Game Speed

Friday, August 27, 2010

Army practiced full speed today and posted this Q&A with co-defensive coordinator Payam Sadaat.There are some good questions in there, definitely a must read. With the level of optimism as high as it is, you can understand that the stakes are high starting with week 1.


...what are your concerns going into the Eastern Michigan game?
“You’re always concerned because you don’t know quite what to expect, and first games are usually that way. We need to focus on the things we can control. We need to focus on playing hard, playing fast, winning the turnover battle and possessing the football.”

How has Stephen Anderson come back from his injury this fall, both physically and mentally?
“Steve is full speed, and I think he’s good mentally. He doesn’t think about the knee or favor the knee. I don’t think he’ll ultimately be as comfortable on the field next Saturday as he would be if he went through spring ball. Steve has his game, and he knows how he’s supposed to play his game. He has to do that in a hurry on Saturday. He can’t wait and come out in game two or game three. He has to make his presence known from the first snap.”

....what are your biggest concerns entering the first game?
“We have to stay healthy. The first team is good. The first team is a great bunch of guys. They have to fight to stay healthy, and they have to fight to keep their minds right. That’s huge. We have to make sure we help them with that and teach them how to do that week to week.”
 Sal has a writeup of the practice and includes a peek at what the new uniforms look like.

The also answered one of the late summer questions for the defense... what about Andrew Rodriguez?
 

Currently, sophomore Nate Combs is playing Rodriguez’s whip linebacker position. But Army coach Rich Ellerson may have some flexibility. Senior middle linebacker Kingsley Ehie’s continued development could be the key and shift Army captain Stephen Anderson from middle linebacker to whip.
“Kingsley is a big piece to that,” Ellerson said. “He can jump in there and that frees up Stephen to do some different things that’s he done in the past.”

I love the versatility shown by the Black Knights as a whole, the team is experienced - but the season may come down to how deep the team is. Despite the questions around Rodriguez, Army's defense is in pretty good shape.


We can add Lombardi watch list to Josh McNary's preseason accolades.

When the Rotary Lombardi Award Committee released its preseason watch list. The Rotary Lombardi Award is presented annually to the top down lineman, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who sets up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.

McNary is also on the watch list for the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the 2010 Lott Trophy. Both awards honor the top defensive player in the nation.

Lets all just get through this week healthy for the season opener...

Administrative Issues

Thursday, August 26, 2010

 The official blogpoll is now out. Through the course of the season I will post two (2) blogpoll entries weekly. Sometime on Sunday or Monday I will post a rough draft of my top 25, When the blogpoll is aggregated I will post my ballot and the official top 25. This way I hope to avoid any confusion as to which blogpoll post is which... 2 per week max. Sunday or Monday and whenever the Top 25 is released. 

I hope to add the blogpoll members into my list of links, and I'll probably get around to doing that sometime before next week.

I've got the new Playbooks tab up and running up above. I see so many search hits for wildcat offensive plays and defenses for the unbalanced line (hint: there is no defense against The Unbalanced Line) that I saw an opportunity for more cool content©. I have linked to a number of online football playbook sites and I've attached some notable playbooks to the page. If you came to the site looking for some wrinkles to add to your team's playbook check out the Playbooks tab, there are links to a ton of playbooks.
That's about it for issues with the site. I might add a paypal button if anyone wants to donate to the betterment of the site, but that just isn't a priority right now.

Let's hold on for one more week and we'll be at the dawn of a new football season. Thanks to all for sticking with me through the long off season, just like you I'm looking forward to football!

Football Notes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The AP was due for an Army football story, and talks about the expectations for 2010.

Ellerson expects more this season, and he's not alone.

"The offense in general has made leaps and bounds since last year," senior offensive tackle Jason Johnson said. "The cohesion level is much better than it was last year. It feels like everyone is on the same page and knows what they're doing. There is a lot more trust in the huddle."

Sal takes a look at Tuesday's practice and notes that Trent Steelman's back in action.

Speaking of Steelman, the sophomore quarterback practiced fully for the first time in a week. Steelman looked good, connecting on a 45-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver George Jordan. And no Army quarterback runs the option better than Steelman. He looks at least two steps faster to a hole than the other Army quarterbacks.

Junior Max Jenkins, who looks like he’s won the backup job over senior Chip Bowden, hit freshman Anthony Stephens on a 35-yard pass.


Steve Anderson's hometown paper offers up a profile piece on Army's senior captain

The Damascus High graduate will take the field for Army's opener at Eastern Michigan for the second straight season as the starting middle linebacker and team co-captain. That was in doubt after a November knee injury.

In the late stages of a blowout loss to the Air Force Academy, Anderson, in the midst of a career-best 16-tackle performance, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. After sitting out spring practice for rehabilitation, Anderson says he is 100 percent and returned for fall camp to his customary place at the heart and soul of the Black Knights defense.

"I'm able to cut and explode," Anderson said. "I haven't missed a tackle yet. ... I don't see any problems."


That's some of the best news I heard this offseason. Having Anderson healthy is of highest importance for Army's chances to make a bowl game. To date the worst offseason news involved non-health-related loss of athletes to attrition. I kind of wish Chip Bowden was in position to be a factor on the field, but considering Anderson's recovery from a similar surgery, we could be seeing that the QB position is benefiting from some genuine depth.

Full Speed, No Contact

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Danny Wild has an absolute must read regarding Army's Aug 21st practice. He talks a little bit about Trent Steelman's injury, about some of the players who were held out of the practice and even has some exclusive video of yesterday's practice. Wild always brings original content and his photos are spectacular. Some of his photos from the practice were featured as a photo album on Go Army Sports. If you don't already check his site for Army football news, I implore you to do so,

Go Army Sports has a practice report from yesterday's action. The practice went at full speed with no contact, and you kind of get the feeling that the Army staff is happy with where the starting team is at this point. From Coach Ellerson:

“It’s the first week of classes, and they’ve had a demanding week of practice. We’ve really made some gains. We’re trying to set ourselves up for another great week leading into game week. We necessarily watched the number of physical reps for the veteran guys and let the younger guys scrimmage. We experienced some things in the kicking game and some things on the sideline from a communications standpoint that we haven’t done yet. We got a lot of stuff done even though you don’t like the tempo. We’re used to such a high tempo in our practice environment it’s awkward for all of us to have so many people standing around watching a handful of guys work, but again, we were trying to experience some things that we don’t want to be a stranger to on Saturdays.”

 Things are moving along, and the season coming up very soon. I find it funny how my confidence in my two favorite teams ebbs and flows... when I'm high on Pitt I can be very skeptical about Army's gridiron chances
... when I look at some of the experience that Army has returning on defense and under center I sort of wish Pitt had more pieces. The thing is, I'm never high on both teams at the same time. Hopefully that will change by the time week 1 rolls around.

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