Jenkins Ready For Playmaker Role

<P>Omar Jenkins reported to Notre Dame with little fanfare or hype. Most Notre Dame fans didn't expect Jenkins to see the field much less start. The 6-1, 205-pound Jenkins has silenced his critics with clutch catches and big plays and has become one of the most productive Irish receivers in recent memory. Jenkins is set for his final swansong and he says Irish fans will see a much improved Irish offense in 2003. </P>

When will Irish fans understand that Omar Jenkins makes plays? He caught a 47-yard pass from Holiday against Michigan in the fourth quarter to set up with winning score. How about the game-winning 67-yard grab against Navy when his team really needed a play? Omar Jenkins just makes plays and somehow does it without being noticed.

Jenkins says he thinks the 2003 offense has paid the price in the off-season and Irish fans will see a much better offense this year. "We have a lot more confidence--of course having a year under our belt and experience helps," said Jenkins. "We are a lot more confident in making our plays work and executing it, I'll think we'll be a lot better."

Jenkins evolved into a playmaker last year and he says that he just worked hard to become the playmaker he is today. "The initial root of being a receiver is just catching the ball. It wasn't really a big adjustment. It was basically having more fun and having more pressure. I have to make big plays as a receiver and it's a lot of fun being able to make plays."

The Irish are in the midst of fall camp and Jenkins says that having every player living in the same dorm really helps his team build chemistry. "We start off together and we end together. When times gets hard and things get rough it's basically just us together. We work the hardest to achieve our goal and people feed off of that. We're all together—you walk out your door, your teammates, you go to sleep, your teammates. Everything is with the team and what that does is creates that chemistry the football teams need that you can't see on the field."

The Irish have built that chemistry according to Jenkins. "We're a very close-knit team. I was just thinking the other day, people were walking by and my head was down and I could tell who it was just by how they walk or their feet. That's pretty close when you can do that."

For Jenkins to have a solid senior season, starting quarterback Carlyle Holiday will have to have a good year. Jenkins is confident Holiday is set to surprise a lot of people. "A lot more patience—I've said before, a lot more tangibles that I think quarterbacks need at this level to be successful," said Jenkins when asked what he has seen in Holiday this year. "We worked together and I trust that he understands this offense and he trusts that I do. We ran routes, got our timing down and just grew together in the off-season."

Jenkins can't do it all himself but he says the younger receivers have the talent to make big plays. "All the guys that are younger than myself are very confident receivers and are capable of making big plays at any time. I think even down to our freshmen, they're capable of making those plays."

Sophomores Maurice Stovall and Rhema McKnight saw a lot of action last year. Omar says both have improved and just need to let the game come to them. "A lot of what it takes is patience. It can be difficult at times learning the offense—I can see that now. They just need to be patient and not get frustrated and just allow time to adjust to the game."

Ronnie Rodamer is another receiver who should see time this year. Jenkins feels he can add a lot to the team. "He's a big receiver, physical receiver, great hands. I think he's a receiver that can come in and contribute and help this offense." < /P>

Irish Eyes has had a lot of time to watch Omar this fall camp and he has impressed. Omar is just flying out there and we were shocked by how much he improved his speed over the summer. "I just worked hard--I worked hard," said Jenkins when asked how he improved his speed. "I guess I knew it was an area I needed to focus on and I wanted to focus on the area and improve that to help make bigger plays."

Jenkins has made no secret about wanting to be the go-to guy this year. He told Irish Eyes that this goal is what drove him this summer to really work on his game. "I take everything as motivation—every little detail as motivation."

Omar Jenkins has gone from a relatively unknown player to one of the most productive players in recent memory. Omar's formula for success—hard work. We were very surprised to see the results of his hard work in the off-season. We expect Jenkins to take over the role of playmaker this year. Top Stories