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Media Day (videos below)

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Army players were set to meet later Thursday to finalize their team goals for the 2019 season.

Senior safety Jaylon McClinton revealed his personal goal for the Black Knights during Media Day Thursday afternoon.

“I’m trying to get to a New Year’s Six bowl with the team,” McClinton said. “I’m trying to up the ante a little bit.”

McClinton and Army finished 11-2 and ranked 19th in the country by the Associated Press. The senior class is 3-0 in bowl games.

A Week Two matchup at Michigan could go a long way to determining whether McClinton’s goal is attainable.

“Going in and playing a Power Five team is a great feeling just because a lot of us didn’t have those offers and if we did, we still ended up choosing this place and this place kind of gets bummed out of college football sometimes,” McClinton said. “When it comes to playing those Power Five teams, we have to go hard and we have to win those games.”

Army enters the season with the nation’s second-longest winning streak at nine games and has won 13 straight games at Michie Stadium dating back to 2016.

Coach Jeff Monken said, “there’s a sense of responsibility to keep it (winning) going. We’ve had some success the last couple of years and I think our guys feel a sense of urgency to continue to improve and defend what this program has done the last few years.”

Monken senses an excitement from his senior class but not a satisfaction in past accomplishments.

“It’s my belief that every senior class takes some ownership in their senior season and really this is their season,” Monken said. “The last three years they were on the team but this is their season and their team and if they take that type of ownership then I think they will get the best out of themselves and likely demand the best out of everybody else.”

Monken mentioned sophomore linebackers Arik Smith and Kemonte Yow, senior linebacker Ryan Parker, senior defensive end Jake Ellington, sophomore cornerback Malkelm Morrison, sophomore safety Cedrick Cunningham, freshman defensive back Marquel Broughton, senior fullback Rasheed Bolton, junior tackle Alex Herndon and freshman kicker Cole Talley as players, who have had a good preseason camp.

Sophomore Jabari Laws and junior Christian Anderson are in a battle for the No. 2 quarterback behind senior Kelvin Hopkins, Monken said.

“I think both of them have an opportunity to play and to help us,” Monken said. “They are athletic. They can run and throw and do all of the things that you want a quarterback to do in this offense.”

When asking about his defensive philosophy, John Loose, Army’s new coordinator, brought up a conversation that he had with his players.

“I don’t dream about money, fortune and fame,” Loose said. “I dream about hitting the quarterback. I think the more you hit the quarterback the better the chance you have at winning. You are going after the head of the snake.”
Senior linebacker Amadeo West is one of the defensive players that has stood out to Loose.

“I’m excited about how much tenacity and speed that he brings to the defense,” Loose said.

Loose said he plans on calling plays from the booth this season. That was not the case in his previous tenure as defensive coordinator at Lafayette.

“I absolutely demanded to be down on the field, absolutely,” Loose said. “I could look them (the players) in the eye, talk to them and make every adjustment. I think the thing that is different here is that our staff has way more experience than we had at the other place I was at. We have really good football coaches.

“I can see it (the game) better. I think those guys will do a great job in making any adjustments. I think it’s a little more calm up there.”

Offensive coordinator Brent Davis said, “we really feel like this is the most depth across the board that we’ve had in our sixth season here.”

Army is deeper at offensive line, quarterback and wide receiver, Davis said.
Davis said he feels confident in spreading out the snaps between eight to 10 offensive linemen this season.

The offensive philosophy isn’t changing at Army even with an efficient-throwing quarterback like Kelvin Hopkins returning.

“We are going to run the football until it becomes unfair and when it becomes unfair to us, we are going to find ways to throw it,” Davis said. “We don’t go into a game and say, ‘We are going to throw it 30 times this week’ because that’s not who we are. That’s not how we are built.”

Davis said Hopkins’ ability to complete pass-action passes is one of the keys to Army throwing the ball.

Here are Media Day interviews with Jaylon McClinton, Kelvin Hopkins, Cole Christiansen, Elijah Riley and Connor Slomka

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