Linbacker Corey Mays has waited patiently for his chance to play significant minutes for the Irish. The 6-1, 243-pound Chicago native has played sparingly his first three years while at Notre Dame. We expect that to change this season with Mays seeing a lot of time at linebacker for the Irish this season.
"I think the camp is really going good so far," Mays said of fall camp. "There is not much different in this camp than last year's as each year you try to be more consistent and get better with every practice. You always have to work on learning the plays and your responsibilities.
"As a college player, you are always learning new things, and you grow physically and mentally. Basically, everything I work on is something I need to improve on."
The senior psychology major has been getting a lot of reps with the injury to starting weak-side backer Brandon Hoyte. Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham has been very pleased with what he's seen of Mays this season."Corey Mays is having a good camp, especially with the absence of Bryan Hoyte," Willingham said.
"This has created an opportunity for him to get a lot more playing time, but we had anticipated Corey would be right in the pack with our other three linebackers, Goolsby, Hoyte and Curry."
Earlier in the camp, starting strong-side backer Derek Curry told Irish Eyes that Mays would be the surprise of the linebacker corps and would be on the field a lot. When we told Mays this he responded, "Derek was my host on my official visit here and to hear he said that is a great inspiration for me.
"But at the same time, I think everyone at the linebacker position is going to surprise people. The competition is always fierce at a big school, especially like Notre Dame. You have to be prepared to bring your A game every day."
The two-time monogram winner credits his family and teammates for the motivation to be successful. "It's my family. They always support me and want me to do my best," he said.
"Basically all the linebackers have helped me to improve. There are other teammates that influence you, but the backers help most because you are with them every day."
Being a team player and willing to do anything to win and get playing time, the versatile backer is happy to be on special teams.
"Special teams are a big part of the game, and I just want to fill any role the coaches ask me to so I can help the team," Mayes stated.
Irish Eyes believes this intelligent and vastly improved player will have a big role at linebacker this season. He realizes the opportunity to be an important part of the defense is at hand and is determined to make the most of this chance. We expect to see a lot of Corey Mays on the field in 2004.