August 17, 2012

Summer Camp: Q&A with RB, Jared Hassin

Despite having rushed for 1,013 yards as a sophomore in 2010, Jared Hassin's junior year took a turn for the worse, as he was hobbled by nagging injuries that saw his production drop significantly.

Most notably was his inability to hold onto the ball, which was a major factor in Army being in the top 10 in the nation in turnover margin. Hassin was eventually supplanted as the Black Knights' starting fullback by 3-star freshman, Larry Dixon.

The native of Delafield (Wisc.), who for last year's Navy game and presently has been converted from fullback to slotback is one of those unique ball carriers who can be effective running on the inside, as well as the outside.

Having a healthy Hassin would only enhance the depth and talent that the Black Knights have offensively and the upcoming 2012 season could be the signature campaign for his football career at Army.

GoBlackKnights.com caught up with Hassin after Wednesday's practice for a brief Q&A session.

GBK: Jared, I assume that last year did not go according to plan after having a stellar 2010 season rushing over 1000 yards. What would you say was the biggest hurdle for you then?
Jared Hassin: Last year for me, the biggest hurdle was coming off a back injury and trying to get back into the mix. After the season my sophomore year, spring ball rolled around pretty quick. We went from a bowl game in late December to Spring ball starting in early February. For me it was maintaining my health. In division one football you can't sit out, you have to be practicing. You can see that from the games and from the way I was playing, you can see major flaws in my game because I wasn't getting many practice reps. At the same time you have to look at the fullback from last year, Larry Dixon. Truly a phenomenal athlete in all aspects of the game. He's a great player, great teammate, and great cadet. He beat me out on the job fair and square. At the same time I'm very proud of the way he played.

GBK: Besides being hurt for the majority of the season there was an issue surrounding fumbles. Can you put a finger on why that was an issue?
Jared Hassin: Fumbles were an issue because like I said, I wasn't getting enough practice reps. Coming off last year, that has become my number one priority. I've taken just about every step possible to eliminate those fumbles.

GBK: During the spring and summer camps it looks like you've been transitioned to the slot position. Can you explain how that's going for you and can you describe any challenges you face there?
Jared Hassin: I was transitioned to the slot last year in the last game right before Navy. Working that position has been something I love. It's very stimulating because I'm constantly having to check the defense and make sure my assignments are correct. I absolutely love my position, I love my position coach, he was the person who originally recruited me when I was a junior in high school so we've developed a pretty good relationship over the past five or six years. The challenges that lie there are number one, just staying healthy and being able to carry my body through the season - my last one. Moreover, I'm competing against not only two of the best athletes in the Academy for playing time: Terry Baggett and Raymond Maples. Two of the best athletes I've ever played against in College football. They're truly phenomenal athletes and they challenge me every day.

GBK: Can you talk about the depth and firepower that exist with this year's offense compared to the previous three years?
Jared Hassin: Absolutely. I'm so unbelievably excited for this offense. Quarterback, Trent Steelman is a four year starter. Everyone has so much confidence that in this triple option offense, Trent has had so many reps to make perfect reads. On top of that, Raymond Maples is a returning 1,000 yard rusher. He's been working his butt off and doing phenomenal at practice. Like I said Terry Baggett is one of the best athletes I have ever seen. He brings his heart to practice every day and he's going to be a great player for us this season. Moreover, Malcolm Brown smoothly transitioned to the wide receiver position and he's a big time playmaker. He's out there catching balls and making moves on cornerbacks. Another is Patrick Laird(WR), another terrific athlete coming to make those crucial blocks for backs to go outside - that really helps spring our running game and take us to the next level.

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