The Black Knights offense changed this year from a wishbone backfield to a spread option double slot slotback scheme. New offensive coordinator Brent Davis runs the George Southern/Navy spread option which utilizes the slotbacks a lot less than Army fans had grown accustom to seeing. In the old offense both Terry Baggett and Maples were fed the ball usually inside off quick counters and misdirection. It was very effective and Army twice ran for a school record of over 4,000 rushing yards in 2011 and 2012. The Black Knight slotbacks carried the ball on 42 percent of the running plays last year and only 24 percent of the time this year. Both the former single season thousand yard runners seemed underutilized with the Black Knights move to the new offense.
Senior Terry Baggett did a solid job transitioning to slotback. He ran for 400 yards, a 7.4 average and two touchdowns. Baggett was a talented slashing, cutback runner with good vision who was often able to make the first man miss. He was a strong runner who could break arm tackles. Terry wasn't super-fast but he was able to burst into the open field. He had a second gear to take it the distance like he did on a 41-yard touchdown run against Buffalo. Baggett has excellent hands and has lost only one fumble in his 195 carries over the past two years. His blocking was excellent. After struggling with injuries his first two seasons he ended his Army career with 1,704 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Baggett played in all 12 games and started ten. It was a shame he wasn't used more often.
Senior Tony Giovannelli was the starting T-slot back much of the year and did a solid job running, catching and blocking. He ran for 215 yards, a 7.2 average and two touchdowns. Tony had eight receptions for 131 receiving yards. Tony was nearly knocked out after he was hit and fumbled against Air Force. He missed time late in the year after that hit as he played in nine games and started seven. Sophomore Joe Walker saw most of his time backing up Giovanelli playing in ten games and earning the start against Navy. He suffered some early season jitters with fumbles on two of his first three carries. His costly lost fumble against Wake Forest when he dropped a pitch and lost the fumble with a clear alley in front of him to the end zone may have cost the Wake Forest game. Walker recovered and played more like the solid all round player I saw at USMAPS in 2012. Walker carried the ball 18 times for 75-yards, a 4.2 average and two scores. Joe also threw a 4-yard touchdown pass. Walker had five receptions for 96 yards. Walker is a solid runner who offers decent quickness and can catch the ball. He should see a bigger role next year.
I disagreed with how offensive coordinator Brent Davis chose to stack the A-backs. It limited the time Army's best running backs played together. Raymond Maples battled to get back on the field as a fifth year senior after missing most of last season, spring ball and then summer practice. Brent Davis used him behind Baggett as the A-slotback which limited his touches. Maples played in eleven games, sitting out against Rice and started five. Maples finished the year with 44 rushing attempts for 266 yards, a 6.0 average and three scores. He had eight receptions for 118 yards. He showed some of his old burst in the second half as six of his 19 carries went for ten yards or more. His blocking was outstanding, especially in the Fordham game. The two time single season thousand yard runner completed his outstanding career with 2,878 rushing yards and twelve total touchdowns. If Maples was under appreciated then senior Trenton Turrentine was simply ignored much of the year. Turrentine (87 yards, 7.2 avg.) appeared in eleven games. Trenton wasn't in the slotback rotation until Giovannelli was hurt. He played well when used. He wasn't a favor of the staff for some reason after early struggles in spring camp. When called upon Turrentine was physical, blocked well, ran hard despite lacking a second gear and never fumbled.
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Army 2014 Football Review: Slotbacks
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