Defense Shines in First Day of Full Pads

Issac Winters

Issac Winters
Aug. 8, 2014

Photo Gallery

Day five of Army football preseason camp brought full pads into the equation for the first time as head coach Jeff Monken’s group practiced under sunny skies with the temperature on the turf registering at 94 degrees.

The first practice in pads put Army’s gold pants on display as the offensive players dressed in black jerseys and the defense in white. Each positional grouping got its work in on Friday afternoon and the defense as a whole proved to be a step ahead of the offense. The unit came out on top in two different scored 11 on 11 competitions. The result sent the entire offense into a pair of 25 pushup sets, once midway through practice and another coming at the end of the workout.  

Early on in the session, the intensity increased dramatically with a variation of the ‘Oklahoma’ drill that featured a ball carrier and three offensive blockers attempting to block three defensive players from each level, the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. The team was broken up into three groups in different parts of the field as the running backs tried to advance past the third level on the defense.

Various blocking drills continued throughout the afternoon in between seven on seven work and 11 on 11. The wide receivers went through a footwork exercise before turning to make catches with the ball arriving quickly and also competed against cornerbacks in an attempt to stop the defense from picking up a towel on the ground behind them.

Saturday marks the first double-session practice of preseason camp as the team will take the field in full pads at 9:30 a.m. for its initial workout. The second practice of the day will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the team in shoulder pads and helmets only.

Practice began with a stretch as the team broke into two groups, one on Howze Field and another in Michie Stadium … following the stretch, special teams was the focus at the start of practice as the punt and kickoff teams worked on coverage down the field … Alex Tardieu showed off a strong leg punting the football, while Ralph Freibert and Tim Garner also let the punts fly … Xavier Moss and Alex Turner spent time receiving the punts … Mitchell Howard, Blake Wilson, Cale Brewer and Jonathan Kim took turns kicking off to Nehemiah Brown, Turner, Josh Jenkins, Moss, Chris Carnegie, Tevin Long and Rhyan England … donning a gold jersey, Angel Santiago led the quarterback group of Ahmad Bradshaw, Seth Gonzales, Matthew Kaufmann, Blake Goddard and Kado BrownA.J. Schurr was limited once again to observing the group and he wore a red bib over his jersey … once broken into individual positional work, the quarterbacks executed reverse pitches to wide receivers before practicing handoffs and running plays with the running backs … at the same time the field goal unit and defensive groups practiced in Michie Stadium … later on the quarterbacks threw to the receivers in one-on-one coverage with the defensive backs where Jeff Ejekam made a pair of nice catches, one from Santiago down the middle and another from Gonzales on a slant pattern … Santiago also hooked up with Justin Newman during the drill … Carnegie picked off a pass during that one-on-one period … the 11 on 11 and seven on seven practice sessions were largely dominated by the defense … Hayden Pierce collected an interception and a pass breakup  … Andrew King made his way into the backfield to halt the play and wrap up the quarterback … Joey Giovannelli and James Kelly each made interceptions (7 on 7) … offensively, Newman had three receptions in the seven on seven drills, including two from Bradshaw … Bradshaw also hit Kelvin White down the seam on a tremendous leaping catch … in the final 11 on 11 session the defense recovered two fumbles, one by Richard Glover, Justin Fahn earned a sack and Larry Dixon had a nice gain on a run off the left side … Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan was present for a majority of the practice session.

Senior DL Robert Kough

(ref.: first practice with full pads)
“The intensity level was high, we were trying to get after it. Being in full pads gives us the ability to simulate everything that happens on gameday, from blocking to full speed tackling. It was nice to gauge where we are as a defensive line, especially in terms of fighting off and getting through cut blocks.”

(ref.: comparing this practice to others)
“Overall as a defense I think we did well, but just like every practice there are things we can improve on. There were missed assignments on both sides of the ball and some of the intensity needs to be picked up, but it was a good day to come out, work, and build off this and get better.

(ref.: coach Monken’s coaching style)
“The biggest difference is his focus on toughness, which is huge for our football team. We aren’t going to be the biggest, strongest or fastest, but we can be the toughest. His leadership gives us confidence. When he walks on the field, he has a presence and we respect that as players. He is also a winner. Every program he has been to has been a winning program.”  

Sophomore LB Andrew King
(ref.: progression of the team over the summer)
“Things are progressing really well for us as a team. We are learning every play step by step and are getting better as a unit every day. As coach reiterated after practice, everyone has to continue to work on technique and continue learning the plays. Each night we are getting into the playbook and learning as a unit.”

(ref.: adjusting to the pace of practice)
“The pace has been really fast, but I was able to get used to it during the spring. Each day we are learning new plays and implementing them into our practices.”


Tickets for the 2014 can be purchased by clicking here, by calling the Army Ticket Office at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or in person at Gate 3 of Michie Stadium.

Single game tickets are available for just $32 for the Buffalo contest. The Rice game is priced at $35, while Ball State and Fordham tickets are $49. Air Force tickets start at $50. Tickets for the game at Yankee Stadium start at $30.

Season tickets are also available with prices beginning at $116 for the spirit zone. Sideline, end zone and upper level seats are available for just $187.

Three-game mini plans are also offered with prices ranging from $91-$113 depending on which games fans select.

Fans will also have the option to purchase parking in advance for $15. Parking is $20 on gameday.

Knight Vision


SHOP NOW at the
Official Online Store




    Click Here