With the apparent advent of option football returning to the banks of the Hudson, the running back positions may be the most interesting to watch in 2008. Going from years of one-back or power football in which the pass was the major component to a run oriented scheme featuring mutiple backs is perhaps the most risky thing in Stan Brock's new offense.
Heretofore, run blocking was done mostly by the fullbacks, with the tailbacks used for pass blocking, or quick routes out of the backfield to rescue a seemingly always under pressure Army quaterback. Now all backs will have to assist in the run block, with the goal of outnumbering the opponent on the corners and allowing the ball carrier to turn the corner. Their success or lack of same will go a long way in determining Army's ability to control the ball on the ground and win the possession battle.
But, there's also good news. Army possesses a stable of potentially effective runners who should all get more opportunities in 2008. Just about all of them have a lack of height which may confuse defenders looking to pick them up out of the backfield and find them on mis-direction plays. Yet many of the backs also carry the bulk which could allow for effective run blocks and possess the speed that will allow them to turn the corner with the ball.
The effectiveness of this position will dictate Army's success in the upcoming season.
Mike Viti (FB)
Wesley McMahand (TB) (5-5, 177, Sr.) Rushed for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns in 10 games.
Others to watch:
Tony Dace (5-6, 187, Sr.)- Led team in rushing with 330 yards and a touchdown. Rushed for 104 yards against Navy. Also caught 10 passes during the season.
Jonathan Douglas (5-8, 166, Sr.)
Patrick Mealy (5-8, 203, So.)- As a plebe had 94 carries for 302 yards. Started against Georgia Tech, Rutgers and Air Force. Also caught 10 passes.
Tony Moore (6-0, 237, Jr.)- Sat out 2007 due to an injury. Had an outstanding plebe year rushing for almost 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Had 10 catches.
Jamal Robinson (5-8, 188, So.)
Nicholas Sabellico (5-9, 210, Jr.)
Ian Smith (5-8, 198, Jr.)
Justin Turner (5-8, 197, Jr.)
Jacob Bohn (5-9, 216, So.)
Bryson Carl (6-0, 256, Jr.)
Kingsley Ehie (5-10, 221, So.)- Listed second on the depth chart after spring drills.
Matt Feiden (5-7, 222, Jr.)
Geoffrey Hewitt (6-0, 268, Jr.)
Peyton Johnson (5-11, 242, So.)
Robert McClary (5-11, 247, So.)
Collin Mooney (5-10, 247, Sr.)- Mooney has 6 career rushes for 22 yards. Caught 5 passes during the 2007 season.
Ross Richert (6-1, 259, Jr.)
Patrick Mealy OR Tony Dace
Army running backs preseason power rating (1-10): 8.1