Sept. 23 practice blog

Injuries continue to mount on the offensive line.

Senior tackle Ryan Alexander, who has played every snap this season, was banged up in practice and questionable for Saturday’s game at Eastern Michigan.

If Alexander can’t play, senior Justin Gilbert would get the start at right tackle. Gilbert started the first two games at left guard and was the starting right guard and shifted to left tackle for 10 plays against Wake Forest last week.

Army is getting thin at tackle. Senior Drew Hennessy will missed his fourth game with an ankle injury. Sophomore Brett Toth, who started the first two games at right tackle, didn’t practice Wednesday and will likely miss his second straight game with an ankle injury.

Sophomore guard Mike Houghton is slated to make his first start of the season. Sophomore Jaryn Villegas, who started at right guard the first two games, is out with an ankle injury.

“We will trot somebody out there in a white jersey with black numbers on it,” Monken kidded about the injuries to the offensive line.

When asked how long it takes an offensive line to gel, Monken said, “Evidently, two days the way we’ve been going.We get (a player) hurt and have to fire guys in there. They have to come together quick. You hope that you develop a cohesiveness in that meeting room with all those guys that no matter who goes into the game, they can all play together.”

Junior slotback Joe Walker was limited in practice. Walker has battled turf toe since the preseason.

“The durability comes into play there,” Monken said. “Just pounding on it all day long and all week long in practice and you have to practice if you are going to play. That position is a little banged up.”

Freshman Tyler Campbell has returned from injury this week but is still not 100 percent, Monken said. Freshman Christian Drake, who scored his first career touchdown last week, has a sore shoulder. Sophomore John Trainor has played through a thumb injury since the preseason.

“We have some work to do to get those guys healthy,” Monken said.

Freshman Spencer Sheff could get his first carries of the season this week as Army tries to get more production from its fullbacks.

“We are going to play more of those guys and give them a chance to carry the ball and try to find the guy that we think can carry the load and get most of the carries,” Monken said. “(Sheff) has practiced a lot more at fullback. He’s been a special teams guy. He is a good football player. We are going to see who is the guy that emerges from the group and does the best.”

Monken was non-committal on his field goal kicker for Saturday. Senior Dan Grochowski missed a 39-yarder against Wake Forest.

“We have to make those field goals,” Monken said. “He’s fighting for that job just like everybody is fighting for their job every week. If he practices well, we will keep him there. If somebody else practices better, we may have somebody else kicking field goals.”

Senior Cale Brewer and junior Mitchell Howard made their field goals late in practice.

Safety Rhyan England, safety Xavier Moss and linebacker Kenneth Brinson had interceptions against the scout team.

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

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