A recent conversation with Navy slotbacks coach Danny O’Rourke:
Q: At this time last year, everything was up in the air with the slotbacks and now it seems like it’s settled a little bit. Who stands out at this stage?
O’Rourke: We have a couple guys who are standing out and doing a good job. I wasn’t coaching the slots last year, but I knew them. We work hand in hand with the wide receivers every day, so I know the guys, I know their work ethic, I know what makes them tick. I have a good feeling of all that.
Gee Gee Greene and Aaron Santiago have played a lot of snaps for us. They’re doing a really good job. Bo Snelson, John Howell are two guys doing a great job for us. Then we have two younger guys in Darius Staten and Marcus Thomas also doing a really good job for us.
Q: Gee Gee was a guy who emerged a lot last year. How much better is he than he was even a year ago?
O’Rourke: He’s got a great grasp of what’s going on, especially in this offense. We do a lot of different stuff with that position – line them up in a lot of different places, lot of different motions, and the more you do it and the more you’re in it, the better it is and easier it is and the more conceptually you can figure things out. He’s definitely done a good job of that.
Q: Just from watching practice, it seems like Snelson and Howell are fiery. What have those guys been doing, and how does that attitude shift into things.
O’Rourke: I think that’s great. This game is such an emotional game and it needs to be played at a high energy and a high tempo and they bring a lot of that to the field. We’re going to get all they’ve got every time they’re out there, which is all you can ask for. I appreciate their energy, appreciate their emotion, appreciate the talking, appreciate just trying to motivate the other guys on the team because it’s a big deal. Everybody can gain from that.
Q: You mentioned that you’d worked with the slots previously. Was it a fairly easy segue for you going from receivers from slots?
O’Rourke: I think it was. I think it would have been a lot tougher just walking in Day One not having any idea what’s going on in the offense and taking over this slot position. Coming from the wide receiver position, it was pretty seamless. Obviously, I’m in the meetings every day with our offensive staff. I know what we’re doing, I know what the slots do. I know conceptually what our thoughts are and what we’re doing on each play.
They’re working hand-in-hand with the wide receivers on every play. There’s a lot of communication between the two positions, so I was on the other side of it and I kind of got a perspective on that. I’m sitting there telling these guys ‘Hey, this is what the wideouts are thinking. This is what route they’re running. This is what they’re doing on this play.’ It can kind of give them maybe a little better understanding of what the play is and what we’re trying to do. I think it was pretty seamless.