August 26, 2012

Q&A: Dickson, Powis, Pierce & Brown

A hot topic for every team during the late summer weeks leading up to the first kickoff involves the depth of their roster. Many coaches are questioning how the team is looking, not just at the first level, but at the second and third string levels as well. The Black Knights, like many other teams across America, are doing just that: looking at the entire roster to ultimately create the most effective depth chart.

On Saturday, August 25th, Army took to the field at Michie Stadium to run through situational schemes, along with an actual scrimmage for the offensive and defensive starters. Not to mention the countless backups eager to step up when their number is called.

The Call

When injuries strike a team, the 2nd and 3rd string players have to be ready to step in and fill the vacant spots. Under Head Coach Rich Ellerson, the players learn early on that they are ready to step in and run with the starters.

The scrimmage on Saturday showed that the team has solid depth. During these last two weeks prior to opening the 2012 season against San Diego State, the Army staff will be focusing on starting a fresh and healthy team as well as solidifying the depth chart for when unfortunate injuries occur and 2nd level of players must be thrown into the fray.

GBK was able to catch up with Ryan Powis, Malcolm Brown, and Hayden Pierce who are either facing or coming off injuries, along with Tyler Dickson who is still transitioning from safety to cornerback after Saturday's practice for a brief Q&A.

Ryan Powis, center

GBK: First and Foremost, what has sidelined you? When do you think you'll be back for full practices?
Powis: Torn ligaments in my ring finger and hand. I should be back in the next few weeks, but there's no hard date yet.

GBK: This is a solid offensive line with outstanding depth and talent in the backfield. What are you hoping to accomplish as an offensive unit this year?

Powis: Last year we led the nation in rushing. This year it wouldn't be bad to lead the nation in scoring. We had a lot of opportunities down by the goal line where we couldn't punch it in last year and I think it would be good to rack up the most points this year.

Malcolm Brown, wide receiver

GBK: To start off, how is your hamstring and when do you think you'll be back and ready to play?

Brown: The hamstring is getting better. It's a day-to-day injury and it's getting better. I feel like I'll be good to go by next week.

GBK: How has the transition from slotback to receiver been this year?

Brown: It's been a great transition. I've learned a lot with the receivers. They've been helping me out with learning the plays and learning how to run routes. I've grown a lot and I'm ready to get after it.

GBK: Aside from Navy, is there a team that you're most looking forward to play?

Brown: I guess Navy and Air Force to win the Commander-in-Chief's trophy. That's our main objective for the season and obviously to go to a bowl game.

Hayden Pierce, strong safety (rover)

GBK: You did not participate in the initial scrimmage. Was that for precautionary reasons? How do you feel now?

Pierce: I'm fine, I just had a little cut on my forehead that happened in practice and we were trying to prevent it from getting infected so it was just precautionary.

GBK: Can you talk about how the defense has been performing so far?

[db]Pierce: We're doing well. We have a lot of guys returning and a lot of good leaders. [db]Ty Shrader's pretty much our quarterback for the defense. He's a good communicator and makes sure everyone's on the right page at all times.

GBK: Last year you were a freshman. Can you share with the fans how you're approaching this season with one year under your belt?

Pierce: I'm still just trying to improve and make sure I do my job when I can. I want to do my job every play.

[db]Tyler Dickson, cornerback

GBK: Do you feel that you made the full transition from safety to cornerback after making the switch last season?

Dickson: Yeah, it's been a learning experience for me. It's been kind of difficult, but I'm still learning every day. I feel ready; I feel ready right now. I'm still learning every day and getting better. A lot of players have helped me out; JJ (Josh Jackson) has been real influential in helping me make the switch from safety to corner because I've never played corner before this year, but it's going well. Like I said, it's going well and I'm doing better.

GBK: Can you talk about the progression of the secondary right now?

Dickson: We're doing pretty well. We have a lot of communication and we're not all young, inexperienced players any more. We have some people returning that know what they are doing which is good. Communication makes everything better.

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