August 3 practice blog

The big news out of Army’s practice was a key player being held out of the third preseason session.

Sophomore quarterback Chris Carter did not participate in the team session due to hamstring tightness.

In speaking with coach Jeff Monken, it seems like he’s erring on the side of the caution with Carter. Carter, who started the final two games last season, and junior Ahmad Bradshaw are the only experienced quarterbacks on Army’s roster and are in competition to be the starter.

“What we can’t afford is have it pull and be something that is a tear or deep pull where he’s out for extended period of time,” Monken said. “He’s fine. We are going to give him some rest to make sure he get him to the gate.”

For more on Carter’s injury, read my blog.

Army finished its practice with 30-yard, 15-yard and 5-yard sprints as punishment for some pushing and shoving between the offense and defense following a one-on-one Fourth Quarter Warriors drill between tackle Tyler Young and defensive Sam Johnson.

Several coaches blew their whistles, ending the “Bull-in-the-Ring” competition when Young and Johnson went to the turf. The scuffle continued over the two players.

Monken scolded the team for its selfishness after players were separated. He emphasized how a skirmish like that could cost Army a 15-yard penalty and possible ejections in a game. The coach told his players in their final team huddle that he, “loved their intensity,” and that Army needs that intensity from when the ball is snapped to whistle, signaling a play dead. Any extracurriculars after the whistle are a waste of energy, Monken said.

“Snap to whistle, you hope guys play this game to where they are just a millimeter away from going to blows but they don’t,” Monken told me after practice. “That’s how hard they are playing that’s the intensity you have to have. When the whistle blows, you are able to turn the switch off, get in the huddle, get in the next play and as soon as the ball is snapped, you play with that fire again. It takes a great deal of self-discipline. It’s hard to do but it’s something we are trying to get accomplished. They want to compete and I don’t want to discourage that.

“That’s the fine line you walk as a coach. You don’t want to discourage guys from being intense, fired up and wanting to compete. But, you also don’t want it to carry over after the whistle blows and certainly not against your teammates.”

Senior RB Joe Walker on scuffle: “We got a lot of fire and energy and there’s a little bit of competition. Of course, it’s friendly. Coach is right. All that energy that we had after that whistle should have been handled in between the whistles. The same time, we have to realize that we are all on the same team. He (Monken) made some pretty good points. We should help those guys up and then celebrate with the guys. It’s a lesson learned. It’s happens. It’s football.”

Junior G Mike Houghton on scuffle: “It’s a bunch of guys getting competitive. It’s the first time we put on pads since the spring. We got plenty of time to fix that and plenty of time to hit too.”

The following players did not participate in practice: senior DE Jordan Smith, sophomore QB Luke Langdon, sophomore SB Christian Drake, senior lineman Lofi Tamasese. Sophomore guard Victor Nieves has not attended the first three practice but is still on the team.

Freshmen update: Trey Neville, listed as a tight end on the roster, is now playing tackle. Kjetil Cline was working with the wide receivers. Michel Toure, who played at Army Prep last fall, is also working with the receivers. Toure is not listed on Army’s online roster. Nick Steinhaus, listed as a tight end on the roster, is playing nose tackle.

Roster updates: Punter Tim Garner, kicker Avery Walas and wide receiver Daniel McFadden are still with the team after finishing spring practice.

First-team offense: QB Ahmad Bradshaw; FB Andy Davidson; SB John Trainor; SB Jordan Asberry; SB Joe Walker; WR Edgar Poe; WR Jeff Ejekam; LT Colby Enegren; LG Justin Gilbert; C Bryce Holland/Josh Boylan; RG Mike Houghton; RT Brett Toth

First-team defense: DE John Voit; NT Ray Wright; DE Eddy Ruzga; LB Alex Aukerman; LB Kenneth Brinson; LB Andrew King; LB Jeremy Timpf; CB Brandon Jackson; CB Steven Johnson; S Rhyan England; S Xavier Moss

Coming up: Check later this week for my feature on junior center Josh Boylan. Boylan set a football weight-room record with three dead lifts of 572 pounds this summer. Army’s starting center will come down to Boylan and junior Bryce Holland. Monken said the player, who doesn’t start, will play guard and possibly be among the team’s top two at that position.

Practice observations: Freshman quarterbacks Kelvin Hopkins and Malik McGue worked with the big team. McGue showed impressive quickness on a few runs. Hopkins completed a pass over the middle to sophomore slotback Tyler Campbell… Somehow, senior Edgar Poe caught a pass from Ahmad Bradshaw in between three defenders near the sideline…Poe also hauled in a deep pass from Bradshaw…Cornerback Zach Scott got inside position and knocked away a pass intended for Campbell…Offensive coordinator Brent Davis wasn’t happy with his unit’s precision near the end of practice and he let his players know about it. Davis said the offense had made six mistakes (including fumbles). “We talked about flipping our record,” Davis shouted. “We can’t make those kind of mistakes.” Then, Davis blew his whistle for up-downs…Senior slotback Joe Walker had a couple of physical runs on the edge…Senior kicker Mitchell Howard connected from 31 yards out…Joey Benden completed a nice pass in the flat to slotback Dejoun Lee during the freshmen portion of practice…Freshman guard Jaxson Deaton and Jake Baumert, who both played at Army Prep last fall, are massive. Deaton, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds, particularly stood out.

VIDEO: Freshmen Fourth-Quarter Warriors

VIDEO: Sophomore LB Alex Aukerman picks up quick win in Bull in the Ring drill

VIDEO: Freshman LB Ryan Grady working on his footwork and drive

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

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