Army Preview 2008: linebackers

As part of ArmySports.com's continuing preview of the 2008 Army football season today we'll take a look at the linebackers. The Black Knights open their 2008 season on August 29th when they host the Temple Owls at Michie Stadium.

Overiew:

Gone are Rockwood and Chmura but the team returns a tough, hard nose player in Frank Scappaticci. I would hope the staff is looking for as much quickness as possible from the position. The linebackers have had trouble in pass coverage, particularly in zone schemes. Opposing quarterbacks can throw over the slow linebackerss and in front of the defensive backs, resulting in the Black Knights giving up hugh amounts of yardage on defense and many quarterbacks having career-high completion percentages. This is especially true of the more mobile quarterbacks, who are then able to run for big yardage when the Army linebackers drop in coverage. The Central Michigan and Tulsa games in 2007 and the Tulane game in 2006 exposed these flaws the most. As was the case with the entire defense, the linebackers were able to make stops in the first half of the season even while giving up big yardage. But the second half was another story, as those stops bcame few and far between and the opposition started scoring pretty much at will during the 6-game losing streak to end the season.

Starters lost:

Charlie Rockwood
Brian Chmura

Returning starters:

Frank Scappaticci (6-1, 224, Sr.)- Scappaticci is likely the best player on the Army defense. Last year he had 89 tackles, 1 sack, and 5 other tackles for losses. He also picked off two passes. Moved to the middle after playing outside linebacker last season.

Others to watch:

Peter Anderson (5-9, 210, Sr.)- Saw action in 9 games and had 4 tackles.
Stephen Anderson (5-11, 231, So.)- Listed as the backup at WLB after the spring drills. Anderson played in 12 games in 2007 and had 15 tackles with 2 tackles for losses.
Cody Buck (6-3, 219, So.)
Andrew Dieugenio (6-1, 222, Jr.)
Matt Eason (6-0, 224, Sr.)- Finished spring drills as the backup SLB.
Tyler Hufstetler (6-1, 226, So.)
Arlance Jenkins (5-10, 220, Sr.)- Jenkins finished as the team's No. 2 middle linebacker after spring drills.
David Labensky (6-2, 230, Jr.)
Evan Leitch (6-1, 224, Sr.)
Bradley Marren (6-1, 222, Jr.)
Charlie McDonald (5-11, 217, Sr.)
Josh McNary (6-1, 231, So.)- During spring drills McNary caught the attention of the Army staff and worked his way into the starting WLB postion. Last season McNary had 15 tackles, 1 sack and 1 other tackle for a loss.
Adam McMurray (6-0, 204, So.)
John Plumstead (5-10, 222, Sr.)- Projected starter at SLB. Plumstead was the team's fifth leading tackler a year ago with 43. He also had 2 sacks and a blocked kick.
Alan Sheehan (6-2, 238, Jr.)
Chad Thayer (6-0, 218, Jr.)
Bryant Watrous (6-1, 232, Jr)
Reginald Williams (5-11, 220, So.)

Projected starters:

John Plumstead (SLB)
Frank Scappaticci (MLB)
Josh McNary (WLB)

Army linebackers preseason power rating (1-10): 8.6


Army's Frank Scappaticci is poised to lead the Army defense during the 2008 season. (AP Photo/Bob Child)


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