Army LB explains why team has struggled

You can read my feature on Army senior linebacker and two-year team captain Cole Christiansen from this week here.

I didn’t include this in the story, but I asked Christiansen on Tuesday why he thinks his team has struggled the first five games of the season. I thought he gave a very thoughtful answer. Here it is:

“It’s a shame that it’s happened my fourth year, but I think it’s happened almost every year I’ve been here where we start with success and we get in the repetition of preparing for each team each week, installing new defenses, running new fits, you’re running new plays and as you’re fitting up these new gaps, you’re losing focus on the fundamentals. When you get to the ball carrier, you disappear late, you kill the angle, you wrap the legs, you run through the tackle, and we haven’t prepared poorly the last three weeks. I just think, and I think we’ve been going hard, but I think we just have lost focus on the fundamentals when you get to the ball carrier and every little detail that makes you a good football player, we’ve kind of strayed away from focusing on that.”

Christiansen added Tuesday that he felt like the team had a great day of practice and said, “I think if we practice like we did today, we’ll have a really good chance of getting better.”

Injury updates

After limping through the first half of the season with injuries to major playmakers, Army is about as healthy right now as a team can expect five games in.

Of the three players who went down with injury in the Tulane game — slotback Kell Walker, defensive end Jake Ellington and left guard Jaxson Deaton — only Deaton looks like he could be in danger of not suiting up this weekend.

Safety Jaylon McClinton appears on track to start this week after being held out for the last three games with injury. His defensive backfield mate Cam Jones, however, will remain out on Saturday. The trio of Ryan Velez, Cedrick Cunningham and Malkelm Morrison did a fine job of filling in with both starting safeties absent last weekend.

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