Jeff Monken Pre-Spring Press Conference Quotes

Jeff Monken starts his first spring practice Tuesday.

Jeff Monken starts his first spring practice Tuesday.

March 24, 2014

(Ref.: opening statement)
“We’re excited about spring practice starting tomorrow. We’ve eagerly anticipated this day for a couple of months. Our guys have been working really hard in the offseason. I’m really pleased with their efforts and the strides they’ve made physically to this point. We’re excited and feel like we’re prepared to begin practice. We’ve had a chance to see all these guys on film and see them run around in conditioning workouts, but nothing really to give us an indication of who our players are going to be at each position. We can certainly speculate based on who has played and what we’ve been able to see on film, but I’m really anxious to see these guys in person and watch them in our schemes, see them compete and get a chance to coach them, and get prepared for our season next fall.”

(Ref.: any surprises in the job since starting the job)
“I don’t know if I can call out a lot of surprises. I’ve been very pleased with all we’ve been able to do up to this point. Just to see these guys come together and watch them work, I’ve been very pleased with their effort and their hunger to succeed. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with their enthusiasm and their desire to be pushed. We’ve pushed these guys and we’ll push them some more.”

(Ref.: meeting the players)
“I’ve visited with each player individually, myself and our staff. The guys who coach the particular positions have had several meetings individually with each one of our guys.”

(Ref.: the players response to his coaching style)
“Our guys want to win. They’re doing whatever is asked of them to try to have success. Everyone wants to win, but it’s the amount of work and the amount of effort you put into it that makes the difference.”

(Ref.: how he wants the team to progress during spring practice)
“I want to see the guys work hard. I’d like to see our team display toughness and play together and try as hard as they can in everything they do. We’ll get better if we do those things. We’ll have a chance to compete if we do those things. Beyond that, we want to implement our schemes, learn the terminology and build a foundation for the fall. We’re going to have a chance to practice a lot more in preseason camp and that should give us enough time to be prepared for our first football game. Fundamentally, blocking, tackling, taking care of the ball, playing well in the kicking game, all of those things are things we need to improve on this spring in order for those schemes to come together. “

(Ref.: what the coaching staff brings to the team)
“A lot of the guys on the coaching staff are guys that I’ve worked with in the past. Those I haven’t worked with are either gentleman I know in the profession or through the interview process. Several of our coaches, I’ve never worked with before and I didn’t know, but from a personality standpoint, as well as a scheme standpoint, they were a fit for our staff. Their mentality for coaching, for getting guys to play hard, for believing in each other, those are all things that were important to me in hiring a staff. We have a staff that will be examples to our team in terms of leadership and teamwork.”

(Ref.: spreading the word about Army football)
“One of the great things about the Academy is the expectation for excellence. That has never gone away. It’s the opportunity for me to be here to push these guys who represent this academy and to create a culture of excellence for this program. When there’s change, everybody’s excited because there’s the hope that there’s going to be more success. I certainly hope there’s going to be more success. Everybody says, ‘we’re so excited you’re here,’ and I hope they’re saying that in December.”

(Ref.: the team’s strength & conditioning program goals)
“We didn’t set specific goals in terms of conditioning. Our general goal was to transform our bodies, to get bigger and stronger and to improve speed and quickness. Hopefully we’ve done that. We’ve tracked every guy at every lift throughout the spring. That’s a process. It doesn’t change in a matter of a couple of months. It’s going to take hard work between now and through the fall. That never ends. There’s never a goal where we say ‘we’ve reached where we want to be.’ There are always things we’re trying to improve on. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and the fall, that’s certain, but I think we’ve made some strides.”

(Ref.: objectives heading into spring practice)
“I want to get these guys to play as a team and play for each other, that’s number one. Number two is to take care of the ball and play well in the kicking game, all the things it takes to become a great football player. Those things will help our schemes come together and help our team win. And last is set a foundation for the 2014 season, offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, so we’re not starting fresh in August. We’ll already have a foundation in place that we can bring back, based on the things that we do, so we can start camp in the fall.”

(Ref.: the status of Raymond Maples)
“Raymond had an injury and had surgery and is not enrolled in the Academy this spring. We’re hopeful he will be enrolled in the fall and there will be an opportunity for him possibly return to the program.”

(Ref.: his reactions to watching tape from last season)
“There were things that stood out on both sides, good and bad. There were things we felt positively about and there were things we thought needed improvement. We’ll try to build on those things we thought we did well and work on the areas where there’s need for improvement.”

(Ref.: defensive coordinator Jay Bateman)
“I interviewed Jay four years ago when I took the Georgia Southern job and was really impressed with him. We competed against Jay in the Southern Conference before he went to Ball State. I was always very impressed with his defenses and how hard they played. I thought they were a very well-coached unit that understood their defenses. He’s a very enthusiastic, tough-nosed football coach and those are things I value in a coach. That’s my style and I certainly want to have leaders on both sides of the ball who demand toughness and great effort, and that’s what I think we’re going to get from Jay.”

(Re.: next fall’s freshman class)
“I’m certain we’re going to have players from the prep school, as well as direct admits coming straight from high school who will have to contribute. Every position is up for grabs and I hope that’s going to lead to good competition. I’m sure we’ll have competition again in the fall among that freshman class.”

(Ref.: working on teamwork and togetherness at Army)
“I think that’s something that always needs to be worked on. I don’t take anything for granted in terms of a group of people being team-oriented. Every one of the officers who are working here and have been out in the field with soldiers will tell you that is something they work on all the time. If you’re not bonded and connected to the people you’re working with, particularly on a football team, you’re going to have a difficult time having success. There’s got to be togetherness and a feeling of loyalty that goes beyond just words. That’s not something that happens just because you get a group of people with the same uniform on. Those are things you work on and they build. In order to have the kind of success that I expect and that’s expected at the United States Military Academy, you’ve got to have a team that breathes and lives for that unit.”

(Ref.: any particular memory that stands out from the first day of practice)
“I think there’s an excitement for the first day of practice every year. Everyone looks forward to it. I think these guys are excited to come, and I’m excited to coach them. Every year it’s the hope of what’s to come. We’re certainly excited and hopeful. I’ve got a lot of great memories. I don’t know if I remember the first day of every season, but I remember the first time walking out on the field for the first time at every place I’ve been and this is going to be a special memory for me as well.”

(Ref.: the team’s depth chart)
“We’ll have a depth chart coming out of spring, but we won’t have to have a clear cut starter at any position. We don’t have to decide on the starting 11 until September 6.”

(Re.: meeting people who have passion for Army football)
“There’s a great passion for Army sports and for Army football from here, around the nation and around the globe. I get letters from all around the world lending support, and I appreciate every bit of it. Every one of those emails, letters and call means that people care. I know there’s a great passion for Army football and I’m excited to coach for West Point. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and getting a chance to see what kind of football team we have.”

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