Calen Holt stood just a few inches from fullback Mike Viti during the Army’s Black & Gold spring game.
Holt couldn’t wait to hear his name called again. The sophomore logged close to 20 carries at his new position Saturday.
During the offseason, Holt, a linebacker his first two seasons at West Point, met with Army coach Jeff Monken and requested a change to offense. Holt, a special teams standout, played in some defensive passing packages last year.
“I felt like I needed a new scene for myself and just a fresh start,” said Holt, who had four tackles in Army’s Heart of Dallas Bowl win over North Texas in December. “I thought my skills would be able to fit well on the other side of the ball. It was really open to whatever position it was. I really liked when coach moved me to fullback.”
Growing up in Hawaii, Holt was primarily a defensive player. He played some wide receiver. But, Holt never carried the ball as running back/fullback until this spring. Couldn’t tell with the way that Holt has excelled this spring. Holt has learned to take the first hit, keep moving the pile and gain yards after contact.
“Every day, I want to learn more,” Holt said. “Coach Viti is a really good inspiration. He’s a really good coach helping us out…Coach (Viti) always has us on the same level. We all have our own things to work on.”
Holt took advantage additional snaps while Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk, Army’s top two fullbacks, were banged up this spring. Monken cited Holt and freshman fullback Connor Slomka on a list of players that have made the most improvement this spring.
“I was really impressed with him (Holt) and Slomka,” Monken said. “They were just a 1-2 punch with Andy a little banged up and Woolfolk out. It was fun to watch those guys play. They were playing hard and really competing.”
Holt admitted he felt a little out of breath during the scrimmage. He went to sidelines, favoring his right leg after one run. Trainers examined Holt and cleared his return.
“There was a second wind at the end of a drive,” Holt said. “You are like, ‘Alright, two more yards and a first down.’ It was just refreshing…It’s a new experience for me and I’m really enjoying it for as long as I can.”
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