August 8 practice blog

Jordan Asberry, Tyler Campbell, John Trainor and Joe Walker continue to practice at a high level in the preseason.

Army’s depth at slotback is a nice problem for coach Jeff Monken and offensive coordinator Brent Davis to have.

Asberry, a sophomore, is developing into a dual threat. Campbell, a sophomore, continues to make extraordinary catches, including a one-hand grab near the sideline Monday morning. Trainor, a junior, is capable of a big play every time he touches the ball. Walker is looking for a defender to hit on outside runs.

“I’m just trying to set the precedent for the young guys,” Walker said last week. “Slotbacks, as a group, we want to be physical.  Coach always talks about once you get the ball to shift to another gear and speed up. That’s been my focus in the offseason and one of my biggest sticking points. I want to make sure every time I touch that ball, I’m accelerating and trying to score every time.”

Senior Elijah St. Hilaire and sophomore Christian Drake should also be in the mix. Drake has returned to practicing fully. Freshman Kell Walker has shown some potential early in the preseason.

The following players did not participate in practice: QB Chris Carter; NT Andrew McLean; DE Jordan Smith; C Josh Boylan; TE Zach Saum; G Ethan Palelei; WR Daniel McFadden. Not sure what McLean’s injury is.

Back in action: Senior G Justin Gilbert and sophomore T Rick Kurz have returned to full practice.

Chris Carter update: The sophomore may be held out of practice until next week. Monken said of Carter, who has an hamstring injury, “We hope to get him back next week and ease him back in. It may be sooner. It’s not a serious pull. It’s something that we have to be conscious of because a small injury with a pulled muscle can turn into something that lasts a long time if you are not careful.”

Monken on how junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is progressing with more snaps available in practice: “He’s doing a really good job. He’s doing a nice job with leadership. He’s making some plays. He’s making some plays with his arm. He’s a strong runner, we know that about him. He’s got to keep from making mistakes. He kind of threw the ball into traffic today and he should have pulled it down and ran it. Later on in practice, he let the defense knock it out of his hands, a contact fumble, which we can’t have. He’s got to eliminate those critical errors.

“Bob Keck, the quarterbacks coach at Illinois Wesleyan, used to tell my brother, ‘Tommy, don’t do harm.’ My brother always repeats that. He’s right you can’t hurt the team. You got to take care of the ball and do those little things that help you get to second down and third down and turn the sticks. I have a tremendous amount of confidence that he (Bradshaw) can do that for us. I’m anxious to see Chris come back because I’m confident that he can do that too.”

Depth chart
(from my observations in practice)
First-team offense: QB Ahmad Bradshaw; FB Andy Davidson; SB Jordan Asberry; SB Tyler Campbell; WR Edgar Poe; WR Jeff Ejekam; LT Colby Enegren; LG Justin Gilbert; C Bryce Holland; RG Mike Houghton; RT Brett Toth

Second-team offense: QB Malik McGuee; FB Darnell Woolfolk; SB John Trainor; SB Joe Walker; WR Christian Poe; TE Quinten Parker; LT Rick Kurz; LG Joe Tustin; C Josh Rea; RG Tim Gant; RT Jeff Panara

Third-team offensive line: LT Tyler Young; LG Jaxson Deaton; C Nick Dabbelt; RG Michael Owens; RT Michael Johnson

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.

Second-team defense: DE Wumni Oyetuga; NT Rod Stoddard; DE Chandler Ramirez; LB Gibby Gibson; LB James Nachtigal; LB Calen Holt; LB Scott Washle; CB Marcus Hyatt; CB Michael Reynolds; S Max Regan; S Elijah Riley.

Freshmen progress report: Defensive end Amadeo West got some work in with the “varsity.”

Fourth Quarter Warriors (freshmen blocking and receiving/coverage 1-on-1): Freshmen fullbacks Kevin Hicks and Connor Slomka (videos below) won the last two matchups to give the offense a 6-5 win.

Practice observations: Nose tackle Ray Wright dropped fullback Kevin Hicks in the backfield…Sophomore linebacker Jarrod Jones recovered a fumble…Freshman quarterback Kelvin Hopkins hooked up with freshman tight end Will Huff on a 20-yard catch near the sideline. Huff ran a nice route to beat the defender by two or three steps…Freshman Jaylon McClinton continues to get a look at safety…Mitchell Howard’s 31-yard field goal was not attempted due a fumbled snap…Monken said freshman lineman Connor Simpson was banged up in practice…Linebackers Kenneth Brinson and Ryan Parker were one of the last players to leave the practice field, putting in extra work. Brinson, a sophomore, and Parker, a freshman, are good friends who competed against each other in track meets going back to their youth.

VIDEO: Freshman fullback Connor Slomka holds off freshman linebacker Joe Ryan to win Fourth Quarter Warriors period for offense.

VIDEO: Senior receiver Edgar Poe catches deep pass fro Ahmad Bradshaw

VIDEO: Freshman linebacker Ryan Grady hits the blocking sled

VIDEO: Freshman fullback Kevin Hicks wins 1-on-1 blocking drill against freshman linebacker Cole Christiansen

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

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