Spring has Sprung

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

While it's 33° in West Point with the prospect of flurries, the Black Knights kick off their 2010 campaign today as the Black knights begin spring football.

Sal Interdonato again has the scoop.

Why is Army practicing so early?

Army usually starts spring practice in March, but Ellerson wants to give some of his players a chance to compete in other sports at West Point.

"The idea is to take advantage of the fact that we have the Foley Center," Ellerson said. "Most of spring ball will be done before spring break. Then we will have our spring game (March 26) when we come back. By that time, we'll have more than a handful of guys over time that will be doing track and field.

"Right now it's just a handful, but we are going to recruit that way. We will have a couple of guys doing baseball. That's kind of a new adventure for us. We have not done that before. I think it makes a lot of sense at West Point. Guys are going to be competing and keeping score. We value that at every turn. By going early like that, guys won't get pulled in too many directions."

Freshmen Kyler Martin (hurdles), cornerback Brian Cobbs (sprints), receiver Brian Austin (sprints) and linebacker Nick Snoad (throws) are on the track team. Kicker Matt Campbell is a reserve second baseman for Army.

Also mentioned is the 2010 Army football schedule with its notable 4 neutral site games.

Army's 2010 schedule
(all game times TBA)

Sept. 4 at Eastern Michigan

Sept. 11 vs. Hawaii

Sept. 18 vs. North Texas

Sept. 25 at Duke

Oct. 2 vs. Temple

Oct. 9 at Tulane*

Oct. 16 at Rutgers#

Oct. 30 vs. VMI

Nov. 6 vs. Air Force

Nov. 13 at Kent State

Nov. 20 vs. Notre Dame^

Dec. 11 vs. Navy@

* - Louisiana Superdome; # - new Meadowlands Stadium; ^ - Yankee Stadium; @ - Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field

Scout appropriately asks three questions (six with subscription) which Army needs to address in spring ball. For those who forgot or were trying to forget, one of the needs mentioned was the need for a quick slotback.

"A" backs make plays and at Army last year’s slot back starters simply lacked the athleticism and speed needed to generate big plays. Ellerson and his staff are working hard to address this in recruiting.

Of the returning starters Pat Mealy is the best. He is a hard worker, good blocker, runs hard in traffic and lacks only a second gear .He was the only slot back to average over five yards a carry (6.1). Pencil him in as a starter.

The other slot back position is wide open. Jameson Carter's long stride would seem to be a better fit at wide receiver but his inconsistent hands can make him a liability in the passing game. He blocks well and was a big reason for Mealy's 136-yard game against VMI.

Malcolm Brown (5-11 180) is the most talented of the plebes that saw action at slot back last year. However, when put in the starting lineup last year he struggled mightily with the speed of the college game. This spring will give Brown a chance to show he has learned his assignments and just play. Lonnie Liggins is a Pat Mealy clone who also lacks a second gear but should contribute with more practice reps.

The exciting dark horse candidates to emerge as potential playmakers are Greg Cotton and returning slot back Alfred Mc Daniel. Cotton, a 6-0, 195 plebe, was a defensive back that was moved to slot back last year and saw no time from scrimmage. Cotton is one of the fastest players on the team and will get a chance to show this spring if he can translate his speed into production.

Alfred McDaniel had given fans hope that he might be the answer after fall practice before being hurt. The Army track star, who is the two time Patriot League 100 meters champion who had beaten Shun White on the track, showed his rust after not playing since high school and was injured early in year. McDaniel is too small to be an every down back but with his speed he could develop into a change of pace home run threat.

Count on Sal to cover the bases at spring practice and he has done some pieces on Army football recruiting that are worth reading if you're interested in that.



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