Army head coach Jeff Monken always tries to keep a positive attitude around reporters. Thus, when coach is down and concerned it is worth noticing. That is exactly the demeanor that surrounds Monken coming out of the Black Knights spring practice for 2016.
Monken is very concerned that the Black Knights failed to get their continuity set over the course of the spring. It has been well documented that Monken likes his team to be full out and all contact all spring as he believes that this brings toughness to the squad that other teams just don’t have. With the attrition that occurred over course of April though it will be interesting to see if this is an approach that the team continues with next year.
The biggest issue right now is on the offensive line where Monken has had all kinds of problems keeping healthy bodies on the field. By the end of spring practice the coach was standing on the sideline with four of his five projected starters alongside him. The injuries included junior tackle Colby Enegren going down in a pile when someone rolled onto his legs and freshman guard Victor Nieves breaking his hand. The hope is that all four will be back for summer camp, but with Army having a line that demands consistency and cohesion this has been far from the ideal way to prepare.
The other big area of concern is safety. Sure, Army has two returning starters in junior Xavier Moss and sophomore Rhyan England, but there is exactly nothing being those two guys. Not one experienced player sits on the depth chart, with the only player listed behind them (Max Regan) having played nothing but special teams as a freshman last fall. This is an area where a new recruit, or a player with a shifted position, is going to have to set up and expect to find playing time.
Also of note during the spring was the fact that the two players in the quarterback battle, Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Carter, played to a draw. This went exactly as a fan would expect with Bradshaw displaying the better running skills, but with Carter proving better at throwing, pitching and making the correct decisions under pressure. The lean still has to be on Carter ere, but with so many issues on the offensive line whoever starts at quarterback may be in for a rough opening to the 2016 season.