Army Practice Notes: Week 1

A week of preseason practice is in the books now for the Army Black Knights. Army foootball analyst Jim Lawler discusses some keys issues concerning the Army football team after one week of practice.

One of the strength of Army's defense was it linebacker unit last year. This was a very productive starting trio. Army was looking for it's fiery leader Stephen Anderson to return to his pre-injury form and is now dealing with whip linebacker Andrew Rodriguez's back problems. Rodriguez is a smart, active playmaker and is one of the best players on the defense and is never out of position. Rodriguez has experienced back problems before but it's so tender now that it's caused him to miss the entire week of practice. Officially Rich Ellerson says Rodriguez is day-to-day but it doesn't look good. Chad Littlejohn a 6-0, 229 pound junior who was originally recruited as a fullback by Stan Brock backs up Rodriguez. He played well this spring and has improved but Army needs a healthy Rodriguez.

Incoming freshman Justin Trimble experienced his second position switch in the last two years as he was moved from wide receiver to defensive back. The 6-0, 200 pound Trimble played wide receiver at the United States Military Academy Prep School last year. Instead of following in the footsteps of his brother Jeremy he joined his brother and current safety Jordan in the defensive backfield. Justin is a good athlete with a strong running back type build. Justin has 4.6 forty speed, possesses a 32-inch vertical leap and has terrific body control. He looked good in practice breaking up a Bowden pass. At the prep school as a wide receiver he had a number of catches where he out leaped defenders. He was a very physical blocker at USMAPS and he should transition well to defense.

In the battle at back-up quarterback Chip Bowden had a nice week of practice throwing the ball well. He initially looked to have no ill effects from his knee surgery. He is battling Max Jenkins to back up Trent Steelman.

This year captains will be Stephen Anderson and a rotation of senior captains for the first seven games. After that game permanent captains will be selected. George Fletcher is no longer with the program. Fletcher who saw time at slot back his first two seasons was switched to safety late last year.

Cornerback Antuan Aaron, tackle Jason Johnson and backup linebacker Kingsley Ehie have all tweaked their hamstring that limits their full participation in all practice drills.

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