As Coach Miles came in from the cold, windy practice field, we asked him about practice, "It's been good. A lot of good execution and a chance to zero in and work on fundamentals and techniques that we need."
We continued by asking what he has picked up from watching tapes of the Navy defense, "I expect a team that's going to come in here, play hard, smart football, well disciplined, and going to be very, very aggressive - and just play hard-nosed football. I don't think they're going to make very many mistakes. They're going to make you execute really well to beat them."
Early in the season freshman Jeff Samardzija and Chinedum Ndukwe showed a lot of promise and both saw action as wide-outs. Lately their playing time has been reduced, and we asked Coach Miles about this, "Well, you know it's like all things, sometimes freshmen hit a wall a little bit. But they've really fought through it and they're going to continue to get more and more time. What a lot of people don't notice is that they play a lot on special teams and they're going to get more and more reps as we keep going."
The Irish receiving corps has been led by McKnight, Stovall, and Jenkins but there are a couple of talented young guys, Chase Anastasio and Ambrose Wooden, who are highly regarded and we questioned Coach about their progress, "They both are doing a great job. They were a little dinged up coming out of two-a-days. We haven't played them because we didn't want to waste a year for them, but they've done a great job of developing every day and getting better and better. They're giving our defense a great look. They're two very promising young men."
We also asked the Miles about Omar Jenkins and Maurice Stovall and their contributions so far this season and he informed us that, "Omar has played hard and he has produced some when we asked him to. He does a lot of things that people don't see as far as the blocking and the things within the system. It's not so much that he hasn't done anything, it's more or less that he's done things that you don't see."
"Maurice is not a forgotten man. We haven't forgotten about him. There are times when we try to get him the ball and have been unsuccessful getting it to him. And there have been times when he was a little inconsistent. He has a bright future and that future is right now and look for him to have a great rest-of the season."
We asked Miles what Maurice is working on to become a more consistent receiver and he told us, "Like all of them, not just Maurice, they have to work on the fundamentals and techniques. And they just have to get better each day. People don't realize that he's still young, and he is growing in the system, and he is improving each week in just the basic fundamentals and techniques."
We concluded our visit with Coach Miles by asking him if he is pleased with the play of the wide receivers so far this season and he answered, "I think we've had our moments. We've been a little inconsistent at times, but they've given good effort and tried real hard and done some good things - and some things we wish they could do better."
There is no doubt the Irish have the wide receivers that have shown the capability to make plays, but as Coach Miles mentioned, their play has been inconsistent. With this said, we think the receiving corps is in good hands and great performances are on the horizon.