Interview: Navy's Adam Ballard

Junior Adam Ballard is expected to compete with Matt Hall for Navy's starting fullback job during preseason camp. Expect an intense battle. Ballard replaced Hall last November after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial cruciate ligament on his first carry of the game against Notre Dame.

Even if Ballard isn't the starter, he should get playing time. He has already carved a place for himself in Navy lore. Ballard rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in Navy's 42-23 blowout win over Army last season.

Ballard spoke to this week about, among other things, his expectations for the seasons, mentality on the field, and of course, his success against Army: The expectations for Navy are pretty high this year. Do you believe the hype?
Adam Ballard: I think with success comes expectations. It's a good thing that people aren't expecting us to go 1-10 anymore. People are coming out to see us play and we've been to three consecutive bowl games, which is good. What drives us is that we don't want to let anybody down.

GM: How do you and your teammates keep yourselves from getting too confident?
AB: Coach (Paul) Johnson does a great job of keeping us humble. He always reminds us that we're not as athletic as the other team and stuff like that. We believe what he tells us because coach Johnson has been around for a while. He does a great job keeping us focused.

GM: Could this team be better than the past two bowl-winning teams?
AB: It's hard to tell right now. I know a lot of guys stuck around this summer and worked pretty hard. We have a lot of speed and a lot of athletes, but that doesn't always translate into a better team. We will have to wait and see, but this team can be very good.

GM: How pumped are you with the season-opener against East Carolina fast approaching?
AB: I'm getting very excited. Ever since the bowl game last year I've been ready to put the pads on for this season. The offseason isn't the most exciting part of football, so I'm excited to get started.

GM: What are your goals for the season?
AB: I have a lot of personal goals, I think every player does. I just want to play to my ability and help the team win in whatever capacity that is. W

GM: hat do you think of battling with Matt Hall for the starting job?
AB: I think it makes me better. Instead of sitting in my house knowing I'm the starter, maybe going to the beach, I'm hitting the gym and the workouts have a lot of meaning. I'm coming back in shape and ready to play.

GM: How much better of a player are you than last year?
AB: I think I'm a little better. I'm in better shape and I know what it takes on our long drives. I just know the offense a whole better and know why certain plays are called.

GM: What's your mentality when your running the ball?
AB: I like to try to hurt people because when I hit someone good maybe when they get up they will be shaking their head. The next time they may not try to hit me with as much force. They my just try to trip me up. I try to make people remember me and that works to my advantage.

GM: Who do you pattern your game after?
AB: The funny thing is that I don't pattern my game after anyone. I remember we had this wide receiver in high school, Robert Timmons. He went to Texas, but didn't pan put athletically. He made everyone miss, he had these jaw-dropping moves. I tried that (in high school) and it didn't work for me. I didn't have a good season. I just try to be a bowling ball out there. That works a lot better for me.

GM: Most memorable Navy moment?
AB: It's gotta be the long touchdown (67 yards) against Army. Hopefully, there will be more of those to come. Top Stories