Dealing with the Known Quantities

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I got the news first from Danny Wild... Whip LB Andrew Rodriguez will miss the season opener and is out indefinitely.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson said Tuesday that the team’s reigning tackling leader, linebacker Andrew Rodriguez, will miss the season opener this Saturday at Eastern Michigan, and perhaps more.
“Andrew is not going to be available for a while,” Ellerson said, “which is a heartbreak for us and for him, obviously.”

Another great piece from Danny's Wild Life blog- read it and bookmark the site.

Sal says Rodriguez's replacement will be Nate Combs.

Rodriguez has dressed for practice but has not participated in drills. He’s still a big part of the team, mentoring sophomore Nate Combs, who will start at whip linebacker for Rodriguez.
“A-Rod’s been my right-hand man through this whole process,” Combs said. “He’s a technician. He’s making me perfect. Everything I do, he’s making me that player.”

Losing a top linebacker is tough, but I have no doubts about Combs ability to step in and make an impact as whip. If you have to lose a guy, I believe it's better to lose them in the offseason so you can deal with the adversity from day one. When you start the season - particularly with a record like Army's in season openers - your team and personnel is a known quantity. A team may not have all the nuances of their system down pat, but the two-deep is set and having the roster as a known quantity is better than losing a guy mid-stream.

Here's to a speedy recovery for Rodriguez - his abilities will be missed early and he will be needed as the season goes forward.

So Rodriguez is coaching up Combs, and now Pat Mealey is guiding James Holland.

As Year 2 of the Ellerson era starts Saturday at Eastern Michigan, the coaching staff trusts players enough to hand over ownership of the team.
Players have more of a voice in team meetings. Seniors are making sure freshmen remain in the loop.
"We are all focused on what we want to accomplish as seniors," said Jason Johnson, Army's starting right tackle.
That's exactly the reason why I wanted guys like A.J. McGovern to attend West Point this year. Especially along the O-line, there are a lot of guys that have the experience and ability to guide the younger players. I know Ellerson brought a lot of good linemen up from USMAPS, but why save a guy like McGovern when there are so many learning tools available this year?

That is really my only gripe on how the team has been handled heading into 2010... and it's not like the young guys have been neglected. I just want to see more McGovern.

Sal also posted a video interview with Nate Combs, Trent Steelman and Coach Ellerson, another good look at the team's preparedness in case you aren't pumped up for the season yet.


David said...

Regarding McGovern and every other player at USMAPS, it's not the coaching staff's decision as to who goes to USMAPS and who is a direct admit.


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