C-USA Army Preview: Quarterbacks

An area that has featured a great degree of turbulence the past several years will remain unsettled entering preseason camp. Head coach Bobby Ross began spring drills utilizing eight different quarterbacks. Part of that reasoning was to accurately assess the strengths and weaknesses of every player he had inherited from last year's squad, another part was to provide each young man with a fair chance to compete for the starting position.

Midway through spring drills, Ross and his staff pared the number of those vying for the lead role to three—junior Zac Dahman and seniors Reggie Nevels and Matt Silva. But none of the three separated himself from the others over the final weeks of spring practice and the starting job remains open heading into preseason camp.

Dahman has received the bulk of the playing time the past two years, in large part due to the leg injuries that have hounded Nevels during that period. Dahman has made 15 career starts, completed 51.5 percent of his passes and established new single season Academy records for pass attempts (436) and completions (230) a year ago. He could be the Black Knights' most accurate passer, but lacks the mobility Nevels' natural athleticism provides.

Despite breaking preseason camp as Army's starter the past two years, Nevels has been limited to just eight starts during his Army career due to physical ailments. He injects a welcomed dose of speed and quickness into the Black Knights' lineup and boasts the type of creativity Ross craves in his quarterback. But Nevels must improve on his overall consistency in order to claim the starter's role. He capped the spring in strong fashion, completing 7 of 8 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns while working with Army's second team offense in the "Black/Gold" scrimmage.

Silva, meanwhile, has seen spot duty the past two years and could lay claim to the top job with a solid preseason camp. He features a strong throwing arm and the ability to move a team downfield. Junior Connor Crehan and sophomore Chase Laws round out the top five players at the position.

"Quarterback is still the big question mark for us," Ross says. "Some of that is because we started working out eight players at the position. I list the top three alphabetically right now. I won't list them any other way, because I just don't know at this time. Dahman and Silva had decent springs and Nevels has a lot of ability and has worked hard. He's got a good arm and a nice, quick release, but has been inconsistent. He was very solid during our spring game and moved our second team offense down the field for two scores. That was very good to see.

"We're just going to have to continue to work hard and see what develops. We'll go into the first week of preseason camp with all three competing for the starting job. Then we'll make a decision and give one young man the majority of the snaps to prepare as the starter."


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