QUARTERBACK - David Pevoto.
2005 stats: 6-12, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INTs. New
As the backup for Army last year, David Pevoto only played in the fourth quarter of the loss to Connecticut. At 6'5, 229 pounds, Pevoto has plenty of arm strength, but accuracy and a lack of experience should hold him back some at the beginning of the season. For as big as he is he's decently mobile, so he should be able to move around in the pocket and maybe even run the occasional option play. Depth: Pat McDonald and walk-on Kevin Dunn are on the roster as backups, but many Army fans are excited about incoming freshman Carson Williams. The 6'5 QB turned down offers from NC State, Vandy, and Arkansas to attend West Point. If Pevoto struggles initially, maybe Williams will be the starting QB when the Black Knights visit South Bend in October.
RUNNING BACK - TBD.
Army was hit hard by graduation and the "running back by committee" approach just might be the name of the game. (You know things are rough when you can't find a good action picture of any of the candidates on the internet). Ricky Lay, who has switched from quarterback to wide receiver to running back, has size at 6'4", but only got one carry in the Army spring game, which is never a good sign for a future starter. Depth: If Lay or converted linebacker Michael Herndon doesn't get the call first, it will probably fall to one of four sophomores. Jamal Robinson just might be the starter by the time the Black Knights play the Irish but there is a lot for the small (5'7" 178 lbs) sophomore to work on. He is quick and shifty, but Coach Ross suggested he really needs to work on his hands. Sophomores Wesley McMahand, Jerry Jones, and Tony Dace round out the completely green depth chart. Starting fullback Mike Viti returns and his 4 rushing attempts last year are the most of any running back on the roster.
Jeremy Trimble. 42 receptions, 535 yards, 4 TDs. Returning starter.
Walter Hill. 34 receptions, 410 yards, 2 TDs. Returning starter.
Army returns its top two receivers and Jeremy Trimble (right) should be the go-to-guy in the Black Knight offense. He's quick and experienced and was named an all-CUSA Freshman in 2004, while leading the team in receptions in 2005. Senior Walter Hill has good hands, is solid over the middle, and has experience experience but is more of a possession type receiver than deep threat. Depth: Corey Anderson isn't very big at 5-8, but the speedster is one of the fastest players on the team and a good kick returner. Senior Mike Castelli and 6-4 sophomore Elliot Emmerich had solid springs but might not see many passes thrown their way initially.
Tim Dunn. 4 receptions, 31 yards, 0 TDs. New starter.
Army ran plenty of two tight end sets last year, so while Tim Dunn is technically the new starter at tight end, he saw the field plenty. However, as his stats attest, he wasn't really an option in the passing game. A decent blocker, Dunn will need to gain the confidence of his coaches and QBs if he wants to be more of a receiving threat. Depth: Justin Larson probably will become the receiving tight end in the offense though, leaving more of the blocking to Dunn. The junior presents a tall target at 6-5, 236 pounds.
LT - Ray Zelenak. Returning starter.
LG - Dan Evans. Returning starter.
C - Pete Bier. (#30 C) Returning starter.
RG - Matt Weisner. Returning starter.
RT - Jonathan Connon. Returning starter.
Army is the only team on the 2006 schedule where all 5 offensive lineman return playing the same position they did in 2005. However, while the line as a whole has some potential and the returning experience helps, many of the players are average at best. Pete Bier at center is a team leader and one of the rare 4 year starters, although he did miss the spring while recovering from surgery. The only lineman listed who didn't start all 11 games last year is Ray Zelenak who broke into the starting lineup over the last four games of the season. At only 262 pounds, he's small by most left tackle standards. Depth: Probably rotating with Zelenak will be big sophomore Brandon Cox who brings much more size at 6-4, 292 pounds.
Brandon Thompson. 20 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 PBU. Returning starter.
Tony Fusco. 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL. Returning starter.
Travis Prikryl. New starter.
Cameron Craig. 56 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 TFL. Returning starter.
The Black Knights return a veteran defensive line that pretty good size and should be moderately effective this year. Cameron Craig (right) is one of the team's leaders and a strong pass rusher with 10 career sacks in 19 starts. At the other end position is junior Brandon Thompson, who earned praise during the spring for his continuing development as a run-stopping defensive end. Tony Fusco is the 308 pound man in the middle who will free up the defensive ends with his penetrating style of play. He had an impressive 7.5 tackles for loss last year, which is very good number for a defensive tackle. Travis Prikryl is the lone new starter on the line but should benefit from being surrounded by returning starters on all sides. Depth: John Wright started two games last year and provides another pass-rushing defensive end if Craig or Thompson need a sub. Likewise, Peter Harrington will backup Prikryl and Fusco in the middle, but he'll need to add some more size because at 255 pounds he's going to get pushed around.
SLB- Charlie Rockwood. 15 tackles, 2 TFL. Returning starter.
MLB - Cason Schrode. 69 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 TFL. Returning starter.
WLB - Barrett Scruggs. (#59 - OLB) 80 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
Barrett Scruggs (left) is the best player on the linebacker line and the former safety is extremely capable in pass coverage. At 213 pounds he might have some trouble with bigger backs, but he did finish 2nd on the team in tackles last year. Cason Schrode mans the middle linebacker position and he finished 3rd on the team in tackles last year. At 250 pounds he's a load and his 11 career starts give him a good amount of experience too. Charlie Rockwood was named the strongside starter last year and started three games before a season ending injury knocked him out for the year. Back and healthy, the Black Knight coaching staff have high hopes that his athleticism pays off in the form of sideline to sideline coverage. Depth: Luke Pell started six games last year in Rockwood's absence and provides a veteran presence off the bench. Sophomore Frank Scappaticci impressed the coaching staff in the spring and from his backup spot behind Scruggs will likely see playing time as he is groomed as a future starter.
CB - Kevin Opuko. New starter.
CB - Sean Grevious. 3 tackles, 1 PBU. New starter.
FS - Jordan Murray. 3 tackles. New starter.
SS - Caleb Campbell. (#21 - SS) 97 tackles, 2 TFL, 5 INT, 3 PBU. Returning starter.
Caleb Cambell (left) is the best player in the Army secondary and one of the better strong safeties that the Irish will face. He'll have a lot of weight on his shoulders as the rest of the Black Knight secondary is extremely inexperienced. Jordan Murray fills in at the starting free safety spot after a very strong showing in the spring. He hasn't only played in a few games, but has impressed the coaching staff with his development so far. The corners are about as green as they come with Kevin Opuko, a former Army walk-on, getting his first taste of Army football once he steps on the field as a starter. Sean Grevious played in a handful of snaps last year but did win the Army's "Most Improved Player" award for his work during spring practice. Depth: Markenson Pierre has earned high expectations for his work in practice but the sophomore, like many of the Army backups, is very inexperienced and will need playing time in order to develop.