April 9 practice blog

Junior cornerback Chris Carnegie practiced for the first time this spring Thursday.

Carnegie, a three-year starter, was working in at a limited basis.

Talking to Carnegie after practice he said that it felt good to return to the field and he complimented fellow cornerbacks Steven Johnson and Jared Rogers for stepping up in his absence. While he was held out of practice, Carnegie said he was doing his best to coach up Army’s cornerbacks on the sideline.

Army coach Jeff Monken said Carnegie had an injury that was nagging him through the 2014 season and had offseason surgery.

The goal is to get Carnegie some live snaps nine days from now in Army’s Black and Gold game on April 18.

“He won’t be in there the entire time,” Monken said. “I trust he knows what to do. We want to get him enough reps so he goes through all of the angles and actions and doesn’t get completely rusty on the physical part. But, we want to keep him healthy and we want to get him where he’s completely healthy and can go through fall camp and he’s still not nursing an injury.”

Fullback update: Junior fullback Matt Giachinta hasn’t taken many reps the past two practices. Monken said Giachinta is banged up and his turns are being held down. “He’s played enough that he knows what to do,” Monken said. “He’s like Carnegie. We just want to give him enough of the physical part so he doesn’t get too rusty. Forecasting to the preseason, Monken said, “there’s merit to both Giachinta and sophomore Aaron Kemper both playing. They’re both capable…If those guys are healthy, that’s a good pair. We don’t have much after that and that’s a concern so hopefully one of those freshman can come in and add some depth there for us.”

Monken mentioned the following players as guys who have stood out so far this spring: “John Voit (freshman defensive end) is getting better every day. He works so hard to improve his fundamentals. You watch him down here with coach Ray McCarthy and he’s working so hard on his fundamentals…(Sophomore fullback Aaron) Kemper has run the ball well. I think he’s done a nice job…(Junior center Matt) Hugenberg is playing better than he did in the fall. Just having played that position for a year, I think he’s a lot more comfortable. I think he’s had a good spring…(Sophomore safety Xavier) Moss has improved tremendously from the first day in that new position…(Junior cornerback) Mike McFadden tries so hard and plays so hard. He’s limited physically. He’s not the fastest guy we got, he’s not the most athletic guy but he tries to do every little thing right and he’s made some plays because of it.”

Practice observations: West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen and Gary Steele, an Army Sports Hall of Famer and former star tight end, attended practice…The defense dominated the early part of the live periods. Sophomore defensive Jordan Smith had a sack. Sophomore cornerback Steven Johnson made a tackle for loss and junior cornerback Mike McFadden picked off Matt Kaufmann…The offense rallied with a big run by sophomore fullback Chasen Brown and a long touchdown run by freshman wide receiver Jermaine Adams. Adams received great downfield blocking by tackle Brett Toth. On the run, wide receivers coach Keith Gaither was sprinting behind Adams. Cale Brewer connected on a 33-yard field goal to end the live session.

During the skelly (skeleton) portion of practice, Kaufmann completed deep passes to Adam Bungum and Edgar Poe, linebacker Justin Fahn had an interception, cornerback Caleb McNeill knocked down a pass intended for Adams…Dan Grochowski hit a 44-yard field goal early in practice…During team work, the offense had a false start on three consecutive plays and completed up-downs after each infraction…Kannapolis (N.C.) junior RB Sandon McCoy visited practice.

Looking ahead: Army will hold its second scrimmage Saturday. The team will have a full-contact practice Tuesday and practices with no tackling to the ground next Thursday and Friday in preparation for the spring game.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter and Periscope @salinterdonato

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