Beating Navy is without question top priority
Junior running back Patrick Mealy looks to add to his career-high season totals of 625 yards rushing and three touchdowns Saturday.

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- As 2009 comes to a close, the stage has been set for the 110th annual Army-Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The game will be the only Division I football game to be played the entire day, which will surely have graduate, servicemembers and average football fans throughout the world tuning in to see some of the future leaders of the military put it all on-the-line for three hours on national television for themselves and, more importantly, service pride.

"As I look at the season and scheduling, it is appropriate that this game should have its own place," head football coach Rich Ellerson said. "It is unique enough and special enough to have it (on its own day) and deserves it."

"However, being on its own stage creates an added distraction to an already eventful game. We (entire team) all will be very excited once the game starts," Ellerson added. "We have been adding extra distractions during practice for the preparation for the game. If we could have a photo shoot on the side lines today we would."

The extra time since the North Texas game Nov. 21 allowed the team to get more physical in practice while also allowing the team to get away from the daily grind of Division I athletics for the Thanksgiving holiday.

With the extra time, the coaching staff has had to keep the excitement and intensity level in check. Ellerson said that you want to be at the pinnacle of excitement, but you don't want to jump off.

Ellerson continued by saying the team has not needed to be motivated and they understand whose shoes they are standing in and whom they are representing.

As the senior class prepares for their last clash between the their arch rivals, the culture of the program has taken a giant step in the right direction because of the dedication of these 22 seniors.

"They have embraced the vision of Army football and it has always been there," Ellerson said. "They (seniors) have just had enough success, we have not had great success, but just enough to set the cement-this obviously is the right path for Army football to be heading.

"That senior class will be able to point to that and say I was there when that change happened and they had their fingerprints all over when it changed," he added.

Even though the team is headed in the right direction, when Ellerson was asked what would be more important to him and his program-beating Navy or advancing to a bowl game' Ellerson said with wide eyes and a commanding voice, "Beating Navy, without question."

Page last updated Wed December 9th, 2009 at 18:01