The recent Army spring football game saw the Black defeat the Gold, 40-17 in the annual Black-Gold at Michie Stadium. The game opened and ended with team's 12-year old adopted member Sean Callahan, who is fighting a brain tumor, score on two 70-yard touchdown runs. It was the best spring crowd I can remember at Michie with a reported 2,015 fans in attendance. That in itself was the statement of the positive energy head coach has created since being hired. Still, in watching the game it is clear that at many positions this team raised more questions than it answered as it appears a less talented team than the one who struggled to a 4-8 record last year.
Sophomore quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw led the Black team to its opening score when he threw a 3-yard touchdown pass off a nice play fake to wide receiver Edgar Poe. In the game Bradshaw ran hard for 56 yards on twelve carries. Bradshaw completed 4-of-9 for 37 passing yards and a score. He was picked off twice including in the end zone by Josh Jenkins who showed him what FBS cornerback speed looks like. Bradshaw is still raw but he showed improvement this spring and has the talent to push for the starting job. The rest of the quarterback play leaves a lot to be desired. Gold team quarterback Matthew Kaufman was just 3-of-8 for 15 passing yards and was sacked three times. Kaufmann is a slower left handed version of former Angel Santiago and is not the answer. Seth Gonzalez, the other Gold team quarterback, struggled so much that he was cut from the team after spring practice ended.
At running back the positive story was the play of B-back Aaron Kemper who led all runners with 20 carries for 122 yards. He scored on a 20-yard touchdown run. Kemper flashed the form that made him USMAPS offensive MVP in 2012. Kemper, due to his diminutive height, can get lost behind Army's offensive line making it hard for opposing defenses to see him at times. He has a nice burst through the line after taking the mesh hand off. Kemper can bounce off defenders and break tackles. He always finishes his runs. Aaron is a quick, cut back runner with solid speed but lacks a high end breakaway gear. Slotback John Trainor was injured on the opening series which was a concern of mine going into camp. Trainor is fast and athletic but he is also rail thin. Joe Walker, the only returning starter from last year’s slotback rotation, led the Black team slotbacks with 49 yards on ten carries. For the Gold team fullback Nick Shiver led them with 14 carries for 87 yards. Senior fullback Matt Giachinta was named team captain but sat out the Black-Gold game with an injury. The paper thin slotback corps seems to have taken another hit with Egbezien Obiomon, according to Sal Interdonato of the Times Herald-Record, reportedly leaving the team. Junior slotback Elijah St. Hilarie, who has some ability, sat out the game and has been hurt most of the spring. After Walker and Trainor the slotback position will probably have to rely on incoming prep and direct players for depth. There were a number of the slotbacks cut after spring practice.
On defense the Black team standouts included defensive lineman Andrew McLean who made four tackles, a sack and two and a half tackles behind the line of scrimmage. McLean plays with leverage, strength and has a nice first step off the ball. Junior Seth Combs, the brother of former Army football captain Nate Combs, may have won the rush linebacker spot with ten tackles in the spring game. His main competition is Alex Aukerman who returned a terrible Seth Gonzalez pass 15-yards for a touchdown.
Junior cornerback Josh Jenkins intercepted a Bradshaw pass for the Gold team and looked in midseason form almost baiting Ahmad into the throw to Poe before picking off the pass. Xavier Moss also intercepted a pass for the Gold team. Moss played well this spring after the move to safety from wide receiver. The Gold team was led by Mike linebacker Tyler L’Hommedieu with 11 tackles and two for a loss. Tyler isn't a threat to Jeremy Timpf, Andrew King or even Scott Washie but he makes plays. L’Hommedieu lacks Division I physical tools but he has a real nose for the ball. Tyler always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is a solid, reliable tackler.
Jeff Monken and his staff made about twenty cuts post spring practice. A few players left the program themselves. Egbezien Obiomon was the biggest name among those who left on his own since he was singled out by Monken to me a few weeks ago as having a chance to help at slotback. Obiomon has struggled with injuries since USMAPS. Most of the other cuts were players that were back-ups at the prep school. Chasen Brown ran for 33 yards on three carries at fullback after being moved from linebacker but as I mentioned last week I didn't think he was in the mix. Justin Byers was in the outside linebacker rotation at linebacker early this spring but was bypassed and faded. Sophomore guard O.J. Hall was a bit of a surprise. He left last spring practice as the backup to Stephen Shumaker but he dropped down the depth chart last year and didn't stop falling. I was initially surprised he moved up the depth chart so quickly since he was a bit of an overachiever. No one else would be considered a surprise or a major loss. Many of those cut were backups at the prep school or walk-ons.
Army Black-Gold Game Recap.
ArmySports.com Top Stories
Head to Head: Army at BuffaloAfter a long trip southwest to take on UTEP, this road game is a much easier travel destination for a Black Knights team looking to continue it's unexpectedly perfect start to the…
ArmySports.comFriday at 10:29 AM
Three Keys: Army at BuffaloIt has been a stunning start to the season for Army who, after just three games, have already surpassed their win total for the entire 2015 season. This Buffalo game is another one…
ArmySports.comThursday at 1:07 PM
Buffalo: First LookMoving to 4-0 for the first time since 1996 will not be easy, but if the Black Knights can get the option rolling in the same way that allowed them to score 66 points at UTEP then…
ArmySports.comWednesday at 3:01 PM
Army Report Card: UTEPIt was the most dominant performance we have seen from the Black Knights in many years and the excitement and buzz around this team is palpable at this point. Here is a look at how…
ArmySports.comTuesday at 2:43 PM