Brock's Ready for the Season to Start

During a routine physical in July, Army head coach Stan Brock was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Less than a month later, he has been given a clean bill of health after undergoing successful surgery. Now, Brock is ready for the football season to start and likewise, fans are ready to see if Army's new offense can lead the Cadets to their first winning season since 1996.

According to the National Cancer Institute, over 218,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007.  When the statistics come out for 2008, Stan Brock's name will be included in the count, and the coach is ok with everyone knowing it.  In fact, he thinks it's a good thing to talk about this very personal matter.


"I think there are probably a lot of people who don't [talk about it] but my thinking was I found this through my physical," said Brock. "And I have four brothers and those guys haven't had physicals in awhile. So there are a lot of people that I'm finding that are my age or near my age that don't have an annual physical.  If I can bring some awareness to it, then I think it is well worth it."


Brock did not have to elect for surgery, he could have gone in a different, more conservative treatment path. But if the preliminary post-surgery results are any indication, the second-year head coach made the right choice.


"The doctors are confident that everything was contained inside the prostate and everything came out with [the surgery].  So that's all good news. I have a follow-up appointment in a week.  I think they are just going to see how I'm doing.  There are no other treatments that need to be done.  I feel good," continued Brock.


Brock then quickly added: "I'm ready for the season to start."


So too are fans who are very curious to see what Army's new option-oriented offense looks like, and more importantly if it will work.  According to Brock, the new scheme has brought with it a new enthusiasm to the team.


"I think there is a change in attitude.  I think the kids are excited.  I think no matter what we did…I had to change that.  A big thing around here is trying to get the confidence back…or up.  I don't know if we really [ever] had it.  You know getting our confidence up to where we feel like we can compete with other teams."


"I think the excitement is good, but we haven't played a single game.  We've gotta go out and play an opponent to really see where we are," said Brock


Although Brock says that he was "very comfortable"with last year's offense and that he"felt like [Army] had a team that could run it last year," he admits that he "didn't realize how much depth was needed to run it."


"If you look at when we first started [last] spring with the offensive line and the people we had offensively, I felt good about it.  But when you lose three offensive linemen, your starting quarterback, your starting tailback, and your fastest wide receiver never goes on the field.  [You have to ask] what do you have behind them – what kind of depth?  That's where I think that it struggled.  We weren't deep enough to run it."


There is no doubt that changing to an option-based system will also require depth on the offensive side of the ball – especially at quarterback.  A position Brock "feels good" about right now.


"I think when we went out to build this offense we knew what the criteria was and that was based on who we had, who we were recruiting, and who we were going to play.  Time will tell, but I feel very good where we were going through the spring and coming into the season with the depth that we have."


When asked last week if Brock was ready to name a starting quarterback for this Friday's Temple game, he responded with a simple:




But did he plan on naming one prior to the game?


"Maybe.  I don't know if it's that important of a deal.  I guess probably right now Carson Williams has been in there starting and doing very well.  [But] I feel like every job is up [for grabs] every day."


In addition to wanting to know who is starting at quarterback, Army fans would really like to plow through a depth chart prior to the Temple game.  Currently on the Army web site, fans can see the depth chart from the spring, but it has not been updated since the Cadets broke camp this month.  Is that by design? 


"I feel good where we are.  I don't know if I need to build a depth chart.  I know who is starting.  I've got a lot of [other] things to worry about," said Brock.


Is it safe to say that revealing a depth chart could possibly give Temple some insight into what quarterback they could be facing?


"I don't know.  You will have to ask Temple.  All I am trying to do is get this group ready to go so they can play the best that they can play.  It doesn't matter who we are playing.  I know we open with Temple, but really my goal right here is to have the eleven guys on the field playing to the best of their ability."


When asked specifically about the back-up quarterback position, Brock acknowledged that there was "a battle" going on.  The Army head coach also assured me that a depth chart would be released prior to the Temple game. 


And while there are sure to be updates to the Army depth chart, there were no changes in the off-season to the Army coaching staff.  Even with the conversion to a new offense, Brock felt is was not necessary to add an option-minded coach to his staff.


"I like the people that I have, and I think that they are excellent teachers.  I think they take a great deal of pride in being football coaches.  If you are a football coach, you are a football coach.  You are always up on what is going on and you have the ability to learn and the ability to teach.  And I love my staff for that.  And the fact that they were willing to take on a huge project and turn it into something that we feel will be successful is a huge compliment to them, who they are and what they stand for, and the pride they show at coaching at West Point," said Brock.


"Really, you're going to run the ball and throw the ball.  It's not that big of a deal.  I think we worked hard to find a system that fit who we are and the kids we can recruit and the teams we are going to play. And through spring ball and three weeks of training camp, I think we feel good about it."


Brock also dispelled a rumor that was circulating in some media reports, most notably a column by ESPN's Rick Reilly, that Army grad Caleb Campbell was on the coaching staff.


According to Brock, Campbell is assigned to West Point's Center for Enhanced Performance and not the football team.


Meanwhile, the first assignment for Brock and the 2008 Army football team comes this Friday against Temple – a team that looks to keep its momentum going from last year's four-win season.


As for Army, Brock believes that he has his team going in the right direction.


"We are going to build this program, and the way we are going at it is the correct way – I know it is."




Do you have a question or comment for David?  Feel free to send him an email. 





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