FORT WORTH, Texas - With the initial excitement of arriving at the bowl site and getting settled behind them, the Army football team went back to work on Monday preparing for the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl versus SMU on Thursday.
After a team breakfast in the hotel, the Black Knights loaded the buses and headed back to Kennedale High School for their second practice since arriving in Texas on Sunday. Monday's workout lasted approximately an hour and 15 minutes and featured the players wearing helmets, shoulder pads and sweats or shorts. The practice consisted of Army's usual "Wednesday" routine which includes less physical contact, but plenty of repetition and fundamental work.
"It's been what I expected," junior LB Steven Erzinger said. "This team hasn't been to a bowl in a while so we've never experienced it. We're all trying to take it in and have fun. We have a lot of freedom, so we're juggling having fun and enjoying the experience, but we're also here for business."
Following its practice Army continued to stick to its normal game-week routine with a post-practice weightlifting session. After the workout, the players grabbed their box lunch and headed back to the buses for the return trip the the hotel. Once back in Fort Worth, both the offense and defense watched film for approximatley 30 minutes. The players were then treated to another of their bowl gifts as the equipment staff distributed the offical Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl wrist watch and small duffel bag.
The players have the late afternoon to relax and get off their feet before venturing back out for more activities. The Armed Forces Bowl is hosting a team dinner at a local restaurant prior to an hour-long show at a comedy club.
The Tuesday schedule includes a morning practice back at Kennedale High School and a visit to a local children's hospital. Some players will also make the trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to take part in the Dallas/Fort Worth Welcome Home A Hero program where they will greet soldiers returning from overseas. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl partners with the USO and the Welcome Home A Hero program each year during bowl week with players, cheerleaders and mascots from the bowl’s competing teams welcoming home troops from an incoming flight.
The 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is set for a 12 p.m. ET kickoff at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. The game is being televised nationally by ESPN.