October 24, 2012

Maples ready for the 2nd half of the season

To say that Army's slotback Raymond Maples has had a very busy and productive first half of the season, would be an understatement to say the least. The junior out of Philadelphia, Pa. has stockpiled 789 yards after seven games, with a 5.76 average per carry to go along with his year to date resume. Maples' numbers have him currently 19th in the nation in rushing, and of course if he stays healthy, he should register his second 1,000 rushing season as a Black Knight.

The 6-foot-1, 215 pounder has touched the ball 137 times in Army's triple option offense, which equates to 19.5 carries per game.

"I really didn't set aside any personal goals, honestly, I just wanted to get better from last year and improve upon my stats from last year and I appear to be on track for that," said Maples. "One of my goals for this year was to make it to a bowl game. I know the chances are pretty slim. I mean we still have a shot to go, but we have just got to pull through."

"To me a 1,000 yards is a lot, but it's kind of mediocre," says Maples, as he chuckles at the reality of his statement. "In today's realm you have backs that get like 2,000 or 2,500 yards. The fact of me hitting a thousand is all good, but I want to do better than that."

Of course staying healthy is not always an easy task when you averaging 19.5 carries per game that are accompanied by the constant hits from the tackles as well as being called upon to block when don't have the ball in your hands.

"I honestly do think it's the wear and tear of the game," shared Maples, who admits that he had slowed down somewhat during the latter part of the first half of the season. "I mean, you never going to be 100% right after the first week of practice, so you have to learn how to roll with it. And the coaches are doing a good job in trying to keep me fresh throughout the week. They kind of limit me in the hitting phases of practice. Aside from that, I pretty much do everything else."

According to Maples, the weekly S&C ritual has assisted him during the season?

"We lift basically every Monday and Thursday, and our practices are basically a conditioning practice," he declared. "I think I've got the conditioning phase down pack and the weight room definitely does help ... it helps to get the aches and bruises out. And come the 4th quarter, I'm not winded ... I'm pretty good to go from that stage of things."

With the 2nd half of the season in the rearview mirror and despite only have one win to their credit, Maples remains optimistic of the Black Knights' chances going forward.

"The way I see it, it's like starting over fresh," adds Maples. "We just have to come into the 2nd half of the season with a mindset that we can still make this bowl. But we have to take it one game at a time, that's all we can do ... especially in the state that we're in. We're desperate for a win right now."

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