Ankle Schmankle

SAN ANTONIO - As a lot of the offensive players struggled during the first U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice on Monday morning with the speed of the game, running back and Notre Dame commit Jonas Gray earned praise as one of the most impressive players on his side of the ball.

Unfortunately, Gray wasn't able to keep building on the momentum, as the 5-foot-10, 215-pound Detroit, Mich., product tweaked his ankle late in the session.

The slight injury caused Jonas Gray to miss the second Monday practice, and both of Tuesday's workouts. He could return today for the Skills Challenge in the morning, or the intra-squad scrimmage at the Alamodome in the afternoon.

"I hurt my ankle trying to block Brandon Beal," Gray explained. "Basically what happened was, is we have all running quarterbacks so I'm doing a lot of blocking as a running back this week. I was coming through the middle hole kind of like a powerful fullback and I blocked Brandon Beal, and one of the lineman, I think it was actually (Michael) Golic that pancaked somebody, and one of the d-lineman fell into my leg. I kind of just rolled my ankle.

"It was more of a pressure than an actual injury or a sprain or anything like that," Gray continued. "I could've practice on it (Tuesday), but they said it could've swelled up even more after I practiced on it, so they said it was best to give it a break. They said I should definitely be good by Saturday."

Good thing, as Gray has set his sights on helping the East defeat the West in this weekend's game, and earning MVP honors.

Gray didn't even attend Tuesday's morning practice, staying warm inside with the trainer for ice and stem treatment.

"I actually feel good right now," Gray stated. "I think I'll be back to 100 percent by Saturday."

Gray was at the afternoon practice, wearing a Notre Dame hat to keep his ears warm amongst the cold Texas wind.

"We went through the offensive walk thru, so I'm on track," he said.

Gray is trying to get on track to be ready to play at Notre Dame in the fall. He finished his final prep season at Detroit Country Day with 2,390 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns, leading his team to a state runner-up finish. Monday morning's practice gave him a taste of what to expect on the next level.

"The type of linebackers here, they're physical backers," Gray said. "I was able to be physical with them too. As far as the speed of the game goes, the d-linemen are pretty fast. I thought that was good, because that is getting me used to what I'm going to see in college. I was able to know that I couldn't take it outside as far, or go back as far and cut it up sometimes, I'm learning so much."

He is also taking in things from the games of fellow running backs Lamaar Thomas and Ryan Williams

"I've learned a lot from Lamaar Thomas because certain plays we have are certain screens," Gray began. "At my school we ran certain screens, but we never ran it the way they're are running it here. So Lamaar Thomas ran it before, so he was able to teach me some things about how close to stay to the linemen so you don't get hit in the backfield. It was just little things like that, that he helped me with, which has helped me become more of a complete back.

"And also seeing things that Ryan Williams does with his cutback ability, so I'm seeing what he does and I'm able to put that in my repertoire as well. I'm learning stuff from both of them. I think they're both competitive guys, and we all know we're going to get the same amount of carries."

Monday mornings strong outing didn't surprise Gray, and he expects more of the same strong play when he returns to the practice field.

"I feel like I made a good transition because I knew to expect the best, so I brought my best." Top Stories