Rice week: Monken presser, injury updates

As soon Jeff Monken finished his postgame press conference following a 28-13 win at Temple Friday night, the Army coach was asked for the password to his iPad.

Game film from the victory was loaded up on his iPad for the bus ride back to West Point.

Monken took the front seat of the bus and enjoyed some Mission BBQ.

“By the time I got my fingers all cleaned off, I was ready to watch the film and I watched it all the way back,” Monken said.

The time to celebrate Army’s first season-opening road win since 2010 was over. It was time for focus on Rice, Army’s opponent for its home opener Saturday.

Monken said he received texts, emails and voicemails from family members, coaching friends, former players and former West Point coaches on the win.

“Everybody that really cares about and cares about Army football were sending those messages,” Monken said.

For as physical as the Temple game was, Army escaped its season opener with limited injuries.

“We are fairly healthy,” Monken said. “We had one guy pull a hamstring on the last kickoff and one guy hurt his shoulder. I don’t know if he will be ready or not…But, nobody else. We didn’t have a M*A*S*H unit.”

Monken said senior guard Justin Gilbert, who played all 72 snaps against Temple, sat out practice and iced his knee. Sophomore lineman Rick Kurz, who played 42 snaps in a reserve role, may practice for half of Tuesday’s practice, Monken said.

“There’s just guys we have to do some maintenance on to make sure that we keep them healthy throughout the year,” Monken said.

Nothing frustrates Monken more on special teams than a blocked kick. Temple, which led the nation with five blocks last season, recorded their first of 2016 against Army when Sharif Finch deflected Nick Schrage’s first career punt attempt.

“That was really disappointing,” Monken said. “I hate to see a kick blocked…”The way our punt protection scheme is designed, we had it protected good enough. We directional kick and the punter frankly got pushed over a little to his right with the snap. He stepped straight ahead instead of stepping to the direction that he was supposed to kick it and the guy got a piece of the ball.

“His (Schrage’s) second punt was a good punt on their end. That was his first college football game. I’m sure he was a little nervous. You get out there once and you have a chance to settle in.”

A few updates on players, who missed the Temple game:

Senior defensive end Jordan Smith (undisclosed injury), “is going to be out for a while, ” Monken said. “I don’t anticipate that he’s going to ready until after the break, maybe for the Duke game (Oct. 8).”

Junior slotback John Trainor is questionable. “Maybe, this week,” Monken said. “Not sure. Probably not likely. Would love to get him back. He got hurt in the scrimmage that we played on the last Friday (August 26). It’s a fairly fresh wound.”

VIDEO: Army coach Jeff Monken on facing Rice for the third consecutive year

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

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