Rested Army Shifts Focus To Vanderbilt

Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson

Oct. 19, 2011

By Sal Interdonato, Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.)

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Josh Jackson's mind wanted to play football last week.

Passionate football players never want to go through a week without a game during the season, Jackson said.

Especially what happened the last time Army took the field.

But, Jackson's body was telling him that it could use a break. The junior cornerback was banged up on the second play of a 35-28 loss at Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 8.

Jackson said he and his teammates used the bye week to recharge and focus on turning around a 2-4 start at Vanderbilt on Saturday.

"It gave us that fire to come even stronger," Jackson said. "We are just eager to get out there. We are licking our chops. We have a chip on our shoulder. We are just ready to go. We are not feeling any pressure. We are not thinking about anything but going down there and getting this 'W.' "

Jackson and Army might have the perfect setting for their first game of the season's second half, with the Black Knights seeking their first road win this season at Vanderbilt (3-3).

The Black Knights will face a Southeastern Conference team that plays with a similar intensity, under the lights and on national television (ESPNU). The Commodores are looking to stop a three-game losing streak to ranked teams Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.

"It's a good opportunity for our program and team to go on the road and make a statement with a quality win against a quality opponent," said Army quarterback Trent Steelman, whose team is 0-3 on the road. "We are looking forward to seizing this opportunity and we are going to make the best of it."

Army coach Rich Ellersonhas preached to his team since last week that it has six one-game seasons remaining. Ellerson wants his team committed to the situation at hand. There is no room left for excuses.

"This is a team that's been around the block together and know what's waiting for them," Ellerson said. "We may be a little physically immature, but we are a veteran outfit. We're not going to use that word (immature) about ourselves anymore. We have been there, done that. It's time for us to play Army football every week, every snap."

Hanging in the balance on every snap are the chances for a winning season and a second straight bowl game.

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