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.
Sal has a writeup of the practice and includes a peek at what the new uniforms look like....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.”
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...