Yesterday at 1pm, the Black Knights took to the field at Michie Stadium and had a live scrimmage, that included going through their special team units, third down situations, and of course set for their offense and defensive units.
Not much has changed in the offense from last year, but you can see that Army will have even more weapons this year with a healthy Terry Baggett in the starting lineup, as the fans on hand watch the sophomore slotback explode for long gains and a series of touchdowns Saturday afternoon.
Patrick Laird, who started at wide receiver caught a short pass for a touchdown along with making solid blocks downfield through the day.
Frank Allen continued to show a strong presence on the line and Hayden Tippett received some reps at fullback.
GoBlackKnight.com writers Tim Park and James Hill met with these four players after yesterday's scrimmage to discus the upcoming season and more.
GBK: How fast did your experience with Army football go? Did it feel like four years?
Allen: It goes pretty quick because you have the summers full of military training and then you turn around and team camp is already here. You're so busy it all goes by pretty quick.
GBK: What has been the highlight of your Army career as a football player?
Allen: Winning the bowl game, that was pretty big especially at a young age, that was sophomore year.
GBK: How would the ideal 2012 season end for you?
Allen: Definitely win the Commander-in-Chief's trophy and a bowl game. Even though we probably won't win it all, everyone wants to win it all and that's what I want. It'll be pretty tough.
GBK: Looking back on your four years, what was the biggest obstacle you faced?
Allen: The military training in the summer, every summer. It's good training and all for the military aspect, but coming back and trying to get your legs and strength and speed back is kind of hard for football; but it does give you that fourth quarter mentality for when your down and people are counting you out but you can still play so it's a double edged sword really.
GBK: Last season you appeared to be off to a solid start as a freshman, but your season ended due to injury.
Baggett: It feels great to be back out here with my teammates, and I feel like we are well-prepared to have a great season this year. I'm very excited that I'm out of the red jersey and out on the practice field playing full speed and at full health; it's really a blessing.
GBK: Coming off that question, how do you think last season prepared you for this season even though it was shortened?
Baggett: It prepared me a lot mentally. Last year wrapping my head around the plays was kind of hard and this year coming out of camp I knew where to be, when I was supposed to be there, and how to get there. I had a great relationship with Trent (Steelman) and that's very important. Getting that relationship and learning all that last year definitely set me up for success this year.
GBK: Your brother is currently at the Prep school. Have you gotten a chance to talk with him at all?
Baggett: Actually, the first time I got a chance to talk with him was today (August 18). I did see him on the last day of Buckner (Cadet Field Training, July 27). We were leaving and they were coming. I saw him, but he didn't get a chance to see me. So today (August 18) was the first time I talked to him and he said that he was enjoying it (prep school). I'm excited for him to come here and join me next year.
GBK: In conclusion, have you set any personal goals for yourself this year?
Baggett: Personally, I want to stay healthy all season and do the best I can do on every single play. My goal is to go out there every single play and go as hard as I can which means get as many yards as I can or make that block every single time. Basically I want to do what I'm supposed to do on every single play and hope for the best.
GBK: Patrick, a lot of fans don't know much about you on or off the field, so before we talk about football could you share with the fans something that you enjoy doing in your spare time if you're not practicing or studying here at West Point?
Laird: I live close by so I can go home and see some of my guys from home there because I live in Central Valley. I get to hang out with my girlfriend and friends at home. Just like any other guys here at West Point I love to get any down time I can get to listen to music and hang out with friends.
GBK: How would you classify your performance so far during summer training camp?
Laird: Personally, I think I can always improve. The team can improve, but we are looking solid. I just think I, personally, have a lot to improve on to get ready for the first game. As a unit I think we are looking pretty good.
GBK: Coming in, is there any part of your game that you feel you still need to work on?
Laird: Well, with me being a bigger receiver I think I need to work on my feet, especially my breaks and my footwork as well as my routes. Other than that I think I need to work on my blocking and stuff too.
GBK: Many people feel as if Army football is primarily a running based offense and they see the wide receiver corps as a weak link, but how do you think you guys (receivers) are coming along as a group?
Laird: I never thought that we were a weak link, we just didn't use it (the passing game) as much because our running game is so solid, but I think we are coming along pretty well, we are making sure we get those blocks for the running game and making sure we complete those passes so that passing is still an option that we can begin to use more this season.
GBK: We spoke to Larry Dixon earlier this week about the friendship you have with one another, but also about the friendly competition you two have. Could you expand on that at all?
Tippett: That's something we all have in us because we all like competing so much, but at the end of the day I try to leave all that on the football field so if I'm out there and I have "beef" with someone I try to put that aside in the locker rooms where we are all brothers. We both love to play football and love to compete so it's the same between us, Larry and I, as well.
GBK: From your point of view, how does the offense look at this point?
Tippett: I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. We have a lot of people returning which means a lot of experience. We have our whole backfield coming back so we are ready to get after it. It's looking good for us.
GBK: If you weren't playing fullback, what other position do you see yourself playing?
Tippett: Well I was a recruited linebacker, so I guess linebacker. I like to hit people, which is why I'm a good fullback. Yeah, so I guess linebacker would definitely be it.
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