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Bryson Daily ready for first Army-Navy start

Photo by Lynn Fern/Black Knight Nation

Bryson Daily’s mental reps for Saturday afternoon may have started as early as January.

Army quarterbacks Tyhier Tyler, Cade Ballard and Jemel Jones had played their final snaps. It was Daily’s time to lead the Black Knights’ offense. With “Beat Navy” reminders almost everywhere he turned in the football facility, Daily envisioned his first start against the Midshipmen.

“I put myself in those shoes and try to do some imagery to get myself ready for the game,” Daily said. “It’s (the Army-Navy game) something you think about and something you prepare for all offseason, all season getting ready to play this game at the end of the season.

“Games like this are the reason I committed and the reason a lot of guys on this team committed here.”

Saturday, in front of a sold-out crowd at Gillette Stadium, Daily will take his first snap in college football’s most storied rivalry. Service-academy football’s biggest prize is on the line with a win. Daily can join the list of starting quarterbacks Ahmad Bradshaw, Kelvin Hopkins and Tyler that have led Army to the Commander in Chief’s trophy over the past 27 seasons.

Much of Army’s offense has fallen on Daily’s shoulders this season with the move to a new shotgun attack. There’s been ups and downs. The Black Knights’ season changed in the right direction about a month ago when Daily carried a quarterback academy-record 36 times in a dominating 23-3 victory over Air Force setting Saturday’s CIC storyline.

When Army returned to its old under-center option against Coastal Carolina last game, Daily steadily operated the offense to tune of a season-high 365 rushing yards.

Daily’s versatility gives Army an advantage when designing its game plan against a Navy defense that has three shutouts this season.

“It’s all one offense,” Daily said. “We just have guys that are capable of doing both.

“It’s pretty unique that we can go back and forth and have the guys capable of doing that. I think it’s going to be really beneficial to us to give them (Navy) different looks with all of our versatile players.”

Former Army teammates have reached out to Daily in the weeks leading up to this game with words of encouragement. Daily was able to catch with Ballard, who was Army’s starting quarterback in last year’s 20-17 double-overtime win, in person Monday. Ballard had some advice for Daily.

“One thing he talked to me about is when I get out there is just to look around and enjoy the moment,” Daily said. “It’s a chance to play in a big-time football game and just go have fun with it.”

“And, he told me to win.”

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