Notebook: Reality of winning, Wilson’s return, improved defense in 2018

One of the realities of a winning program is the difficulty to retain assistant coaches, coach Jeff Monken said.

Monken said there are going to be members of Army’s staff receiving interest for head coaching, coordinator and assistant positions following the Black Knights’ 10-3 season.

“That’s natural,” Monken said in an interview last week. “That happens when you have success and good people and we do. We have a great staff. These are great men. They are fine football coaches and I’d hate to lose these guys. When you have success, it’s going to be hard to keep them.”

“Certainly to be at a program here where we have had success, there’s something attractive about that and getting to coach these guys and these players, being in this environment, living here at West Point. This is an unbelievable place. There’s other places where you can earn more money. Certainly, there’s places where you can make a lot less. We compensate our coaches very well here. There’s always other programs and bigger schools. Schools that have more money and the NFL…there’s other things out there.

“Sometimes, it has a matter to do with the family. They love living here. This is worth the price of admission just to be here and to live here at West Point. Others want to move to this place because it’s closer to home or my wife is from this area. There’s a lot of decisions like anybody else. Each one of these coaches as they should has to make a decision based on their family first. If they do that, they are going to be in a very comfortable position as a family and that’s important. I think this is a great place. I hope we can keep our coaches. Time will tell.”

Monken confirmed kicker Blake Wilson will return for an additional year in the fall. Wilson made only three of his eight field-goal attempts and converted 43 of 44 extra points in 2017. Wilson was 4-for-8 on field in 2016.

“I thought he (Wilson) had a good start to the season and then the inconsistency there,” Monken said. “He had some tough kicks there too. They weren’t all easy kicks. I think he’s improved tremendously and as he matures he’s gotten a lot of game experience this year and I think he’s going to get better.”

Senior linebacker Alex Aukerman doesn’t expect Army’s defense to miss a beat next season with the graduation of himself, defensive end John Voit and safety Rhyan England. Army finished third in red-zone defense, 14th in pass defense (176.8 yards/game) and 32nd in total defense (349.7 yards/game).

“I think they are going to be great,” Aukerman said. “There are a lot of talented guys coming in and a ton of guys that have played a lot and have a lot of good game experience. I’m curious to see who makes the biggest strides this offseason. We have the guys to be even better next year on defense. I know there’s a lot of guys that are really ready to play and showcase their talents.”

Aukerman mentioned sophomore defensive end Amadeo West as a player to watch in 2018. West, a projected starter, suffered a preseason ACL injury and missed the 2017 season.

Monken said sophomore offensive lineman Mike Johnson received a medical leave of absence after a preseason ACL injury and could receive an additional year. Johnson started two games at right guard as a freshman in 2016.

Marcus Hyatt’s return to the academy is unclear, Monken said. Hyatt started eight games at cornerback in 2016 before suffering an ACL injury. He missed the spring of 2017 after spending three months in a hospital battling a neurological disorder. Hyatt took a medical leave of absence from the academy this past fall and Monken said as far as he knew Hyatt wasn’t expected to return back to school this semester.

“I don’t know,” Monken said when asked about Hyatt’s football future. “I can’t say. That will all be a determination based on his health…

Marcus Hyatt: I don’t know. I can’t say. That will all be a determination based on his health…I’m sure that this spring is really going to be the determining factor on how healthy he is and what his future holds.”

Aukerman said he will not be participating in a Pro Day due to a knee injury. He said he will be a graduate assistant, working with Army’s scout team in the fall.

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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