October 26, 2010

Army offense getting ready for VMI

After suffering a very tough loss to Rutgers almost two weeks ago, the Black Knights had an opportunity to regroup both emotionally and physically as their bye week could not have come at a better time.

Going into the game against the Scarlet Knights, there were some players who were a little dinged up, like slotback Patrick Mealy. However, the senior back was resilient against Rutgers where he played most of the game and Raymond Maples played about three snaps.

When the Black Knights take the field this Saturday, they are hoping that the bye week

Mealy's return is very timely, as his starting running partner at the other slot, Malcolm Brown is doubtful against VMI. The sophomore suffered an injury to his collar bone on the play that left Rutgers' defensive tackle Eric LeGrand paralyzed. Ironically, during the NFL's Monday Football telecast, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo also suffered a broken collarbone (fractured left clavicle) and it was reported that his return is in the 5-6 week range. Hopefully, Brown's prognosis for recovery is not as long.

Stepping in for Brown will be fellow sophomore Brian Cobbs, who has been stellar this season. For the Black Knights, there will be little to zero drop off with Cobbs in the lineup. Backing up Cobbs will be freshman Jonathan Crucitti, who is obviously versatile enough to play both slot position. Then there's seldom used Brian Austin, who adds speed to the running back corp and is also ready to step in if called upon.

The availability of center Zach Peterson, who suffered an ankle sprain against Rutgers and will be a game time decision. If unable, senior Tom Hagan will need to be ready to go, as he did against the Scarlet Knights … he came in and held his own.

Mentally Ready

There is no escaping that the loss against Rutgers was bitter and is was a game that they did not put away their opponent. But offensively, there a few positives that the coaching staff is hoping will carry over the game on Saturday versus VMI.

• Two players (Hassin & Trent Steelman) rushed over 100 yards.
• Over 400 yards offensively against the 11th ranked defense in the nation
• In the passing game, the Black Knights continue to improve as they looked pretty good in their passing/receiving game against Rutgers

Speaking of receiving, Davyd Brooks and Austin Barr continue to develop and weapons that defenses need to be aware of. However, George Jordan who probably has more natural talent than the two starters needs to be more consistent in every phase of the game. He has yet to beat them out in practice or in games. Either way, the Black Knights presently have three quality receivers.

Also improving each week is fullback Jared Hassin, who is currently playing at a high level.

"He's just keeps getting better … he's healthy, which is great at this time of the year," shares offensive coordinator Ian Shields. "He's feeling better now than he did in week three. He hadn't played football before this season and he's probably one of the better fullbacks in the country … we're fortunate to have him. It's not a finish product and he can do a lot of things better … but he is playing at a high level right now.

Look for Army to come out with all guns blazing on Saturday, as they host VMI at Michie Stadium. Kickoff is at 12pm (EST).

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