Army Finishes Spring Game Preparations

Angel Santiago will quarterback the Armor squad Friday afternoon.

Angel Santiago will quarterback the Armor squad Friday afternoon.

March 8, 2012

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WEST POINT, N .Y. - The Black Knights held their final spring workout at West Point Thursday morning. The one-hour walk-thru put the finishing touches on preparation for the annual Black/Gold Game which will kickoff at 2 p.m. on Friday at Doughboy Stadium on the grounds of Fort Benning, Ga.

The session was conducted in helmets and shorts and featured both the Armor and Infantry teams going through the pre-game warm-up routine. The two teams then came together briefly for an introduction on tomorrow afternoon's format.

Following practice, head officer representative Lt. Col. Carl Ohlson and fullbacks coach
Joe Ross addressed the team about what it means to play in front of the soldiers at Fort Benning. Both Ohlson and Ross, who graduated from West Point in 1995 and retired with the rank of major, spent part of their military career serving at the  home of the armor and infantry branches of the U.S. Army.

"The reason we're doing this is that we felt like it is a unique opportunity to experience and get a snapshot of a great post, a historic post like Fort Benning," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said. "They'll get a chance to see the culture that surrounds the maneuver elements. I think what they'll be exposed to will remind them very much of the value system they've grown up with around Army Football. If you're going to Cal's football field to IBM, the culture is going to be different, I think. I think our guys will experience something that will reassure them that the time they're investing in this experience, this part of their developmental journey, will pay off handsomely."

Army will arrive at Fort Benning on Thursday evening. After dinner and a night in the barracks, the team will attend a basic training graduation and tour the National Infantry Museum before heading to the stadium to prepare for the scrimmage.

Several VIPs from the U.S. Army are expected to be in attendance on Friday afternoon.

"We're going to have some rock stars there," Ellerson said. "That's great. Hopefully, it won't change the experience for our guys dramatically, but it does raise the butterflies that are going to be associated with this. There are going to be as many distractions associated with this as there will be for any game in October. That's really a benefit for us. This is a great indication what it's going to feel like and what we'll expect you to look like on a Saturday. This is a happy coincidence. It wasn't my intention, but I think it's going to be good for us."

Each team will wear specially-designed uniforms for the game. The Armor team will sport black jerseys, while the Infantry unit will wear gold. The players will distribute the jerseys to Fort Benning soldiers following the contest.

Friday's game will be played with normal scoring rules and will consist of four, 10-minute quarters with a halftime. The scrimmage can be heard live on www.goARMYsports.com's ITT Exelis Knight Vision. Army play-by-play voice Rich DeMarco will have the call, which is available free of charge. The Army Athletic Communications staff will also provide a live interactive blog from Doughboy Stadium.

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