Tuesday Takeaways: Duke Week

Jeff Monken’s message to his team this week: “Twice as much work in half the amount of time.”

Roles are reversed this week. Last week, Army had a bye to prepare for Air Force. Duke, Army’s opponent for Senior Day Saturday, had off last week, giving the Blue Devils more time to prepare for the Black Knights’ triple-option offense.

Duke has limited Army to nine total points and held the Black Knights to 165 and 113 rushing yards in their last two games (2015-2016).

“They’ve had a couple of weeks to get prepared for us,” Monken said. “They will play Georgia Tech (another triple-option offense0 after us so their defense is in full ‘defend-the-option” mode. They’ve done really well stymying us on offense. They’ve made it very difficult for us to move the ball the past couple of years.”

Three players – Ahmad Bradshaw, Brett Toth and Calen Holt – were named the offensive player of the week by the coaching staff for Army’s 21-0 shutout at Air Force. Bradshaw rushed for a career-high 265 yards and a touchdown. Toth had 10 knockdown blocks. Holt, who did not receive a carry, was an effective blocker out of Army’s shotgun set.

Monken said senior safety Rhyan England, who has missed five games with a knee injury, was a little quicker than he expected in his return at Air Force Saturday.

Figuring out the number of seniors that will play their last game at Michie Stadium Saturday isn’t as simple as checking Army’s roster. When Monken was highlighting each member of his senior class, he said that kicker Blake Wilson would be back for another season. Monken has been on the record saying center Bryce Holland and nose tackle Andrew McLean will return in 2018. Cadets, who take a medical leave of absence for a semester, are candidates to graduate in December.

Senior Day takes on an additional meaning. Army is looking to finish its home slate undefeated for the first time since 1996.

“As a senior class, we got together earlier in the year and I think it’s our second goal on the goal board,” senior Matt Sannella said. “It means a lot to us to play at Michie Stadium. It’s one of the best venues in the country and the fans here are awesome. We just got to finish it.”

Monken said the team arrived back to West Point at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and were met several members of the West Point community and “large” group of cadets to welcome the victorious Black Knights back.

“That really meant a lot to our team,” Monken said. “It certainly did to me. Sunday night, the Corps of Cadets have a recall that is traditionally part of the week’s schedule and it will a bit of a pep rally. We were out on the steps in front of the mess hall and it was a lot of fun to have the entire Corps out there and celebrate the victory. Not only our victory but the other victories over the weekend. Men’s and women’s rugby both beat Air Force. Men’s and women’s boxing both beat Air Force. Hockey beat them twice and we were able to get a victory Saturday afternoon. It was a celebration for everybody.”

Asked Monken about when he took the coaching job how important it was to reconnect the Corps of Cadets with the football team. He said, “I think the Corps and the football team always had a connection…I think winning helps that connection better than anything and because we have been able to have some success this year and a little bit last year, I think that’s helped with the connection with our entire campus community. I think there’s a spirit here. It’s driven by our superintendent Gen. (Robert Caslen). He talks about winning. He’s not afraid to do that and I like that, having a culture of winning and a culture of excellence. When you start to have success with your sports teams especially over the other academies, there’s a sense of pride that starts to build. There’s a spirit on this campus that you can feel and is certainly present that I don’t feel was present a few years ago when I got here.’

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Author

    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
  • Categories

  • Archives