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2008 Army Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 11, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Army Black Knight Offense

Army Black Knights

Preview 2008 - Offense


- 2008 CFN Army Preview | 2008 Army Offense
- 2008 Army Defense |
2008 Army Depth Chart
-
2007 CFN Army Preview | 2006 CFN Army Preview 

What you need to know:
Alright, so what is the offense going to do? The Army new attack was kept under top secret wraps throughout the off-season before being leaked a bit that it's going to run some option and move away from the balanced, pro-style attack. It might not be a wishbone offense, but there will be a far greater emphasis on the ground game. That might not be a bad thing considering the offensive line is full of veterans the backfield has a slew of quick, experienced running backs. The receiving corps is starting from scratch without Jeremy Trimble to rely on, and it'll desperately need Mike Wright and Damion Hunter to be playmakers. And then there's the quarterback situation. Passer Carson Williams is supposedly taking to the new offense well, but incoming plebe Paul McIntosh might be the better fit.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Carson Williams
151-287, 1,770 yds, 11 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Tony Dace
97 carries, 330 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Mike Wright
12 catches, 149 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Junior QB Carson Williams
Player who has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Mike Wright
Unsung star on the rise:
Sophomore OG Mikel Weich
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Mike Lemming
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Lemming, 2) Weich, 3) WR Damion Hunter
Strength of the offense: Running back, veteran line
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver, quarterbacks for the new system

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Can junior Carson Williams handle the option? The 6-3, 212-pounder was brought in to be a pro-style passer who'd take the offense to another level. After throwing for 1,770 yards and 11 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions, the passing never came around, and now he's going to have to run more. This isn't necessarily his type of offense, but he's not going to have to run the wishbone. He needs to grow into an even more consistent, accurate, and mistake-free passer to keep his playing time. If he starts to struggle, the coaching staff will quickly go to one of the other options better suited for the attack.

Projected Top Reserve: 6-0, 218-pound sophomore Chip Bowden got equal reps with Williams this spring and will get every shot at seeing playing time. A more athletic all-around quarterback than Williams, he's a bit better suited for the option and should be more of a runner. While he's not Michael Vick running the ball, he can move around well and has a good enough arm to push the ball down the field.

On the way is true freshman Paul McIntosh, the future of the Army offense and the right fit for an offense. The Indiana high school spread offense wizard, named the state's Mr. Football, will get a chance sooner than later to kick-start the attack. Not only did he throw for 2,292 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior year, but he ran for 1,621 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Watch Out For ... McIntosh. Williams will be the guy who gets the work right away just to provide a veteran presence, but if the offense really wants to run more, he's not the right fit.
Strength
:
Williams' experience. Williams might not have been that great in his first two seasons, but he started the last ten games of the year and has been around long enough to know what he's doing. Even with his struggles, he's still quickly turning into one of the best statistical quarterbacks in Army history.
Weakness
:
The right quarterback. Bowden might be closer than Williams if Army really does want to start running the ball, but it's McIntosh who'll need to grow up right away for the experiment to work.
Outlook: If Army really is going to switch up offense, it needs the right quarterback to run things. There might be a rotation system depending on the situation, and the offense will be dictated by which quarterback is playing well. Expect Williams to get the early start before getting phased out.
Rating:
5

Running Backs

Projected Starters: Senior Tony Dace ended up emerging from the pack as last season went on and lead the team with 330 yards and a touchdown. A 5-10, 221-pound bolt of lightning, he wasn't able to get in the clear enough to use his excellent wheels to come up with big plays. While he only caught ten passes for 47 yards, he can be used as a receiver as well as an inside-outside rusher. He'll get even more work with the offense tailored more towards his skills.

5-10, 247-pound senior Collin Mooney will get a few carries here and there, and will be used a bit more as a receiver, but his job will be to block. While he has made his biggest impact on special teams, he's an athletic veteran who can be extremely physical in the short running game.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Patrick Mealey is neck-and-neck with Tony Dace for the starting tailback job. It took him a while to get involved as a plebe, but he eventually became a key part of the ground game, especially in the middle of the season to finish second on the team with 302 yards. At 5-8 and 203 pounds, he's a quick, darting runner who can also catch the ball well.

5-5, 177-pound senior Wesley McMahand led the team with 654 yards and four touchdowns in 2006 but saw his role diminish last season as he finished third on the team with 213 yards and two touchdowns. He has the skills to be a decent receiver, but he almost never got the ball in his hands in any way late in the year. At his size, durability is always an issue.

5-8, 198-pound junior Ian Smith became a big part of the offense late in the year rushing for 157 yards including a 14-play, 48-yard day against Tulsa. Now he'll be used far more with a greater emphasis on the ground game; he can be used to get to the outside.

6-0, 228-pound junior Tony Moore has decent speed and can pound the ball, too. He's back after missing all of last year hurt with a hip problem after being expected to become a huge part of the offense. With his combination of size and speed, and with his experience from 2006 when he ran for 399 yards and five touchdowns, he has the ability to be a featured back.

Collin Mooney is the starting fullback, but 221-pound sophomore Kingsley Ehle should see a few short yardage carries here and there. He's not going to block like Mooney, but he can run.

Watch Out For ... several running backs seeing time. The Black Knights have a slew of experienced runners, but no workhorses. Depending on what the team actually decides to do with the offense, the players might be in place to run a wishbone, a spread, or any other type of option needed.
Strength
:
Quickness and experience. There isn't one really, really good back in the bunch, but there are several promising quick ones who have seen enough playing time to fill in when needed. There could be a different leading rusher every other game.
Weakness
:
A workhorse. Does Army actually have a back it can rely on? It didn't really want to go to the running back by committee approach last season, but it didn't have much of a choice. Until one emerges from the pack, possibly Mealy, everyone will get a turn.
Outlook: The backfield didn't get any help from the line as all the backs struggled to find any room to move. Not getting much production from the passing game didn't help the cause. Now there are five runners ready to see time, and if the offense wants to start using more option, or if it wants to use a little wishbone, it can. There isn't talent in place like Army has had, but there are some good runners ready to get a chance.
Rating: 5


Receivers


Projected Starters: 6-2, 218-pound senior Mike Wright  is the team's most experienced returning receiver catching 12 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown last season, and while he hasn't exploded over the course of his career, he has the athleticism and the motor to always be working to get open and always find a way to make a catch ... when he gets work his way.

5-11, 187-pound sophomore Jameson Carter has the talent to quickly become one of the team's best offensive weapons. He'll be pushed hard for playing time with the emergence of Damion Hunter, but he a speedy threat with as much upside as anyone in the corps.

It'll be a combination at tight end with senior Mike Evans and junior Ernie Bernal combining for the job. The 6-2, 238-pound Evans was a decent receiver with 11 catches for 126 yards, but most of his work came early on. The former fullback is a decent blocker who got over a knee injury to catch three passes in the opener, but he was an afterthought the rest of the way.

The 6-3, 248-pound Bernal was a key special teamer who saw time in two tight end sets. He only made two catches, both against Army, with a touchdown, and now he'll see even more time as a blocker and a complement to Evans.

Projected Top Reserves: Carter and Wright might be the starters coming out of spring ball, but junior Damion Hunter could turn into the No. 1 target. The 5-10, 173-pounder is one of the team's fastest players and a potential kick returner. He was never healthy last season, hurt mostly by a hamstring injury, playing in only four games and finishing with six catches for 58 yards. He was named the team's most improved player this spring, and could break out if he can finally stay healthy.

Jamison Maehler is a tight-end sized 6-4, 211-pound option who didn't make a catch last season after making three grabs as a sophomore. He'll start out behind Wright, but he'll have a hard time holding off several young prospects. He was a major yardage machine as a Nevada prep, but it hasn't translated to the next level.

Watch Out For ... Hunter. For an offense in desperate need of a playmaking receiver, Hunter is it if he can stay on the field. He has the explosion and the pop to be the deep threat that's missing with the loss of Jeremy Trimble.
Strength
:
Um, uh, hmmmmm. Wright is a dependable target and Hunter has the potential to be terrific, even though he's not reliable to stay healthy.
Weakness
:
Talent. Wright works his tail off and tries hard and Hunter has D-I speed, but that's about it. There aren't enough dangerous playmakers to get the passing game going.
Outlook: There's no replacing Trimble, the school's all-time leading receiver and the main weapon in the passing game with 62 catches for 912 yards and seven touchdowns. There's little returning experience and not a lot to get fired up about considering the offense is looking to run more. The receivers' job will be to make the key catches to keep drives going, and to block. Everything else will be gravy.
Rating: 3.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: The star of the veteran line is senior Mike Lemming, a 6-3, 298-pound right tackle who who was one of the few constants up front starting all 12 games. Able to play guard if needed, he's been a find on the outside where he's been the team's best blocker. He's not a rock in pass protection, but he's as good as Army has.

Next to Lemming on the right side will be 6-3, 281-pound sophomore Mikel Weich, the only plebe to see starting time getting the wall three times in the middle of the season. A talented athlete who could play tackle at times, he should emerge over the next few seasons as one of the team's steadiest, smartest blockers.

Senior Tyson Quink got a start at left guard against Temple and now will take over in the middle for Trey Miranne, one of two players to start every game in the same spot up front. The 6-3, 281-pounder is versatile enough to move around where ever needed one the inside.

6-3, 260-pound junior Jason Johnson might not be all that big, but he's an athletic left tackle who got five starts. He missed half the season with an elbow injury, but now he'll be expected to use his quickness to do more on the move for the new running game. While he might not be a mauler of a run blocker, he can run.

Senior Brandon Cox was the regular starter at left guard but also saw time at left tackle late in the year. The 6-3, 294-pounder needed time to develop as a sophomore after suffering a foot injury, and then he started to come into his own as a junior. Very smart and very versatile, he's a good pass blocker from the guard spot but struggles a bit on the outside. With his size, he's needed on the inside.


Projected Top Reserves: Junior Ali Villanueva began his career on the defensive line making a tackle at end as a plebe before moving over to the offensive side. An interesting prospect, he's an athletic 6-10, 302-pound tackle who'll play behind Jason Johnson adding more size on the left side.

While the guard spots are set, there's decent depth and experience in senior John Keller on the left side and junior Richard Miller on the right. The 6-3, 295-pound Keller has a little experience and can play either guard spot, while the 6-2, 296-pound Miller is a pure guard playing behind Mikel Weich.

Watch Out For ... Weich. The line has a slew of veterans to hope for a little bit of a turnaround, but the rising star is Weich. He's the one the line will build around for the next few years.
Strength
:
Experience. The problems of last year with injuries and inconsistencies will turn into a plus with an experienced line with several decent players returning. All the veterans should be able to come together in a hurry.
Weakness
:
Production. Yeah, there's good size and a lot of experience, but the line didn't do anything last year and now needs to jell in a new system. The line didn't protect the quarterback and didn't do anything in the running game. Now it has to find something it can do well.
Outlook: The line had to rotate in several players thanks to a variety of injuries. Now there's more depth and more experience than head coach Stan Brock has ever enjoyed. Lemming and Weich form a strong right side of the line, while the left side won't be too bad if Villanueva can rotate in with Johnson at left tackle and shine. The key will be to handle the new responsibilities for the running game. All the experience won't mean much if the front five doesn't block anyone.
Rating: 5

 

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2008 CFN Army Preview
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