Army Spring Scouting Report: QBs and OL

WEST POINT-– Army spring practice is almost like a tease for diehard Black Knight fans. The boys in black and gold practice for a month and then disappear until preseason camp in August. But Army fans can still get their football fix right here at ArmySports.com. The staff will breakdown the Black Knights offense, defense and special teams position-by-position over the next few weeks.

We start with a breakdown of the quarterback and offensive line. Stay tuned later this week for the rest of the offense:

Quarterback

The man: David Pevoto

The skinny: Army coach Bobby Ross deemed Pevoto the starter before spring drills even concluded. For his part, Pevoto played well and improved, earning offensive MVP honors. But Pevoto figured to have an advantage entering camp over the only other two quarterbacks on the roster: sophomores Pat McDonald and Kevin Dunn.

The future: Pevoto has a great arm and body (listed at 6-foot-5, 229 pounds), but he is inexperienced. The sophomore appeared in just one game (three drives and 18 plays) last year – in the closing minutes against Connecticut. His first true test comes when Army opens the 2006 season at Arkansas State on Sept. 2.

Still, Pevoto may have to fight to keep his job during preseason practice. Ross said before the start of spring drills that incoming freshman Carson Williams of Cullman (Ala.) could challenge him for the job. Williams, who is 6-foot-5, threw for 2,185 yards and 18 touchdowns for Cullman last fall. He turned down full rides from Arkansas, N.C. State and Vanderbilt to attend the Academy.

Left tackle

The man: Ray Zelenak

The skinny: The smallest player on the line (6-3, 262 pounds), Zelenak began last season No. 1 on the depth chart. He started the first two games of the year, but lost his job to Nate Collier. Zelenak, a sophomore, started the last four games of the season – after Collier sustained serious injuries in a car accident.

The future: Zelenak could get a fight from freshman Brandon Cox during preseason camp. As for Collier, who spent time in intensive care after his car wreck last November, his career could be over. He is still recovering and Ross has received conflicting reports from doctors in reference to Collier returning.

Left guard

The man: Dan Evans

The skinny: Converted from a defensive lineman a year ago, Evans established himself as a solid offensive lineman during the spring. Ross raved about his physical play and maturity. Evans, a junior, started the last nine games at left guard last year.

The future: As long as he's healthy, Evans is the man at left guard. Sophomore Connor Wicklund serves as his back-up.

Center

The man: Pete Bier

The skinny: Bier is the rock of Army's experienced offensive line. One of the most outspoken and likable players on Army's roster, Bier has started 32 of 35 games over the past three years. He moved from guard to center last year and handled the switch with no problems.

The future: Bier was named captain for the second straight year in absentia by Ross last week. He did not participate in spring drills and is recovering from foot surgery at home in Milton, Wis. Bier expects to return to the Academy this fall for his final semester.

Right guard

The man: Matt Weisner

The skinny: Weisner is one of the best stories on the team. He came to West Point in 2003 and was told by then-coach Todd Berry that he would be a long snapper. Weisner wanted to be a full-fledged offensive lineman. So he worked and bulked up. His meteoric climb up the depth chart culminated last year when he earned the starting left guard job. Ross later moved him to right guard.

The future: Weisner is the only offensive lineman with an experienced back-up behind him. Junior Miles Murray, who opened 2005 as a starter, before being replaced by Evans, is the back-up right guard. Ross continues to rave about Weisner and expects him to keep his starting job next year.

Right tackle

The man: Jonathan Connon

The skinny: Entered last season with virtually no experience, but quickly earned his stripes by keeping Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in check during Army's 2005 season-opener. Kiwanuka is projected to be a late first-round selection in the NFL draft this month.

The future: Any program in the country would like to have a tackle with Connon's size (6-6, 293). He is strong and physical. Back-up Steven Westbrook, a sophomore, impressed Ross during spring drills. Expect him to be Connon's replacement in 2007.


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