2013 Army Report Card: Linebackers

Army's 2013 football team the season 3-9 and ended the season with a record setting 12th straight loss to rival Navy. ArmySports.com will evaluate every Army team unit and assign a grade. Look inside to see the postseason report card for the Black Knight linebackers.

Senior captain Jarrett Mackey deserves a lot of credit for battling back from what Rich Ellerson said was the worst knee injury he had ever seen in 2011. Mackey never ran as well or was as athletic as he was during his sophomore season. He did a decent job at whip linebacker holding up against the run. In 2013 he made 56 tackles, two sacks and forced two fumbles. Mackey saw some time at his old quick end spot against Western Kentucky when he flashed his old form with two sacks. However, the rest of the year he lacked the ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage before he was hurt. Mackey did play a lot better down the stretch and was named to the All East team. He started the last eleven games after replacing James Kelly after the opener.

The Rover position was been a strength for the team. Army captain Thomas Holloway was named to Phil Steele Midseason All-Independent team second team defense. He deserved the honor. Holloway has played well at Rover but was limited by nagging injuries which forced him to miss four games and leave others early. Holloway lacked speed but his instincts and ability to read plays were first rate. He led the team with 66 tackles despite missing so much time. Army turned to reliable Justin Trimble (23 tackles, 2 INT, 2 PD, FR) with Holloway out. He played well in his starts. Trimble is similar to his brothers, who played at West Point, in that he knew the game and was field savvy. Trimble had only average speed at best but was solid in pass coverage this year.

Mike linebacker was a revolving door and a weak link the entire season. The campaign opened with one of Ellerson's best recent defensive recruits, sophomore Alex Meier, moving over from his starting Rover spot to Mike linebacker. Meier opened the season with 18 tackles in the first two games. He missed the Stanford game and shortly afterwards left the Academy. He should rejoin the program this spring. It was another big hit to the defense which had lost another sophomore impact player in Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires in the summer.

Athletic Marcus Poling (19 tackles) started the next two games. He failed to make a lot of plays and was replaced as the starter. Poling was then was injured and missed time. Poling has a nice upside if he can learn the position. Junior Julian Holloway was handed the reins and started the next three games at Mike linebacker before missing the Temple game with an injury. He returned against Air Force in a reserve role and suffered a broken leg. Holloway posted 42 tackles, with 4.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Holloway was inconsistent with his positioning and missed too many tackles.

After Holloway was hurt the staff turned to undersized senior Colby Miller. Miller was captain of the JV defense the last few years and one its best players. Miller was a fiery, aggressive defender who read the opposing offense's plays well and understood the system. Colby was a big effort player who competed, hustled and hit any ball carrier that moved. His issue was his lack of speed and his inability to drop in coverage. His limitations were badly exposed against Air Force. He finished the season with 52 tackles, four tackles for a loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Miller gave his all on every play but was a limited athlete and had only tackle- to-tackle range.

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