2014 Army Preview: What You Need To Know
Army FB Larry Dixon
Army FB Larry Dixon
Posted Jun 20, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Army (Getty Images)

2014 Army Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Army Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: Don't expect too much of an overall change – Army is still going to run the ball and run it some more with the option attack – but new offensive coordinator Brent Davis is going to want to incorporate the passing game a little more. The last coaching staff was supposed to do that, too, but it didn't really happen. Davis is also the offensive line coach, and he has an experienced one to work with. However, it's not that big a line with 265 pounds the max for most of the blockers. It's a quick group that's great on the move, and it'll have to be with a loaded stable of runners to pave the way for. Larry Dixon is the pounding fullback up the middle, but there's speed on the outside in Terry Baggett and Tony Giovannelli. But again, the question mark is the passing game. Angel Santiago is the better running quarterback, but A.J. Schurr is the better passer. No matter who's under center, the QB has to start finding rising star receiver Xavier Moss more.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: The defense couldn't stop anyone who wanted to pound the ball, and it didn't do anything against anyone throwing the ball deep, but new defensive coordinator Jay Bateman has eight returning starters to play around with, and even though three of the top five tacklers are gone, ten of the top 13 hitters are back. The Knights will employ more of a 3-4 defense, but that means linebackers have to be found and that's the one area the D might be a little light. Richard Glover and Robert Kough are decent linemen, but they're not huge and there has to be a good rotation to handle getting beaten on. The secondary should be the strength with all the starters back including great tacklers Geoffery Bacon and Josh Jenkins, but the more they can do to deal with the pass, the better.

Players You Need To Know

1. RB Terry Baggett, Sr.
Army is loaded with several excellent runners and lots of options, but it was Baggett who rose up and became the star of the show, leading the team with 1,113 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 7.9 yards per pop on the ground. Even more dangerous at times as a receiver, he caught just six passes, but he took them 123 yards. Back and healthy after suffering a knee injury, the 6-1, 200-pounder has a terrific blend of speed and power, taking off for 304 yards and four scores – highlighted by a 96-yard dash – in the win over Eastern Michigan and running for 96 yards or more in a run of six times in eight games. Tough, fast and shifty, he's perfect for the Army ground game.

2. S Geoffery Bacon, Sr.
The longtime stalwart of the secondary and key tackler for the defense, he has taken his share of lumps making 259 career tackles with 63 last season from his free safety spot despite missing time hurt. At 6-0 and 207 pounds he has good size for a defensive back, but he gets used like a smallish linebacker. He doesn't do much of anything against the pass, and he's never afraid to stick his nose in on a play, but at his size he's not built to be a full-time run defender. The more he can be used in pass coverage, and the more he can do, the better the secondary will be.

3. FB Larry Dixon, Sr.
One of the team's toughest and most important players over the last few years, the 6-0, 238-pound blaster works as a nasty blocking back and a tough between-the-tackles runner. He missed time hurt, but he still finished second on the team with 705 yards and six touchdowns averaging 6.4 tough yards per carry. Quick through the hole and with nice feet, he can be a featured runner, but he's just as strong opening up holes and getting on the move. With his size and workhorse ability, he's perfect for the attack.

4. C Ryan Powis, Sr.
Banged up a few years ago after taking a pounding, the 6-0, 248-pound veteran is way too small, but he's fantastic on the move and he's a great leader. A good veteran, he has been the starter for the last three years, staying healthy throughout last season and doing a great job as the quarterback up front. He's not going to blast open any holes, and he's not going to pound on anyone, but he's a technician when it comes to walling off his man.

5. DE Robert Kough, Sr.
The one sure-thing starter over the last few seasons, he's not huge at just 6-3 and 239 pounds, but he can hit. An ankle injury was an issue a few years ago, but he got past it and grew into one of the team's quickest and most dangerous defenders making 33 tackles with a team-leading three sacks and eight tackle for loss. The former high school wide receiver is a terrific athlete with a great motor, and now he'll need to change up his game a bit in the new system. He'll still have to be the team's most dangerous pass rusher.

6. CB Josh Jenkins, Soph.
The 6-0, 175-pounder came up with a fantastic freshman season, stepping into the starting lineup in the first game of the year and owning the field job. With great quickness and athleticism, he was a star for the always loaded De La Salle High School in California, bringing his wide receiver speed to Army and showing off his upside. A tough open-field tackler, 30 of his 34 tackles were made in the open field, while coming up with two picks and six broken up passes. Soon, teams are going to start staying away from him.

7. QB Angel Santiago, Sr.
The typical Army style of quarterback, he's small, smart, and really, really quick. The 5-11, 188 pounder is a talented runner, finishing third on the team with 593 yards and a team-leading ten touchdowns with three scores against Morgan State and three more against Air Force. Not a passer, he doesn't have much of an arm and failed to complete half of his passes, throwing for 592 yards and two touchdowns with two picks. His game is about his speed. Lightning fast, he can turn the corner and cut on a dime, and if he gets into the open field, look out. However, he has to be able to stretch the field from time to time to take advantage of teams loading up to stop the run.

8. OG Stephen Shumaker, Sr.
A right guard early on in his career, he moved over and handle the left side throughout last year. Not huge at 6-0 and 264 pounds, he's not big enough to deliver much of a pop, but he's extremely quick and he's great on the move. Extremely strong, he makes up for his lack of size with brute strength. If there's anyone on the line the running game can pound behind, it's Shumaker.

9. QB A.J. Schurr, Jr.
Can he take over the starting gig? Angel Santiago will be a key player to the season in some way, but Schurr is a better passer and could be a slightly better fit for what the new coaching staff wants to do. He might not have Santiago's speed or athleticism, but he can be a little bit more of an all-around quarterback. At 6-0 and 185 pounds, he's not big, but he's a good runner and can take a pop, running for 102 yards and four scores while completing 14-of-25 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown in his limited time.

10. WR Xavier Moss, Soph.
It's hard to step in as a freshman and do much for a service academy, much less make a huge impact, but the 6-2, 175-pound Moss could be too good to not use far more. Blazing fast, he was a Texas high school track star, showing off his speed averaging 13.4 yards per catch making a team-high 35 grabs for 468 yards and a score. Not just a deep threat, he caught eight passes for 61 yards against Wake Forest, but he's at his best getting the ball on the move and tracking the deep ball, coming up with a 75-yard score against Boston College.

- 2014 Army Preview