All three contenders for starting quarterback have shown flashes of great ability. On Saturday Kentuckian Trent Steelman led the offense on a sensational 70-yard scoring drive. Word is there were several fumbles during the live scrimmage. This was verified in Ellerson's comments on the official site, GoArmySports.com. It also looks like the defense is somewhat ahead of the offense, which is normal. No need to panic. The coaches will get things under control. It all starts with the line though. If the offensive line crumbles so will the rest of the offense; these coaches realize this and will get it right.
Junior slot back Alfred McDaniel looks like might be the new game breaker that Army needs. He's a true speedster; he can flat out fly. Saturday he rushed for 55 yards on six carries and had a 35-yard run. West Point football has been dogged by Navy's speed for the past several years. Yet here is a guy that is faster than Reggie Campbell and Shun White and he plays for the good guys. [LINK]
While Army's offense certainly has some things to work on, the Army defense, as expected, has played well during the preseason. Senior defensive tackle Victor Ugenyi, probably the best player on the Army team, terrorized the offensive line all through Saturday's scrimmage. Last year he had 4 sacks and 6 tackles for losses to go along with his 36 tackles. I expect those numbers to improve as he takes advantage of his role in Army's new swarm defense. Look for Ugenyi to be named to the Scout.com All-Service Academy team that is due to be released later on this week. Defensive end Joshua McNary and linebacker Stephen Anderson should also be shoe ins to make the team.
Last week I wrote about a California prep kicker named Stephen Picchini who has Navy ties and is being recruited by Army. There is yet another California kicker that Army is also in the mix for. Southern California punter Jeremy Stein, who earned all state recognition from ESPN/CalHiSports after his junior season, is hearing from Army. He is also hearing from Air Force, Purdue, Northwestern and several Ivy League Schools. Although his older brother, Eric, is playing football at Navy, according to his parents Army definitely has a shot.
The USA Today recently picked Eastern Michigan as a 5.5 point favorite to beat Army in the opening game in Ypsilanti, Mich. EMU has a new head coach, Ron English, who is one of the few black head coaches in America. He hired former Michigan and NFL great Tyrone Wheatley as his running backs coach. Not much news has come out of the EMU preseason camp. Phil Steele's preseason college football guide picks the Eagles to finish last in one of the MAC divisions and rates EMU as having the worst secondary and next to worst running backs in that league. The team's defensive line is also among the bottom three worst in the MAC.
Navy's football preseason practice is also in full swing. Bill Wagner of the Annapolis Capital reports that Mids quarterback Ricky Dobbs looks sharp. He finished Saturday's scrimmage completing 8 of 9 passes for 176 yards. One position of concern for the Mids is the center spot where there is a sloppy battle being waged between two sophomores. [LINK]
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