Reveling in Nevels: The Right Choice Under Center

They aren't paying Bobby Ross big bucks for nothing at West Point. The Army football team will be televised eight times this season, a testament to one man and one man only.

But besides drawing substantially increased and significantly more favorable publicity, Ross has a much more important charge: making the kinds of football decisions like the one he made earlier this past week: tabbing Reggie Nevels as his opening day starting quarterback.

Yeah, Zac Dahman saw a ton of action last year. Sure, Matt Silva performed exceptionally well in his own right at practice. Obviously, the quarterback situation at Army wasn't and isn't as clear-cut as at other schools, where studs hold the top spot while talented underclassmen bide their time as no-doubt number-twos. Boss Ross had to do some serious discerning under somewhat clouded and murky circumstances.

But it's precisely those kinds of contexts--the ones where everything isn't black and white--where good football minds are proven, and the view from here is that Ross stayed up late at night and made a shrewd choice in Nevels.

First of all, Nevels was tabbed the starter each of the past two years in August camp, only for hamstring injuries in the middle of each season opener to sideline him for most of the 2002 and '03 seasons. This dynamic shows two things about Mr. Nevels: 1) he knows how to prepare in the offseason, grasp the offense, and flourish under the intense tutelage of a coaching staff; 2) he'll be hungry as all git-up in his latest attempt to have a successful, productive and injury-free season.

In this year of transition, then, what better quarterback to lead a team into battle at the beginning of a season than the one who has flourished in practice situations and can master the nuances of a new scheme from a new staff?

In this year of redemption, then, what better quarterback to be under center for the very first snap of the season than the hungriest one, the signal-caller most motivated to set things right and prove points not only about himself, but about the offense and team he will lead?

Nevels has the fundamental soundness that can minimize Army's turnover total.

Reggie is blessed with a nimbleness that can create big-gainers on broken plays, and which can supplement his technically solid game with some open-field explosiveness. In other words, the senior is best situated to give Army a diverse, balanced and potent offensive attack.

And furthermore, Reggie Nevels is a senior who brings leadership to the table. When you consider the full amount of factors, more intangibles existed in his favor compared to Dahman and Silva. Naturally, Ross' keen insights led him to the conclusion that Nevels was the best Day One starter for the team.

And if Nevels, via ineffectiveness or injury, falters against Louisville or at a similarly early juncture of this 2004 season?

Well, then Dahman--the beneficiary of lots of live reps from the 2003 season--would become the perfect No. 2 guy, a game-tested signal-caller who can hop off the bench and, cold-turkey, can produce for Army's offense.

Ross' decision is not only good when you look at the starting position, but also in terms of how it sets up the quarterback spot for the whole season.

It's time to revel in the selection of Reggie Nevels. Army has its man under center, and the quarterback position has already gained an improved outlook as a result.


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