November 5, 2009

The Black Knights start their 2nd season against Air Force


After coming off of back to back losses to Temple and Rutgers', the Black Knights find themselves two games under the .500 and a much needed bye week. The staff and the players are looking to utilize their week off to regain that swagger that prevailed in their win four weeks ago against Vanderbilt, as well as get healthy and prepared for rival Air Force.

If you listen to the Army players, anything but a strong finish is unacceptable as they head into what that call the "2nd season". Defensive tackle Mike Gann, linebacker Steve Erzinger and running back Patrick Mealy were candid in their assessment of the team's attitude and what they have to do going forward.

"It's good to have a bye week and Coach Ellerson has been preaching this second season, shares linebacker Steve Erzinger. "Coach has said to not let everything go that we had in our "first season", but to have a chip on our shoulders and just get over … we had some disappointing results, some games we definitely should have won. This 2nd season … our last four games we still have all of our goals that we want to accomplish. Everyone has a chip on their shoulders and firing and ready to go."

The attitude is let's go and we still have our team goals intact," confirms Gann, who says the team is not relishing on the past, but looking ahead. "We've had a few loses and we might not have done what we wanted to do in other games, but the great thing about the games that we have left, we can still can accomplish what we sat out to accomplish."


Army's strength is their defense and if the Black Knights are going to prevail, they will have to stop or at least slow down one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the country.

The Falcons are ranked 4th in the nation in rushing, where they average an impressive 275 yards per game.

"This is a must win game for us as far as I'm concern," Gann declares. "As a team … this is a huge game, because it's for the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy and then to get us rolling into the latter part of the season and get us bowl eligible. We talked as a team and we still have our goals intact, but we have to execute."

"They look pretty good offensively, pretty sound … real assignment football for defense," said Erzinger. "If we stick to plan, I think we should do pretty well against them. This is huge game, as far as the rivalry. As a team to start our 2nd season off as Coach Ellerson is preaching, with a win especially against Air Force because we are trying to get that Commander-In-Chief Trophy it would be huge."

Junior running back Mealy echoed Gann and Erzinger's assessment of how significant this game is for the Black Knights. "For us, this is the start of our new season and we had a meeting on Sunday and talked about that.

It's a rivalry game that could make our season, and to get the CIC and make a bowl. We have enough games to obtain our two goals and this (Air Force) is where it starts.

They have a great defensive tackle who is very physical and the secondary is pretty good at disguising coverage and bringing blitzes. But we just have to play our game and minimize turnovers."


- This season has seen Mealy playing both the slot and fullback positions, so is it possible that he will be wearing both hats against the Falcons? It could be a little of both and I'm preparing as if it could be both and does he have a preference?

"Personally, both positions have their perks," Mealy responded. "At the fullback you are more downhill runner and at the slot there are certain plays that are build to my strengths. They are both are unique in their own way and it really doesn't matter to me."

For the most part, the bye week was timely, as it allowed a few of the walking wounded a period of rest & recovery.

- Linebacker Andrew Rodriguez and quarterback Trent Steelman are set to go. Wide receiver Davyd Brooks, who missed the Rutgers' game has been back at practice and should be good for Saturday's game.

- Gann, who suffered a slight thigh bruise and ankle tweak from the Rutgers' contest, is 100%. After a couple days of rehab the defensive tackle is good to go.

- Unfortunately, the same can't be said about Captain and fellow defensive tackle Victor Ugenyi, who is still nursing his injury. Look for Chris Swain to get the starting nod on Saturday against Air Force.

"It's been me and Chris Swain and of course Broghan Carnes and A.J. Mackey backing us up," says Gann, when speaking about who has been running with the first & second team during practice this week.

"I know I have said it before, but Chris is a very talented player. Obviously we're upset that Victor got hurt, but it's a good opportunity for Chris to step up and come out and play."

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