Army Going Full Contact This Spring

As some teams look to lay off the full contact practices and instead focus on tactical and situational drills, Army has strapped on the pads this week and the hitting has begun.

The third practice of the spring was all it took for Army to bring the leather. Second year head coach Jeff Monken is still getting to know his team and part of that is testing their physicality and their sheer will to hit when it is cold and foggy outside on a winter like spring evening. The pads are fully expected to come out again on Saturday as Monken runs full team drills at full speed.

The interesting thing about the practice was how Monken used the full contact portion of the day as a way to break up the more mundane drills. After working on some special team fundamentals, and after splitting off for some group work with individual units working together to get down their skills and timing, the offense and defense went at it full force. This was then followed by yet more positional work and a full team session with no contact to end the day.

Throwing in contact in the middle of a session is the best way to use it to teach fundamentals. After being shown the right techniques and the correct way that Monken wants his team to play, they then get a chance to do so. While this is occurring he and his staff can watch from the sidelines, picking out areas where the team is strong, and areas where work is needed. The units can then get together after the full contact period and run through drills which will improve the areas they are found to be weaker at. It is basic coaching, but it is also highly effective.

This idea is further enforced by the fact that Army players are made to do up-downs after mental mistakes, missed reads, and missed assignments. There is no doubt that Monken wants this team to be tough, but he also understands that the key to winning with option style football is to eliminate the mistakes that either result in big plays for the opposition, or deny the opportunity for big plays for yourself. If Army can continue to practice with this mindset then the spring will be a success.

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