Army spring review: Center

Army recently completed its first spring practice under new head coach Jeff Monken. will now review every position, listing the starter, backup and third string player. In this edition we look at the centers.


Starter: Matt Hugenberg Jr.
Back up: Todd McDonald Sr.
The big news was at center with junior Mike Hugenberg (6-5, 284) moving from right guard to center replacing three year starter Ryan Powis. Powis had been a starter since his freshman season and a lynchpin for the success Army had in producing some of the most productive rushing teams in school history. Powis was named to the Remington Trophy watch list the last two seasons. However, he struggled this spring with some nagging injuries and handling the shotgun snap. The move to Hugenberg was more than just injury related. It seems to more reflect the difference philosophy in option systems. Monken was heavily influenced by his mentor Paul Johnson whose offensive line tended to be a lot heavier with the biggest and most physical player at center. Powis thrived in Ellerson's system which relied more on quickness, explosiveness and cutting especially to execute their counters and traps. In that sense the move of Powis outside to left tackle made sense.

The new center is junior Hugenberg who saw playing time at right guard last year. Matt is very strong and is big enough to maul people inside. Hugenberg is probably one of the slowest lineman but he has surprisingly good feet and can move and slide. He had to adapt to playing lower and faster in an option system. He's slimmed down, lost weight over the last two years and looks quicker off the ball. He did a nice job snapping the ball and handling the shotgun snap despite never playing center before this spring. His play impressed head coach Jeff Monken who said he was the best offensive lineman this spring.

Senior Todd McDonald was the backup center last fall and battled injuries this spring. He impressed the new staff once he got on the field. McDonald was a starter on the talented United States Military Academy Prep School offensive line in 2010. Todd was a walk-on at USMAPS but won the starting right guard job. At West Point McDonald was moved back to center, where he played in high school, and started on the JV team. He has continued to improve each year. McDonald (6-0, 245) is an undersized player but is strong and a great technician who understands blocking angles and position. McDonald moves fairly well and showed some quickness and pop off the snap. He is a fighter with a mean streak who gets after his opponents. He can have trouble with some bigger defensive tackles but he can play the position. Top Stories