GM: What happened to your hair? It was a lot longer.
JB: It was…I just wanted to be like you.
GM: Join the crowd.
JB: It’s the new me.
GM: How is the blocking coming?
JB: We haven’t done a whole lot of that, but we will start up tomorrow when we get pads on. I think blocking is one of those things – if you want to do it, you can do it. And if you don’t want to do it, you are not going to do it. So I’m going to work as hard as I can to work on cut blocking.
GM: Do you think that is going to be your biggest challenge?
JB: Well, it could be. I thought that when we worked on blocking in the spring, I did alright. Every year that I’ve been here my goal has been to get stronger and I think I have. And I think that is going to help me with blocking for sure. It’s going to be tough but [blocking] is one of the most important things an A-back does, so I better be good at it if I want to play.
GM: Kaipo is one of the most popular players, at least with fans, on the team. Were you surprised you were named captain instead of him?
JB: I was surprised. Going into it, we all voted and I really didn’t think it was going to be me. As far as playing wise, I haven’t played a whole lot. I only have one full game as a starter under my belt. But it’s an honor to be the captain.
GM: Has it changed your relationship at all with Kaipo?
JB: Yeah. They usually don’t put us together because we start fighting. You know we are not friends at all. (Laughs) No, it hasn’t changed our relationship at all. Every senior on this team has a leadership role. It just so happens that I’m going to be out there for the coin toss. There are definitely some extra responsibilities for sure, I’ve already seen that.
GM: What position is the strength of this team?
JB: Quarterback, of course.
GM: Not Slot back?
GM: Too late, you said quarterback.
GM: Rashawn King decided to be a plebe summer squad leader – was there a part of you that said, better him than me?
JB: Definitely. Squad leader during plebe summer is the toughest job to take, but it is probably the most rewarding. But if anyone was going to do it, it was Rashawn. He is just an incredible person. I’m sure he did a great job. I know he did. I know the three football players who were squad leaders had the top three times on the o-course. I’m sure they were all great squad leaders.
GM: I’m sure they probably showed up to camp in pretty good shape, right?
JB: Yeah, when we were running the PRT, Rashawn was running backwards helping some guys to finish. He’s a stud.
GM: Any game in particular you are looking forward to the most on the schedule? Even more than Towson? How about a winning streak against Notre Dame?
JB: That would be cool, but I’m going to hurt your feelings and say Towson.
GM: What about Air Force? A lot of publications say this is the year they are going to beat you?
GM: What was your reaction when you heard Caleb Campbell had to go back to serving in the Army full-time?
JB: I thought he handled it very well. He said that he has a great opportunity to be an Army officer. It’s a shame he got a taste of it and now they are pulling him back. I guess that’s the life you sign up for when you sign on the dotted line.
GM: Clint Sovie told me earlier that he thinks Eric Kettani thinks he is NFL material. Do you agree?
(Editor’s Note: An unnamed player in the background responds –“Eric Kettani thinks he is a model.”)
JB: Eric is a great player. I think he could play in the NFL, but don’t tell him I said that. (Laughs)
GM: Now that Reggie Campbell and Zerbin Singleton are gone, do you think there will be a target on your back? Everyone is going to know who you are. You aren’t going to be able to hide anymore.
SW: I think coming into the season since we are playing a lot of the same teams – with Reggie and Zerb gone – they are going to be keying on me. Reggie and Zerb - those are some big shoes to fill. I’ve been playing behind those guys since I’ve been here. Still to this day, I look up to them. They are two of the greatest guys. A lot of teams are going to try and key on me but they need to be careful because we have a lot of young guys stepping up behind me…Andre Byrd, Bobby Doyle and Greg Shinego – guys who have played in the past. It’s a great opportunity for us on offense.
GM: One name you didn’t include in that list was Jarod Bryant. What was your reaction when you heard he was moving to slot back?
SW: I was kind of excited…and surprised. Jarod is a great player. Like Coach said, you have to get him on the field somehow. I don’t know how much he will play with Kaipo (at quarterback). It will be great when I come off the field knowing there will be someone going on the field that the coaches can trust with the ball. I have no doubt when Jarod gets in the game, he will make things happen.
GM: Is it fair to say that blocking may be his toughest challenge?
SW: It will probably because he hasn’t done it. The cut block gives everybody trouble the first time around. I had trouble with it the first time at NAPS. You just have to learn it. I don’t think he will struggle with it much. It’s actually kind of fun.
GM: If you and Reggie were doing 40-yard dashes right now, would you beat him?
SW: I don’t know. Reggie is fast. On scout day, he ran a sub 4.3 – that’s pretty fast. But I worked out with Reggie everyday this summer, and he got me in good shape. I think a lot of my 4.36 time came from him just pushing me. When you run with a guy just as fast as you, or faster, it makes you work harder.
GM: A lot of people are excited about Andre Byrd. They look at him and see the possibility of another Reggie Campbell. Do you think that comparison is crazy or is there any merit to that?
SW: Andre definitely has the moves. (Pauses) If you get him in open space with the ball, he will make you miss. He’s pretty quick for a little guy. When he gets the ball in his hands, you never know what is going to happen. He played a lot beside me this past spring and I was really impressed with his progress. He worked hard over the summer in the workout. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with what he can do on the field.
GM: Even though you won’t be taking part in the game, what was your reaction when you saw that Navy will be opening up against Ohio State in 2009?
SW: I wish it was 2008. To play in front of a crowd like that…in that type of atmosphere…it’s crazy. It’s kind of like playing in Notre Dame, but there is something about Ohio State that makes it different.
GM: If there is one position that is the strength of this team, what is the position?
SW: Slot back.
GM: But Jarod Bryant said that the quarterbacks are the strength of the team…
SW: He did? No way - the A’s make plays… [Jarod] will learn that.
GM: Do you think Caleb Campbell was NFL material when you went up against him?
SW: He plays with a hard motor. It was hard to block him sometimes and I would say that he was NFL material. I just hate to see that he had to come back [out of NFL camp]. I know it was hard for him, but he is a great guy. He is a hard nosed guy. He is a great player. I was pretty excited to see him get drafted. I was pretty excited to see him get that chance to see what he could do at the next level.
GM: Who is the spokesperson between the two captains?
K: Jarod – definitely Jarod.
GM: Clint actually called him a pretty boy, is that accurate?
K: Of course, look at him. He’s Mr. Alabama. That’s never gonna leave him. Look at him.
GM: Do you think plebes should be forced to do more chow calls or chop faster if they can’t pronounce your head coach’s last name? Should there be a punishment for that?
K: I don’t think so. I think that is wrong.
GM: You are not going to make the plebes in your squad pronounce your head coach’s last name correctly?
K: They won’t be able to pronounce my last name correctly.
GM: But you have a nickname, he doesn’t.
K: We’ll work on that.
GM: Do you think you will be doing a lot of pumping up of opponent’s fans like you did in Notre Dame last year? Are you going to go into Ball State, and right off the bat, just get their fans into the game?
K: I don’t know. That is kind of a spur of the moment thing. I didn’t really think about what I was doing until it was done. But we will see what happens.
GM: What game are you really looking forward to?
K: Towson - it really is Towson…but in the next two weeks, we just want to beat the defense…the Navy defense [in practice].
GM: What is the positional strength of this team?
K: Quarterbacks, of course.
GM: Jarod said quarterbacks too. Is that kind of funny, coming from a slot back?
K: He’s a quarterback – he’s a quarterback at heart.
GM: What do you think of his blocking ability?
K: The kid can hit.
GM: Is it better that he is a slot back and not you?
K: Definitely, because I can’t hit.
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