July 29 practice blog: They’re Back

Army football is back.

The Black Knights opened the fourth preseason camp under coach Jeff Monken Saturday. Well, more than half of the Black Knights did. Monken said the freshmen class, which numbered 82 players in an academy press release, will report to camp Sunday and have their first practice as a class Monday.

Army’s upperclassmen will practice separately from the freshmen until next Saturday, August 5, when the full team will be united. In the past, a handful of more advanced freshmen have practiced some with Army’s seniors, juniors and sophomores.

Saturday was a helmets-only practice. Practice was a mix of mostly individual positional work with some 1-on-1s and 7-on-7s.

The Black Knights ended their first preseason practice with their traditional Fourth Quarter Warriors competition. This edition has six members of offense and six members of the defense pairing up. One teammate had to lift and drop a 65-pound medicine ball over the hurdle to his teammate’s side. The teammate had to lift the medicine ball back over the hurdle and drop it on the other side. The offense’s winning team was Malik Hancock, Christian Hayes, Alex Herndon, Quinten Parker, Michel Toure and Noah Utley.

Senior tackle Brett Toth said being named to the Outland Trophy watch list is humbling but he would not have received the honor with Army’s success running the football last season. The Black Knights ranked second in the nation, averaging 339.4 yards per game. Toth  was rated one of the country’s top run blockers in 2016.

“When you have the second-ranked rushing offense in the nation, you have to look at someone on the offensive line especially with the guy next to me, (right guard) Mike Houghton,” Toth said. “I’m extremely honored to be talked about on the Outland Trophy watch list but I still look up to the guys around me.”

First-team defense: DE John Voit; NT Andrew McLean; DE Wunmi Oyetuga; LB Alex Aukerman; LB Kenneth Brinson; LB Scott Washle; LB James Nachtigal; CB Elijah Riley; CB Jalen Sharp; S Rhyan England; S Jaylon McClinton

Number changes: Senior safety Rhyan England (8) and sophomore slotback Kell Walker (5) have kept their spring football numbers. England was 20 and Walker 32 last season. Sophomore linebacker Donavan Lynch is now No. 11; sophomore fullback Connor Slomka (No. 25); junior linebacker Chandler Ramirez (No. 29); sophomore defensive end Amadeo West (No. 42); sophomore tackle Alex Herndon (No. 60) and sophomore wide receiver Kjetil Cline (No. 82). Junior cornerback Mike Reynolds, who has returned to the team after stepping away in the spring, is wearing No. 10.

Asked Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk before shooting a video if Army’s junior fullback tandem had a nickname. Nothing that has stuck yet. Might have to start Twitter poll.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for images from Army’s first preseason practice.

VIDEO: Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk give their thoughts on the first preseason practice

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Sound Cloud @salinterdonato. For Army coverage on Facebook, here’s the link.

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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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