Jeff Monken Press Conference: AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Army West Point football head coach Jeff Monken met virtually with members of the local media on Tuesday afternoon for his weekly press conference inside Nowak Auditorium.
The Black Knights recently accepted a bid to the 2020 AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., where they will take on West Virginia. The game is set for December 31 at 3 p.m. CT. It will be televised live on ESPN.
Army West Point Football Head Coach Jeff Monken
(Ref.: Opening statement)
“I am really excited to be sitting here as the Commander-in-Chief's champions. That is one of the great things about playing at Army, for these guys to have this opportunity to play for that trophy and the pride that comes with securing that trophy. I am just really happy for our players and excited for the opportunity to hopefully make a trip to the White House. Obviously, with things the way they are right now, we don't know if that will happen or not, but we're hoping. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for guys that do this. We have seniors that would have the chance to make their third trip there, they will be playing in their third bowl game, they just became the winningest class in program history, and so I am just really happy for them and proud of their efforts to lead this team. We had two really hard-fought battles. The one this past weekend was just a slugfest and to be able to come out with a victory makes me really proud of our players. The defense played really well. They had a great drive against us there in the second half to take the lead and when we needed the points most, our offense answered the bell and had a great drive and scored on fourth-and-one to win the football game. It was a great battle and very fitting for this trophy that all three teams fought so hard to try to win it.
We are thrilled for the opportunity to be in the Liberty Bowl. It is a great bowl game. We're playing an outstanding team and great program in West Virginia University and Neal Brown. He's a tremendous coach and they are a very talented football team. It's going to present a great challenge for us, but we are excited. We are excited to be in this game with the exposure that has come our way because of what happened with the Independence Bowl and being shut out there for a day. We are thrilled for this opportunity and we wish the best for the University of Tennessee. We had some issues with COVID and that is always a concern with every team, but just for people in general. We hope that everyone will be healthy and able to recover and not have any long-term effects from this virus. It did clear out an opportunity for us to play and we are honored and privileged to have the opportunity. We’ll try to make the most of it.”
(Ref.: On the performances of Jakobi Buchanan and Christian Anderson)
“Those two guys were the players of the game. We just couldn't decide between the two of them and we gave a game ball to each of them. Jakobi had to carry the load and was banged up in that series when we pulled him out and put Tyson Riley in there for a play or two, and he just soldiered on through. He really did a great job running the ball for us and played as well as he had all year without the ball. Christian started the season as the number one quarterback and then got hurt. He came back in the Tulane game and didn't have a great game in New Orleans, and I guess we essentially benched him and started another quarterback. When Tyhier (Tyler) got hurt, he was ready and came in and answered the call and really did a great job of leading our football team. I am really proud of both of those guys. Especially for Christian, given the situation he was in this year.” Read more.