The smile never leaves D’Andre Tobias’ face as he talks about football and his last Army preseason camp.
Tobias is still playing the game that he loves. The senior safety was Cedrick Cunningham’s understudy his first three seasons. Now, it could be Tobias’ time.
Army’s first preseason scrimmage Saturday is a chance for Tobias to see where he stands in the competition to start alongside two-year captain Marquel Broughton.
“I’m really not focused on that right now,” Tobias said. “I’m focused on just putting my head down and working. I believe right now that we have one of the deepest rooms of the team. We have a lot of young guys that are really promising – (sophomores) Max DiDomenico, Jordan Burrell, Adam Cash, Tommy Zitiello. I think right now for me, it’s competing with those guys every day.
“They push me and I try my best to push them. The biggest thing right now is working, working, working. The game (Army’s opener at Coastal Carolina on Sept. 3) is coming up. Regardless of who is out there, you have to be ready to make plays.”
Tobias played mostly on special teams last year. He saw action in two games on defense, taking 10 snaps against UConn and five snaps against Bucknell, both Army wins.
Advice from Cunningham and former Army safety Ryan Velez have helped Tobias stay positive and ready to contribute.
“Those guys taught me a lot,” Tobias said. “Being behind those guys and seeing how they played, mentally how they worked behind the scenes, really pushed me to be better. Regardless if I was playing or not, they let me know my time would come. Any snap, any play it could happen. They really pushed me to be better in the film room, on the field and just as a person. I think it’s prepared me to step up my senior year.”
Tobias could be this season’s Jon Rhattigan. Rhattigan, who was behind two-year captain and current Chargers linebacker Cole Christiansen, broke out his senior year, received second-team, all-American honors by USA Today and was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent in 2021.
“Everybody wants to be that guy but when the time comes where you step back and understand you just have to play your role,” Tobias said. “That’s one thing about Army football – you always play a bigger role. Whether you are on the field or not, you matter. You make the team better with everything you do, how you work pushes everyone else.
Tobias will be pushing his position teammates to be their best Saturday morning (10:30 a.m. scrimmage start).
“I’m actually very excited (for the scrimmage),” Tobias said. “It’s so different when you let it loose and you go live. I know all of the guys on offense and defense are ready to fly around. The biggest part for us is having fun. You saw in the spring. Just flying around. Every guy was happy to be out there and I’m excited to see that.”