GM: The Times Herald-Record reported last night that quarterback Paul McIntosh and running back Patrick Mealy have left the team. Do you have any comment on the story and do you know what led to their decisions?
KA: Well I was in Florida at the time and I just came from Florida to here so I just talked to Coach Brock about it yesterday, so I don’t have all the details. So I don’t feel I have enough information to comment on that at this point.
GM: What impact could McIntosh’s departure have on the Army football program?
KA: I believe we have enough players that are willing to step up and play. It’s unfortunate that he made that decision to leave but I think we have enough players to step in and fulfill his position.
GM: Coach Brock pretty much called out his team after the New Hampshire game, and said that some of them quit. What is your reaction to his statements?
KA: I think that’s been taken out of context because what he was referring to…he was referring to the whole team and that he was very frustrated at the time after losing to the University of New Hampshire. And that he was really focusing on that we need to get better and we need to do things that are going to help us win. So I’m not as affected as some other people might think because I think it was partly frustration and [partly] he thinks we can play better. That’s what he was trying to communicate.
GM: But even one of the members of the team in response to Brock’s comments said that he didn’t feel the team quit, in effect disagreeing with the coach in the media. Is that the proper venue for Coach Brock to be saying those types of comments? Isn’t it better to say those things behind closed doors?
KA: Again, I just have to say that Coach Brock was frustrated with the performance of the team and I think that’s what [led to] his comments. He is looking to have the program improve and that’s what he has tried to accomplish.
GM: Did you speak to Coach Brock about the comments?
KA: The one thing I won’t do is discuss what I discussed with Coach Brock.
GM: There are also some rumors circulating that after the New Hampshire game, in the locker room, there were several people who addressed the team. Were you present after the game in the locker room?
KA: I will just tell you this that after the game there were the coaches and the players were in the locker room and I think that we discussed what happened that day on the field and how we are going to progress from that day forward.
GM: Was the Superintendent in the locker room?
KA: After every game, I’m in the locker room with the Superintendent, the Dean and the Commandant as well. So that is a regular occurrence, game after game.
GM: Typically, after the game, when you are talking to the team, what is the conversation about? Are you trying to motivate them? What role do you play in the locker room? Some people would argue that is the coach’s domain.
KA: I think our situation is unique. It’s probably the same at the Naval Academy I would imagine. We are all in this together and Coach Brock invites us in as well. So we demonstrate that either good or bad that we are all going to be there together. We are going to celebrate [if we win] and if we lose we are going to be in there to rally behind the troops.
GM: Do you think that Army is going through anything more than growing pains with the new offense? And are you confident that you have the right offense for Army?
KA: Absolutely and that’s why we decided to make the change. We talked before about this and I’ve been on the phone with several people who have option experience and they have said that you just have to work through it. It’s very difficult that first year with trying to make adjustments, and if you haven’t run it before, then you have to learn by experience. There was nothing like playing that first game against Temple to see where we were as a program because when you practice it against your own players, you can’t practice the speed of the other team. So I think we saw some progress last week with some of the things that we have done with the option. And I think as we move forward in the season, we will improve. I’m not concerned with the situation because I think we have one of the best coaching staffs in the country. And if you compare ourselves with a mid-major program, if not bigger, [in terms of talent] of the coaches we have, it’s a tremendous attribute to Stan Brock for putting those people together. So I just think that we are going to see progression and that we are going to see improvement and we will see us start winning some football games.
GM: So it’s safe to say even with the events of the past week that Coach Brock has your full endorsement?
KA: Absolutely - there is no question. I believe he is the right man for the job. And my response on that has not changed.
GM: Are you confident that Army will be here [in Washington D.C.] next year at the Eagle Bank Bowl?
KA: That’s what we aspire to, but to go out and project that, I’m not going to put myself in that position, but our goal is to be here next year and play in the Eagle Bank Bowl.
GM: To Army fans who read Coach Brock’s comments, and read about two players quitting – including arguably one of the biggest recruits in the past ten years - what can you say to assure them that you are in control of this program…that Coach Brock is in control of this program, and that better days are ahead for Army football?
KA: Well, I believe that everything that we have done to lead up to this – we’ve put ourselves in a position to win. And I’ll say this, it didn’t get bad overnight and we are trying to make it good, but it’s not going to happen overnight, particularly with some of the changes we’ve mad. And if you look at the last ten years, we have had three or four coaches, so I’m just asking for people to have patience because I believe we have everything in place to achieve [success] and to be in a bowl game next year.
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