Army Preview 2008: Defensive Backs

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

Overview: With all the anticipation of bigger and better things from the Army offense, not as much attention is being paid to the defense. And when it comes time to talk defense, the most trepidation is being sounded over the young and inexperienced secondary. But as Lee Corso would say, "not so fast, my friend."There's no question about this group's inexperience with no returning starters. But realize a couple things. Last year's team gave up over 35 pts. a game in their season-ending 6 game losing streak. Opposing teams have feasted on a pourous pass defense for several years, with poor pass rushing and slowish linebackers leaving the backs very vunerable. The backs also were in on tackles constantly because of a deteriorating rush defense as the season progressed. So it might not be going out on a limb to say things can only get better.Optimism over a better pass rush and some more quickness by the LB's may lead to better coverage on pass plays. Many returning players benefited from a fair amount of action last year. With a seemingly faster group of defenders recruited the past couple seasons, don't be surprised if things actually improve as the season progresses. And if the offense achieves its goal of better ball control and fewer turnovers, the improvement may be remarkable, as the stop group will see a lot less time on the field.

Starters lost:

Cornerbacks

John Laird
Kevin Opoku

Safeties

Caleb Campbell
Jordan Murray

Returning starters:

Cornerbacks

None.

Safeties

None.

Others to watch:

Cornerbacks

Antuan Aaron (5-9, 192, Fr.)- Plebe played last season for USMAPS.

Lawrence Brown (5-6, 167, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Vincent Comasco (6-1 206, Jr.)- Rising junior who hopes to see action in the fall.
Mario Hill (6-0, 182, Jr.)- Attended USMAPS. Letterwinner who had 12 tackles in 2007. Listed as the backup to Trimble after spring drills.
Stephen Jason (5-10, 199, Jr.)- Attended USMAPS.
Josh Mitchell (5-9, 160, Sr.)- One of Army's most experienced returning DBs. Had an interception. against Rutgers. Started 4 games. Attended USMAPS. Listed as a starter after spring practice.
Jamal Olatunde (5-8, 178, So.)- Rising sophomore.
Donovan Travis (6-1, 187, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Jordan Trimble (5-10, 183, So.)- Letterwinner who saw action in all 12 games as a plebe, picking up 12 tackles. Won a starting position in the spring.
T.J. Walker (5-8, 160, Sr.)- Walker finished the spring as a No. 2 corner, backing up Mitchell. saw limited action in 2007.
William Wedley (5-10, 207, Sr.) Attended USMAPS.
Sean Westphal (6-1, 205, So.)- Hard working sophomore.

Safeties

David Black (6-1, 195, Jr.)- Black finished in a dead heat with Garthwaite for the starting strong safety position. Saw action in six games in 2007, picking up two tackles. Letterwinner who attended the USMAPS. Had one tackle in 2007.
Donald Dixon (6-0, 203, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Johnny Franco (5-9, 185, Fr.)- Incoming plebe has 4.6 speed.
Lowell Garthwaite (6-1, 207, Sr.)- One of the more experienced in the Army secondary. Garthwaite and Black battled to a draw in the fight for a starting strong safety position. Sat out 2007. He started twice in 2006, making 10 tackles in seven games played.
Richard King (5-11, 188, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Markenson Pierre (5-11, 197, Sr.)- Mutltiple letterwinner should see more action this fall as he is listed as a co-starter at free safety with Travis.
Desmond Lamb (6-2, 193, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Mark Myers (6-2, 181, So.)- Attended USMAPS.
Joseph Puttmann (6-1, 202, Jr.)- Attended DOD schools in Europe and the USMAPS.
Andre Shinda (6-0, 195, Fr.)- Icoming plebe who played last season at USMAPS.
Donovan Travis (6-1, 187, So.)- Travis and Pierre were listed as co-starters after the spring.
John Wasniewski (6-1, 211, So)- Attended USMAPS.

Projected starters:

Cornerbacks

Josh Mitchell
Jordan Trimble

Safeties

David Black OR
Lowell Garthwaite
Markenson Pierre OR
Donovan Travis

Army defensive backs preseason power rating (1-10): 6.9


Army defender Lowell Garthwaite (9) dives for Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee (7) in the first quarter of a college football game in San Antonio, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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