quite see a year ago, and they are hitting on all cylinders. And the biggest thing now is that they have an experienced offensive line that has been through the system for a year, and their execution in the running game and the passing game has been nearly flawless.
AN: One of those new ‘weapons' we've seen emerge is tight end Tyler Eifert. He's the kind of guy who has wide receiver ability but tight end size. What's the plan for trying to control him Saturday? Should we expect to see a lot of Tra'Ves Bush lined up against him?
BG: Tra'Ves will play a lot. As a matter of fact, he will start. (Eifert) has beaten matchups with linebackers. He has beaten matchups with DBs on him. He's there second leading receiver on the team, and I think he's second on touchdowns too, behind Floyd. They use him in so many ways. He's strong, and he's a big target in the red zone. You can't ‘bump' on him because he'll push off defenders to the inside. It's kind of like the question you asked a while ago. You better get dialed in on him because the quarterback is going to find him because he's one of (Rees') favorite targets as well.
AN: We all know about the success Navy's senior class has had against Notre Dame. Have guys like Jabaree Tuani been especially vocal this week in talking about that ‘tradition' – if you will – and of reminding the younger guys that just because they come in as underdogs doesn't mean they can't still win?
BG: Jabaree has shown great leadership this week with just reemphasizing the point that we emphasize. That is ‘go back to work,' and ‘just get better.' Correct the things we didn't do correctly, and let's get better. That's the thing Jabaree has done this week, and getting that point across to our young guys on defense. We've got to work our butts off to have a chance on Saturday. All we get is a chance if we work as hard as we can during the week.
Navy's Green Sounds Off on Irish Offense
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