Army spring review: Special Teams

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 special teams.


Starter: Daniel Grochowski Jr.
Back up: Cale Brewer Jr.


Starter: Alex Tardieu Jr.
Back up: Daniel Grochowski Jr.
Back up: Cale Brewer Jr.


Josh Jenkins So. Tony Giovanelli Sr.
Tevin Long So.


Xavier Moss So.
Josh Jenkins So.
The place kicking job is expected to be junior Daniel Grochowski's for the third straight year. In 2013 he rebounded after a difficult plebe year. Grochowski made eight of eleven field goal attempts and all his extra points. He had 14 touchbacks on 48 kickoffs. He had a costly very poor game against Air Force with a blocked field goal and a missed attempt. Grochowski has the strongest leg on the team with range up to fifty yards out. Junior Cale Brewer (6-0, 187) made a 37-yard field goal during the Black and Gold game. He was a former direct admit kicker from Prosper high school in Texas. Brewer has a good motion and pretty good accuracy kicking field goals. He has solid lift on his kicks. His consistent range maxes out just past 40 yards because he lacks a real strong leg. His kickoffs are very short. A.J. Schurr is an excellent holder but there will be a new long snapper. Junior Conner Farley will have the first chance at replacing long snapper Andrew Ellerson who left the team after his father was fired as head coach.

Junior Punter Alex Tardieu averaged 37.3 yards on 51 punts in his first season as Army's punter. Tardieu does a nice job directionally punting and generally had good hang time on his punts. He had 17 punts fair caught and placed eleven inside the twenty yard line. Only 16 of his 51 punts were returned. The place kickers Daniel Grochowski and Cale Brewer are the backup punters. Army had a good punter at USMAPS last fall if he makes it to R-day.

Jeff Monken spent a lot of time focusing on special teams and it was for good reason. In 2013 Army had the worst return game in the FBS. The Black Knights ranked dead last in the FBS in kick returns averaging just 15.3 yards per kickoff return. The punt return game was worse. The Black Knights blocking was virtually nonexistent on returns.

On kickoffs Josh Jenkins has excellent speed and hands and should be a huge upgrade. He had a 25-yard punt return in the spring game. Tony Giovanelli had two kickoff returns for 32 yards in the Black and Gold game. Tony has excellent hands and should be reliable. Backup quarterback Tevin Long returned one kickoff for 22 yards. Long has good speed and can make the first man miss.

Xavier Moss is the new punt returner. He had a 13-yard punt return in the spring game before he left the game after being injured returning a kickoff. Josh Jenkins will be the backup punt returner.

Army kick and punt coverage were solid last season. Stephen Riccardi had a few penalties but he was productive on the coverage teams. I would be very surprised if this wasn't a much improved area of the team this year. It can't get worse. Top Stories