Monday before Navy

Army coach Rich Ellerson met with the media Monday before his team’s service-academy clash against Navy Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Here are some highlights:

Army has closed practice this week. Ellerson still hasn’t announced a starting quarterback, which is part of the reason for the closed practice. Don’t think Army is installing a special offense or defense for this game. Army does have a pistol formation, which it has used sparingly this season.

Maybe fullback Larry Dixon is practicing on defense. Ellerson said Dixon, his starting fullback, “can do almost everything but he is going to be in a club (cast following wrist surgery) and I am not sure how available the doctors are going to allow him to be and what he is going to be able to do.”

Back to Army’s starting quarterback, when talking about junior Angel Santiago battling an ankle injury to start all 11 games, Ellerson said, “That also tells you he’s one of those guys that will fight through a sore ankle because he knows who’s behind him. Angel has a lot of respect. Those two guys (Santiago & A.J. Schurr) are good friends. They compete fiercely against one another. They have a lot of respect for one another. I think the fact they do have that respect for one another keeps them pressing to stay out there because they know if they ever step out of it, it may be hard to get back out there.”

Senior fullback Hayden Tippett is practicing but Ellerson is unsure how much Tippett can play on his injured ankle. Ellerson said if Army played next week Tippett could be back to 100 percent.

Ellerson keeps praising his senior class for keeping the team together during a tough season. “They are a wonderful bunch of guys. They haven’t blinked. They haven’t liked it. They haven’t accepted it but they haven’t quit on each other. They haven’t quit on me. They haven’t quit on their coaches. They are determined to find a way to get over the top. That’s not to say that I haven’t been (ticked) off at them and they haven’t been (ticked) off at each other. We’ve all been fussy but we haven’t fractured at all.”

Ellerson said the amount of injuries that Army has suffered this season is, “a concern because that’s not typical. Someone did a study once upon a time where they looked at those game notes where they list the starters week after week after week and good teams are starting the same guys week after week after week with very few changes in that lineup…

“Teams that have a lot of turnover in that starting 11, that’s not a good sign. That does not correlate with success on the scoreboard. Some of it is unlucky. Dislocated wrists, what does that have to do with anything? We’ve had two (Geoff Bacon and Larry Dixon) of them. We have people that have never seen that. We have guys that haven’t seen one of those in 10 years and we have two of them to key people in a season. Did I do something offensive to a gypsy somewhere along the line? I don’t know. I feel like we are going to try to sneak into the stadium and sacrifice a goat at the 50-yard line.”


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