November 21 practice blog

Army practices generally finish with coach Jeff Monken speaking with the players before they break down for quick meetings with their position groups.

On Tuesday, players lined up for sprints following a brief talk from Monken as the Black Knights practiced following a 52-49 loss at North Texas Saturday.

Junior defensive lineman Wunmi Oyetuga said Army’s defense, which gave up a season-high in points to North Texas, “let the game get into our head a little bit.”

“The atmosphere, we let it get to us,” Oyetuga said. “We got a little riled up. Usually, we are calm and we play very fundamentally sound and we let that edge chip away a little bit.”

Senior safety Rhyan England and senior linebacker Alex Aukerman discuss the defense’s issues at North Texas in a story that I wrote here.

Sophomore wide receiver Kjetil Cline was wearing a Ranger jersey for his contribution in the North Texas game. Cline gained 23 on a reverse, the first carry by an Army wide receiver this season, in the fourth quarter.

Asked Monken if he sent a lot of tape into Conference USA after the way the North Texas game was called, “a pretty good share. Some weeks, there’s more than others. This week, probably more than there’s even been. That’s the way it is. We can’t control that. What we can control is our attitude and our effort. We got to control the things that we are capable of controlling and we didn’t do that. Had we just done that, then, the other things would matter. You got to be able to overcome the things you can’t control. You control your opponent, the officials, the fans or the weather. There’s a lot of variables that come into the game. It’s got nothing to do with what we can do. We can’t change those things. What we can do is play with great effort and play with great fundamentals and play our assignments. Those are the things we can control. Play with great energy. Not get frustrated when things don’t go our way, which we allowed to happen on Saturday, which is remorseful to see that happen because we can control that.”

Monken explained what happened on North Texas being allowed a second punt during a possession in the first quarter. “Apparently, the whistle for ready hadn’t blown. They were trying to hurry up and snap the ball before they felt we were going to bring pressure. There was a whistle blown by someone. I don’t know who. Some people heard it. Some people didn’t. Some of the team stopped and some of the team didn’t on both sides. After rehashing, I guess they decided we have to replay the down. We didn’t need to drop the ball (Mike Reynolds’ fumble on the second punt). It’s one of those things that you can’t control. What you can control is catching the ball.”

Did Monken think Kenneth Brinson’s sack of Mason Fine should have been a safety in the third quarter? “I thought his forward progress was stopped. It’s forward progress at that point. Wherever the ball is when his forward progress is stopped, I thought it was stopped (beyond) the goal line. I didn’t think it was a safety.”

Army will practice Wednesday before players head home for Thanksgiving break.

Here are some of Monken’s post-practice comments:

“There was energy at the end (of practice) when we had to run sprints but there wasn’t much high energy before that. I didn’t think it was a very good practice. Hopefully, tomorrow, it will be better.”

“We had some big plays (against North Texas) and had a good productive day running the ball but in the end, it wasn’t enough. They scored 52 and we needed to score more than that.”

“Defensively, we had far, far too many mistakes. The kicking game had mistakes, a lot of undisciplined errors and that’s nobody’s fault but mine. That’s the greatest remorse to see those undisciplined errors that we had. Penalties, missed assignments, poor fundamentals. We are going to have to play a lot better if we are going to beat Navy (on Dec. 9).”

“There’s not a thing (that Army can take from last year’s win over Navy to transfer to this year). It’s two different team. This team is going to have to play well enough to beat Navy and that’s the challenge. We don’t get any points from last year. It’s going to take our very best effort to have a chance to win this game.”

How does Monken get his players prepared for Navy after North Texas loss? “Try to get them to do their job. That’s just the fact. They had a chance to look at it (the North Texas) game. Anybody that looks at it we didn’t do our job. We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t play our assignment like we should have. We made some critical errors in some situations where we really, really helped them a lot. Give North Texas credit. They made a bunch of plays and played a good game but we did quite a few things to help them too. That’s our own fault. You can’t have self-inflected wounds. It’s eliminating mistakes. We have to do that for sure.”

On the offense’s production (534 rushing yards, 49 points against North Texas): “We scored enough points but if wasn’t even to win. It’s team game. North Texas scored 52 so we needed to find a way to score 53. Earlier in the year, we lost to Tulane and they scored 21. We needed to score 22. If we held North Texas to 21, then, we would have won the game Saturday night. Had we scored 49 against Tulane, we would have won that game. It’s team game and the whole team had to play together each time we got out there and we didn’t do that on Saturday.”

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. 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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