On College Football: Leading Army’s Running Game, Two Years After He Nearly Walked Away

Bradshaw had learned enough of the little things to keep afloat in the corps of cadets — tricks like sleeping atop a pre-made, held-in-place-by-bungee-cord bed in order to pass Saturday morning inspections — but he was drowning in the more important things, such as time management and respecting authority.

“When you take a kid off the streets of Chicago and bring him here, it’s like dropping him on Mars,” said Gaylord Greene, a former Army football player and retired lieutenant colonel who is now a senior associate athletic director at the academy.

Bradshaw had come farther than most. The son of a single mother, he had responded to the news that he had an offer to play football at Army by asking his high school coach, “What’s West Point?”

Greene, a mentor once Bradshaw arrived at West Point, knew he was struggling. But he also saw a poised and confident officer in the making. Army Coach Jeff Monken knew Bradshaw was wavering, too, but he saw a resilient quarterback who might win an awful lot of games for him. Yet neither felt they could strong arm Bradshaw into staying.

“To lead, to be in a position of leadership and influence, you have to put in the…

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