Look back at the 2008 Army AA game, before the wheels came off

Submitted by iawolve on December 8th, 2009 at 10:55 AM

I stumbled on an old article that was a Rivals write up on the 2008 Army all-american game that featured Cissoko and B. Smith who played on the same East team. I was taken aback by the comments from the East coach.

"I was really impressed with Boubacar all week in practice and off the field as well," he said. "The kid has tremendous leadership skills. He worked extremely hard at every drill, in every situation, and he was also one of the most social kids we had down there. Every kid on our team liked him and respected him. He was one of our captains and he could very well be a future captain at Michigan."

The next quote was in response to when he got beat in coverage.

"I think in that game too, Boubacar was tired. We lost one of our other corners to an injury and so Boubacar, who was already out there on special teams, played the whole game and he was exhausted by the end of it. But he never once asked out or asked for help. They went after him and after him and he was ready for it. When he got knocked down, he got right back up. He's an extremely tough kid mentally."

Both coaches were also overwhelmed by the week-long efforts of Smith. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound four-star safety out of New Brunswick, N.J., finished with five tackles and a pass break up, making his presence felt consistently.

"Big and physical, big and physical," Prunty said. "In practice, we had to rein in him a bit because I didn't want him hurting some of our kids going over the middle. He's just an aggressive kid, one of those physical freaks that could grow into an outside linebacker but if he stayed at safety could do a lot of damage there too."

And there go two of your highest rated defensive players from that class. This demands the requisite amount of eye rolling and head bang on the keyboard. Damn.


Blue in Yarmouth

December 8th, 2009 at 10:59 AM ^

Has anyone heard if he is transferring or is there potential for him to be reinstated on the team? Actually, has anyone heard concretely whether Smith is transferring? I heard he asked for the paper work but no one said whether it was a done deal, and as we know sometimes it doesn't come to fruitition.

Just wondering, and sorry if it is somewhere else, I couldn't find it.


December 8th, 2009 at 11:33 AM ^

I wondered about the Cissoko situation also. Especially since it sounded like the issues weren't behavioral and more about commitment and work ethic.

Yeah, he had some developing to do but you could see he had raw skill...very very raw. He would have made a huge difference (duh) as in the difference between Notre Dame/Indiana defense and Penn State/Illinois/Purdue/Wisconsin Defense. Not to say the secondary would not have been a liability, but a secondary of Warren - Cissoko - Woolfolk - Kovacs/Williams would have probably been enough to win another game or two.

I don't have my hopes up or anything, but it ain't over 'til it's over you know? Hopefully a couple of months away from the team are enough to get his mind right. Still, a long shot to say the least...


December 8th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

I think in Cissoko's case the behavioral intersected with the commitment and the work ethic; I'm thinking of the active pouting and sulking he engaged in on the sidelines after he was benched. Regardless, I hope he's able to get his shit together, realize the great opportunity he has in front of him educationally, and take advantage of the football situation as well.


December 8th, 2009 at 12:58 PM ^

I see what you mean and I agree. I view that as more of a maturity thing though and I woulnd't expect to see anyone dismissed just for acting like a brat. Tate acted like a brat many times too.

I was getting at behavior in terms of stuff like susbastance abuse or criminal activity not in terms of what you mentioned. I am under the impression Boubacar was suspended then dismissed for things related to maturity/work ethic (missing classes, training table, etc.). That seems like a salvageable situation to me.


December 8th, 2009 at 11:00 AM ^

what a difference a year makes...obviously they did not fit into what rr is trying to do, or somewhere decided that um wasnt for them - not all kids like the barwis system - it kicks your ass all year


December 8th, 2009 at 11:08 AM ^

The thought that the coaches can do no wrong and that kids quit bc of the crazy Barwis workouts is unfounded. Who is to say that the coaches didn't make a mistake in the development of the kids? If they were to have gone to another team who is say that they wouldn't have been world beaters? This continued thought that the coaches don't make mistakes in player development or mistakes at all is worn out and wrong.


December 8th, 2009 at 11:12 AM ^

um, is it just me, or is that description of booboo the EXACT OPPOSITE of how his HS coach described him?

"He couldn't handle it," Wilcher said. "He's always been a quiet kid."

West Texas Blue

December 8th, 2009 at 11:13 AM ^

To keep things in perspective, I doubt the coaches would be saying negative things about these players in the AAA game. Still, disappointing to lose two defensive players who could've been starters. The decimation of the defense continues...


December 8th, 2009 at 11:16 AM ^

I will say that these all-star games really don't tell you anything about how the player will be on his actual team. These guys show up, run some drills in front of coaches, and then play a pretty meaningless football game. These coaches almost never say anything negative, and usually coach-speak them up a bit. I'm sure Cissoko and Smith were impressive at the camp, but seeing a kid play in a low-pressure all-star game doesn't give me much insight into how he'll handle playing in meaningful games at his college of choice.


December 8th, 2009 at 11:25 AM ^

but it would be even better for both of them to earn a degree from Michigan. Supposedly Cissoko has remained enrolled, and if true that's a good sign. I would be surprised that either would end up at a school as good as Michigan (in educational terms) if they transferred.

Captain Obvious

December 8th, 2009 at 11:28 AM ^

but I am confident Cissoko will be back on the team come Spring. Given our DB woes (especially if/when DWarr leaves), I have to think RR will be giving him a good shot at earning his spot back. And Cissoko must be at least considering this possibility if he hasn't transferred yet.

NOTE: this is pure speculation, no inside sources, etc etc


December 8th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

I don't buy the whole "Cissoko was tired" excuse. He played defense full-time in high school, was on special teams, and played some wide receiver, too. If he was actually tired, then that's because he got out of shape between his high school season and the New Year.

I do think that Brandon Smith is a real 'tweener at Michigan in Greg Robinson's defense. He was playing WILL in this defense, but he's an outside linebacker all the way. I think he'd be a good weakside outside linebacker in a 4-3 Cover 2 defense, but he just doesn't fit anywhere here. He's too slow to play safety or SAM, and he's a fish out of water at ILB (WILL or MIKE). He could also be a good SAM in a 4-3 defense that defense that didn't ask him to cover slot receivers. He's just a man without a position.