Quotes From Two Top Irish Receivers

<P>We've been very busy at practice so far this fall camp and we've ended up with a lot of interviews that we haven't been able to turn into stories at this point due to time. Instead of waiting, we thought we'd just get the quotes out there and keep on going. Here are some quotes from recent interviews with did with wide receivers Rhema McKnight and Jeff Samardzija. </P>

Rhema McKnight

On a ND receiver gaining a 1,000 yards this season:

"With the type of offense we have and the quarterback we have, it's possible that we could have two or three receivers reach 1,000 yards and 50-60 catches."

On dropping his 40 time and player faster:

"I feel like I'm getting up on guys faster, making moves faster and getting in and out of my cuts faster. It helps me a lot."

On blocking being hardest part to learn at wide receiver:

"It's the hardest thing for anyone coming in from high school. In high school, a lot of guys think they're going to run some routes and look pretty, but the thing we really stress is blocking down field for a receiver or a back or whoever has the ball. You won't play here unless you block well."

On what he hopes to accomplish this year:"

"I want to win every game and win the National Championship. That should be the only goal and that's our goal."

On Brady Quinn's progress:

"You can see Brady's making a lot better reads. He's getting the ball out of his hands quicker. He's getting the ball to us right out of our breaks and we're not waiting for it. He's making all the right checks so he's coming along really well."

On being a vocal leader for the wide receiver corps:

"I take things personal. Michigan gave it to us last year, 38-0, and I took that real personal. I hate to lose. I hate allowing a DB getting a shot on me and I take it all personal. I try to lead by example. If I want guys to go harder, I'll go out there and run my routes harder and try to get open and hopefully they'll see that and know what it takes to go out there to be best."

On wide receiver competition and working towards perfection:

"I'm never satisfied. None of us are satisfied. The receivers are always critical of themselves—the whole team is, especially this year. We are all about perfection right now."

Jeff Samardzija

On the difference between camp last year as a freshman and this year.

"It's a lot better situation. Coming in as a freshman, you're just trying to prove yourself. Now it's just going out and trying to improve your skills. You're obviously fighting for a spot, but you've learned a lot so it's just reacting instead of thinking."

On spring ball and his spring game:

"I thought I had a good spring and a good spring game. I'm hoping I can improve this fall and get a spot. Spring really helped me take the next step towards being a good receiver. Our goal as a receiving corps is the best in the country and I think we're all working hard to do that."

On the hardest adjustment from high school to college:

"In high school, I was a lot of just go up and get the ball. I had a little more athletic ability than some and a lot more height. It's the little things, cuts, we have sharper routes, having quicker feet. It's mainly just concentrating on the little things."

On becoming a playmaker.

"Hopefully I'll make the play when my number is called. I need to be a playmaker to get on the field. If I get the chance, I need to make the play. I'm just trying to do what I've got to do. Just being comfortable and knowing where you need to be allows you to become a playmaker and I think that's starting to become easier for me."

On learning how to block:

"It wasn't that big of a transition. It was a little more hard to adjust to the speed of the DB's and how they break on the ball. I'm a big, physical receiver who needs to my body to block some DB's and muscle them up a little bit."

On Brady Quinn and developing a timing with Quinn:

"We've been working on it all summer. We've got a lot of time invested in it. I think that was one of the biggest things we needed to improve on. I think he's doing really well right now and things are starting to really come together."

On playing as a freshman and also playing baseball:

"I went in with the mindset that I was going to do everything I could to help myself succeed in both sports. Freshman football year went great. I only had seven catches, but I look at what I took out of—being on special teams and such. I look at it as a big plus. Baseball was a big plus—that was great. I just felt that was a way to keep my edge. Hopefully I can keep it rolling."

On playing as a freshman and if he thinks that was a good thing for him:

"You hear about it all the time where a freshman red-shirts and he didn't learn anything about our offense because he was learning the other team's offense. I spent the whole year learning our offense and that's helped me so far this year. I was running our plays and our offense and I think that's paid off. I don't see it as a wasted year at all. Stats wasn't a big part of my freshman year--it was the learning."


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