August 23 practice blog: Woolfolk leads fullback stable, O-line update, Ejekam status

Darnell Woolfolk will be listed as the starting fullback on Army’s depth chart for its season opener against Fordham on September 1.

Coach Jeff Monken said Woolfolk, a junior, has followed up a strong spring with an impressive preseason. Woolfolk averaged 10 carries a game as the No. 2 fullback behind Andy Davidson last season and produced, rushing for 600 yards and nine touchdowns.

As for No. 2 on the fullback on the depth chart, Monken said Davidson, sophomore Connor Slomka and junior Calen Holt, “have all done really well in this camp and I think if we have all four of them healthy that is going to help those guys from the duration of the season where one guy doesn’t have to take the bulk of the reps.”

Davidson, a junior, led Army in rushing (961 yards) and touchdowns (12) in 2016. Monken has praised Slomka throughout spring practice and the preseason. Holt switched from linebacker in the spring and has seen some snaps at slotback in the preseason.

“Those are extra plays for him,” Monken said of Holt’s reps at slotback. “He’s done so many good things this preseason camp that we just feel like we have to find a way to get him in the game. He blocks people. He runs the ball and catches the ball (well). He’s a good football player and one of our best.”

Up front: Six of Army’s top 10 offensive linemen are injured or banged up, Monken said. Senior guard Josh Boylan was the only projected starter to practice without restriction. Senior guard Mike Houghton was limited. Center Bryce Holland, right tackle Brett Toth and left tackle Rick Kurz – starters – and Alex Herndon, Kurz’s backup, are “hurt”, Monken said. He did not rule any of the aforementioned linemen out for the opener.

“We just got a bunch of guys that are running around in red (no-contact) shirts and blue (limited) shirts and that’s not good,” Monken said. “If we can get everybody healthy again to have the starters in there, we would look a lot cleaner. There’s some young guys in there and some rookies even in there. We are getting closer and we are getting better and the more that we practice, the better we will get. I’m confident we’ll have the guys running the offense like we need it to when we get to the game next Friday.”

Monken said sophomore guard Mike Johnson and sophomore defensive end Amadeo West suffered ACL tears in the preseason and will miss the season. “Hate to lose those two guys,” Monken said. “We felt like they had an opportunity to win starting positions by the time we got to the opening game.”

Wide receiver update: Monken said senior wide receiver Jeff Ejekam will miss the first two games of the season. Ejekam, a returning starter, missed the start of preseason camp due to disciplinary reasons. Sophomore Kjetil Cline, who was a candidate to start opposite senior Jermaine Adams against Fordham, will not play in the season opener, Monken said. Monken said freshmen wide receivers Cam Harrison and Kevin Waites have impressed in the preseason.

“Both of those guys (Harrison and Waites) are going to play and probably get a significant amount of time,” Monken said.

Harrison and Waites, running backs Fred Cooper, Artice Hobbs and T.J. Wisham, defensive backs Javhari Bourdeau, Joe King, Joe Stephenson, Justin Thomas and Ke’shaun Wells, linebacker Gavin Bassett and offensive linemen ¬†James Hunter and Peyton Reeder were among a group of freshmen practicing with the “varsity” or travel squad.

I’ll have some depth chart updates up on another blog post shortly.

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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