Army 2014 Football Review: Offensive Line

ArmySports.com offers our review of the Army 2014 football season. ArmySports.com’s Jim Lawler discusses each position of the team and assigns a final grade. In this segment we discuss the offensive line.

OFFENSIVE LINE: C
The Black Knights offensive line has suffered attrition, injuries and their performance has declined as the season has progressed. Junior Mike Hugenberg (6-5, 309) has been the only constant at center where he started every game. He's been the most consistent of the linemen even though he was outplayed against Stanford and Rice. His snaps in the shotgun were so erratic the staff stopped using the formation. Hugenberg is probably one of the slowest linemen but he has surprisingly good feet and can move and slide. Matt had his best game in the victory over Ball State with 17 knockdown blocks. He was named first team All Independent by Phil Steele and FBS honorable mention All Independent.

Senior left guard Stephen Shumaker started the season with a nagging hamstring injury and has played through pain. He's played in eleven games but he was so limited that he lost his starting job late in the season. His injuries impeded his trademark explosiveness off the ball in the second half of the year. Shumaker was short but strong and tenacious. The struggles of the offensive line mirrored the time he was out of the lineup or limited. The offensive line was at its best the first four games before injuries took their toll on him. He played in eleven games started eight but missed Senior day and was a reserve against Navy.

The rest of the offensive line has been a bit of musical chairs. Junior Drew Hennessy open the season as starting left tackle but ineffectiveness and injuries cost him his job. After missing time he was eventually moved to right tackle then back to left tackle for the Navy game. Drew played in ten games and started six. his injuries hurt him. Being 6-foot-7 he at times he's lost leverage and lacked great feet to block consistently on the move. He played well at the start of the year but injuries hurt his effectiveness. Hennessy has been a late bloomer. In 2011 he was just a backup offensive tackle at the prep school. Corey Hobbs replaced the injured Hennessy at left tackle and started five games. Hobbs had been a center in the 2011 at prep played on the JV team the last two years. He was considered initially as a blocking tight end this spring. Hobbs is technically proficient but was not the biggest or strongest of players. He was beat up and missed two games with injuries before starting on Senior Day. Former defensive end Ryan Alexander started three games at left tackle and one at defensive end. The athletic Alexander was moved to the offensive line midway in his junior season due to injuries and not surprisingly he struggled. Alexander has some ability but needs a year of spring practice to work on his techniques.

At guard sophomore Stefan Moreau, sophomore Colby Enegren, plebe Jaryn Villegas and direct admit plebe Bryce Holland all started and saw time. The season opened with sophomore Stefan Moreau as the new starter at right guard. He fell out of favor and lost his job and was moved to back up left guard after a poor game against Wake Forest. He ended up starting three more games due to injures on the offensive line. Sophomore Colby Enegren (6-2, 279) was the starter in three games and appeared in five. He is a strong player who likes to maul but he played defense at USMAPS and needed to play lower and faster.

Plebe Jaryn Villegas started four games this year. Villegas (6-0, 275) was a backup offensive guard who was part of the guard rotation last year at the United States Military Prep school. He has good strength, as a former wrestler understands leverage, but he just needs more experience and reps. Direct admit plebe Bryce Holland started the last two games. Bryce Holland is a Scout.com three-star recruit from Chandler and lived up to his billing. Holland is very quick off the ball and has the lower body strength and quickness you want in an option lineman. He should develop into a good one.

The offensive line missed right tackle Justin Gilbert who was injured this summer and was out the entire season. Senior Todd McDonald moved over from backup center to right tackle to replace Gilbert. The former USMAPS walk on wasn't very big and was beat up as the season has progressed. McDonald started the first six games was benched but played in a reserve role then returned to start the final two McDonald did a solid job but struggled against speed pass rushers and bigger linemen at times. Plebe right tackle Mike Houghton (6-4, 257) has worked himself into the rotation and played in seven games while starting twice. I felt he was the best player last year on the United States Military Academy Prep School offensive line as I discussed in the R-day report. Houghton impressed me with his athleticism, and ability to come off the ball to get to the second level but as he showed in his started against Kent State and Air Force he needs a year in the weight room.

This offensive line group started off fairly well running for over 341 yards in four of the first five games but injuries and inexperience took its toll. The offensive line had only two 300 yard efforts over the last seven games and was stymied by their fellow service academy rivals. The offensive line was the worst in the nation in sack percentage allowed. Army finished sixth in the nation in rushing at 296.5 yards per game which was their worst showing since 2010.

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