Army 2006 Report Card: Defense

The grades are in for Army's offense. Time to hand out report card grades for the defense. Let's cut these guys a little more slack than the offense because the 'D' spent much of the second half of the season picking up the mess left by the Black Knights' turnover-prone offense. Here we go.

Defensive line
The grade: C+

The skinny: A fair mark.
This unit played much of the season without starting defensive end Brandon Thompson. His counterpart, Cameron Craig, got off to a slow start, but an ankle injury slowed him during the middle of the season.

Tony Fusco was solid at defensive tackle and Pete Harrington played well in place of injured Travis Prikryl. There is one knock on Army's defensive line and its a big one.
No pass rush. The unit combined for only eight sacks. That has to improve.

The future: Seems bright. Freshman Victor Ugenyi played well against Navy and Notre Dame. He is expected to replace Craig. Expect the talented Ted Bentler, a transfer from Iowa, to start along with Fusco at defensive tackle. He will have to win the job.

Linebackers
The grade: C+
The skinny: With Seniors Barrett Scruggs and Cason Shrode returning and junior Charlie Rockwood, this had the potential to be a dominating unit.
That never happened as the threesome never seemed to click. Rockwood, overcoming knee surgery, played even better in the second half, as did Shrode, who led the team with 106 tackles.
The future: Expect Rockwood to have a big year in 2007. Sophomores Arlance Jenkins and Frank Scappaticci are the most likely candidates to replace Shrode and Scruggs.
Jenkins distinguished himself during spring drills.

Secondary
The grade: C+
The skinny: Just call it the no-name unit and that isn't a slight. Several unsung players, including Lowell Garthwaite, John Laird, Kevin Opoku and Markenson Pierre saw time in the secondary.
And they didn't fair poorly. The disappointment came from strong safety Caleb Campbell and free safety Jordan Murray. Campbell missed the rest of the season after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee against Tulane on Oct. 28. He is expected to be ready for 2007. Murray missed much of the middle of the season with a hamstring. He returned against Tulane and played well down the stretch.
Opoku and Sean Grevious did an adequate job at the cornerback positions.

The future: Campbell and Murray still have the potential to be a lethal 1-2 combo. Watch out if they are both healthy next season. Don't forget Darren Newson, who missed last season after being declared academically ineligible, could also come back to play cornerback.

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