Tuesday Takeaways: Lafayette Week

Beating Air Force means Army is “the safekeeper” of the Commander in Chief’s trophy, coach Jeff Monken said.

Defeating Navy on Dec. 8 and winning the trophy outright is one of the team’s goals.

“It’s nice to have the first step taken in that rivalry,” Monken said.

Monken said Army made “some mistakes” against Air Force, “that frankly, I don’t think we should be making at this time of the year.”

Senior fullback Andy Davidson said it was a great feeling to beat rival Air Force Saturday but the team was disappointed with its performance.

“I thought we should have really done a lot better in that second half,” Davidson said. “We had them on their heels a little bit in the first half. We kind of let up and it turned into a game. It was a feeling that we should have done a lot better but we escaped with the win. That’s all that really matters in the end but you got to think if you let teams hang around eventually you are not going to win a close one. We have to keep the momentum going the next two weeks.

Seems like I’ve written this before but Army’s 21-play, 12-minute, 55-second drive in the first quarter wasn’t the longest that Jeff Monken has been a part of.

“14 minutes, 28 seconds, 26 plays,” Monken said. “We kicked a field goal. When I was an assistant at Navy, playing New Mexico in the (2004) Emerald Bowl. It started in the third quarter and finished in the fourth quarter.”

Monken said there are, “quite a few guys in and out training rooms the last few weeks that we are really keeping an eye on,” for Saturday’s home against Lafayette.

“We were uncertain about (safety) Jaylon McClinton last week until Wednesday,” Monken said. “He played a good game. That’s something that is going to nag him the rest of the season. (Tackle) JB Hunter went out of the game Saturday. I thought it was a great display of mental toughness on his part. He got hurt. It was a leg injury and he went out of the game and I thought he was going to be out for the day. They took him in evaluated him, pulled the knee braces off and worked on him and he started to feel better and low and behold he’s back out there playing the game.”

Monken said starting guard Peyton Reeder didn’t practice until Thursday last week and was still able to play “really hard and really well.”

Nick Schrage’s 4-yard punt on a rugby-style kick wasn’t entirely his fault, Monken said.

“We have to do a better job protecting it,” Monken said. “They ran a guy in a gap that he hadn’t run through in the two previous times we punted. He ran through a different gap and we should account for it in our protection and we didn’t. Again, we look at that as something we have to improve and something we have to fix. It’s avoidable if we execute the assignment and the fundamentals that go with that assignment on the punt team.

“He (Schrage) should have been able to hold onto it as long as he did and punt the ball. But, as I told him, that was also the defense that was in on the play. They didn’t put in a punt return team out there. They left their defense out there. They did that for every punt against us. When the defense is out there, you know they are not going to return the punt, just kick it. They are not setting up a return, just get the ball down there and the guy will fair catch it and we go play defense.”

Jeff Monken’s press conference

 

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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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