Ellick Ready For Leadership Role

Senior cornerback Dwight Ellick is a projected starter for the upcoming season. He saw considerable playing time in 2003 including seven starts. He had a big game against Southern Cal with nine tackles and was credited with knocking down a pass. Ellick will again be a mainstay on special teams. Irish Eyes caught up with Dwight as the Irish finished practice on Saturday.

The great weather today had the Irish players smiling and Dwight Ellick remarked, "It felt good to be out there," said Ellick. "As for the practice itself he thought, It could have been better but over-all it was good. The intensity was pretty good and we showed a lot of support for everyone that was out there."

When we questioned Ellick about the scrimmage portion of practice, he stated, "It wasn't the best scrimmage we have had but it was still pretty good and I think it was a draw today. Usually the defense is the winner. We won most of the situations. The offense comes out the first couple of plays and makes some good yards and maybe scores. Then the defense responds and really shuts them down. Quick strikes hurt the defense today but as a whole we stopped them pretty good."

We thought we should share with Dwight that one of his offensive teammates clearly stated the offense out performed the defense today. He responded with a big laugh and said "they always say that."

Ellick shared with us that he feels comfortable in the Irish defense, "Some of the younger guys are still trying to catch on to the terminology and everything that goes on with the defense. For myself and for some of the others that have been in this defense for a while, we know what adjustments to make. We know what to do and are at the point where we just react while the young guys have to think what to do."

Being a senior and a veteran brings on added responsibilities and Ellick related that he helps the younger players by, "Pulling them along and supporting them and making sure they are progressing. As long as they are making progress we are going in the right direction. You never stay the same. You either get better or worse. So as long as they keep getting a little better in certain areas everyday, that is a good day."

Every player Irish Eyes has talked with this spring has not been satisfied with his individual progress so far and Ellick feels the same way, "I'm never satisfied with practice. So as a whole I haven't been satisfied with my spring. Coming out of last season as a starting corner I don't feel I am where I should be, so I have a lot of improvement to make this summer. One of the things I need to improve on is recognition. Being able to recognize formations, splits, what to expect and things like that."

We asked this veteran how he would rate his spring performance using a scale of 1-10. "With ten being the highest, I'm probably a six and a half or seven. I feel coming off last season as a starter, I should be a nine or ten. I am not there so I'm a little disappointed."

During his time at Notre Dame there has been more than one change in the secondary coaching staff and this season Coach Wilks is the new man. We asked him to give us his impression of his new mentor. "One of the things I like about Coach Wilks, and I have had a good relationship with all my db coaches, I noticed when I was a younger guy that when I did something wrong the coaches would get on me for it but the older guys would do the same thing and the coaches wouldn't say anything. Coach Wilkes is completely the opposite. He doesn't care who you are or how many games you started or how good you're playing. If you do something wrong he is going to get on your case and everybody is going to know you did something wrong.

"He is a lot more hands-on and the younger guys are learning a lot more because of the way he is teaching. He is definitely a techniques coach and he always says, if you are going to do something wrong at least have your technique right. So if you know your technique is right and you're in the right place, usually you will do something right. And, if your technique is sloppy you will probably do something wrong."

In addition to cornerback, Ellick is an experienced special team's player and laughingly stated, "I'll be starting on punts, punt returns and I'll be deep on kick-off returns."

Irish Eyes will not be surprised if Dwight Ellick is a major contributor in the Irish secondary this season and we look forward to the excitement he will bring to the special teams.

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