Player to Watch: Shelby Jackson #72 So.
Brad Kelly (6-5, 250) secured the starting left tackle spot this spring. Kelly has been the backup tackle the past two years. Brad has started one game against Iowa State during his sophomore year. Kelly was an All-State tight end in high school and has the quickness needed to get to the second level and finish his blocks. Junior Derek Bisgard, a 6-1, 252 pound junior, was very impressive this spring in winning the starting right tackle job. As a high school senior Bisgard was named the 2007 Arizona defensive lineman of the year. Bisgard has found a home at tackle after being converted from defense last fall.
Mike McDermott, who started four games in 2009, lost out to Bisgard for the starting right tackle role.
McDermott, a senior, is the top backup since he is capable of playing both tackle spots. McDermott, (6-6, 257) provides quality depth and will press Kelly to play at a high level. USMAPS graduate Dan Whitaker (6-3, 250) played on the JV last year and moved up the depth chart during spring practice.
The player at tackle to watch is sophomore Shelby Jackson. Jackson played defensive tackle in high school but dominated at the prep school after being converted to center. Last year the staff moved him back to defensive tackle before settling him at offensive tackle this spring. Jackson is 6-2, 270 pounds and combines strength and quickness off the snap. He's still learning how to play tackle and should be a contributor down the road.
Backups: Matt Villanti #71 Jr.
Player to Watch: John Szott #73 So.
Junior left guard Frank Allen is the only returning starter from last season's offensive line. The physical Allen helped Army averaged 256 yards rushing and 26.6 points per game.
At the right guard spot senior Joe Bailey (6-2, 270) seemed to move ahead of junior Matt Villanti (6-3, 272) late in camp but don't write that into stone. The starting right guard probably won't be determined until the end of summer camp because both can play. Joe Bailey has game experience and started three games in 2009.
Villanti is similar to Allen in his physical approach and is very strong. Bailey is versatile and can center if needed. Whoever loses the right guard job will be main backup at both guard spots. There is a huge gap between the top three guards and the rest of the guards on the roster. Among the other guards senior Robert Kava is probably the most game ready.
The Black Knights had eight players listed as offensive guards join the team last year. A number of these sophomore candidates should contribute in the future. If I had to select one I'd choose John Szott. Szott is 6-3, 265 pounds and very powerful but is raw and needs to watch his pad level and improve his technique.