Giles Grades A+ for Attitude

Offensive center Zach Giles is in the midst of the biggest battle of his football life. He is fighting for the starting center position with sophomore Bob Morton and is hoping to win the battle and become the leader of the offensive line. Giles is known as one of the strongest members of the Irish team and his tenacity on the field is impressive. Irish Eyes caught up with Giles at media day to see how the battle was progressing and his thoughts on the offensive line this year.

Giles says he's been working hard this fall camp and feels he's playing pretty well. "I think I'm doing really well," said Giles. "We are trying to come together, trying to get a group out there that's working together. I'm doing a lot better working with Sean and Mark so I think we are all getting used to each other, learning when to help each other and when we've got to leave each other on islands. We are starting to gel together."

The Marshfield, MA native says he's happy with what he has done so far in camp but still has a lot of work to do before he is ready for the season. "I'm pleased with what I've done so far although I've got a lot of work to do still. I've got a lot of footwork work to do and technique, body position, things like that. I feel that when I do it right I do it very well. I am really happy with myself when I do it right but I've just got to keep increasing the number of times I do it right."

The offensive line is a tight group and Giles had some interesting thoughts on offensive line play. "I think it's really hard for the offensive line, you've got to have five guys doing their job perfectly to make a play work. On defense you can have three guys fall down and the defensive tackle can come through off the defensive line, make a play and that's it. It's a positive thing, we're breaking a lot of plays open at practice, we're getting a lot of touchdowns, a lot of hard earned touchdowns. The running backs are making great cuts. We try to make them feel comfortable running the ball, pushing up at the line, making cuts in their side of the backfield and just get it done. I think we are doing a lot better job."

Giles says that the defense also has the upper hand in practice much of the time. "A lot of times the practices are scripted so the defense knows what we are running but we don't really know what the defense is running because they stunt and they blitz and everything. I think we do really well with it."

The offensive line has had a few guys get banged up recently. Sean Milligan has been limited but looked great today in full contact. Dan Stevenson has sat out a bit as well. Giles sees this as an opportunity to build much needed depth. "The past few days we've had a couple of guys go down so we've had to rotate subs in. It's good because everyone is getting experience; everyone is getting their feet wet. A lot of the freshmen have been getting in there, they've been thrown in the mix because we need rotators, we need subs, we need guys to be taught out there. It should help us with depth and getting guys ready to fill in."

The heat has really be a factor lately and Giles says you've just got to battle through it. "We had four starters go down yesterday, with heat things and things like that. We had a bunch of new guys to come in and you need four guys to sub them and a lot times you are running with six guys running for five positions. It was hard but you learn how to deal with the stress. You're tired but you've got to pick your head up and keep your feet moving and your body moving. You're just learning how to deal with the stress of that and being tired. It helps I guess. It would be a lot more helpful if we had more guys out there staying healthy but we are trying to get back into the swing of it."

Giles says that the offensive line watches film after every practice and that he thinks the line is very close to becoming a solid line. "I think so," said Giles when asked if the film shows they are coming together. "On every play if something doesn't bust open we are one block away, we are one assignment away so it's frustrating to see. When you are on the field you think, 'Jeez, I made my block so why didn't it work?' but both Coach McDonell and Coach Denbrock are excited because they see the potential. We don't always see it because we are right in the middle of it but they definitely see the potential in our line."

What we like most about Giles is he is a tough guy. He loves to hit, he loves to lift and he loves to get dirty. We offer this quote as evidence. "Nobody is giving us any credit because we are young and inexperienced but we have balls, all of us are physical, we go out and we hit and I think that's all you need. That's what they are trying to bring out—trying to be physical, going and laying people out, just having that offensive line swagger. It doesn't matter that we haven't played, we are still tough guys and we go out and knock heads.

If attitude counts for anything, Giles should get an A plus. This is the type of attitude that we think has been lacking along the offensive line—minus Jeff Faine. If the offensive line as a whole can adopt Giles' attitude, they should have a fighting chance in any game this year.

The Irish are in the middle of fall camp right now and Irish Eyes has been at every practice finding the latest inside scoop. You will not find better practice reports anywhere. Do you want to know how of the offensive line is progressing? How does Carlyle Holiday look this fall? What about Julius Jones? You will find it all in a Total Access Pass for Irish Eyes as well as updates on almost every player on the 2003 roster. Don't miss out on all the inside scoop.

Click this LINK if you would like to know about a Total Access Pass from Irish Eyes. Top Stories