Army tries to overcome injuries

Army tries to overcome injuries

The Army Black Knights football team continues to prepare for their season opener against San Diego on September 8th. The past few weeks have been rather costly with key offensive players Ryan Powis, Malcolm Brown, Ben Jebb, Chevaughn Lawrence and Trenton Turrentine missing practice time with injuries.

Army saw two expected offensive line starters miss extensive time with injuries. Returning center and Remington Trophy watch candidate Ryan Powis injured his left hand and is questionable for the opener. Fortunately it is not the hand Powis has to snap the ball with since he is right handed. In his absence versatile Will Wilson, who started at center last season, has taken his place with the first string. Ben Jebb who was expected to start at left tackle is out. Junior Dan Whitaker has taken his place on the line for now. Whitaker played on the JV as a freshman and saw time in eleven games last year with the varsity

Often injured Malcolm Brown has missed practice since pulling his hamstring. Brown was converted from C-back to wide receiver this summer. Brown had looked very good at receiver before injuring his hamstring during the first scrimmage over a week ago. Army needs Brown to get healthy and back on the field. After playing well this spring sophomore wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence struggled catching the ball early in camp and then injured his leg causing him to miss much needed reps the past week. With Brown and Lawrence out juniors Anthony Stevens, Patrick Laird and E.J. Tucker have seen most of the reps at wide receiver. Gutty junior Scott Williams has benefited the most from the extra playing time by making a number of tough catches in traffic and holding on to virtually every pass thrown his way. Williams saw time returning kicks and at C-back last year. Scott is a big effort player who lacks speed but has some first step quickness and catches the ball. At running back sophomore Trenton Turrentine injured his wrist about a week ago and has been practicing wearing a red no contact jersey.

Over on defense at defensive tackle Mike Ugenyi has continued to improve and is now battling Richard Glover for the starting spot. Mike is the younger brother of former Army defensive line standout Victor Ugenyi. Ugenyi, like his brother, was a late bloomer who's added nearly sixty pounds since his senior year in high school. Mike is not as talented as Victor but his improvement from backup defensive tackle at USMAPS to fighting for a starting spot on the varsity as a sophomore has been impressive. The interior of the Army defensive line remains a concern with all the potential starters unproven with limited playing experience. Bobby Kough continues to hold down the other tackle spot. Rich Ellerson himself spent time working this past week with Kough on his technique. Sophomore Joe Drummond and converted junior defensive end Clayton Keller are also in the tackle rotation. Among the newcomers at defensive tackle Tala "TJ" Atimalala, who was the starting nose guard job last year at United States Military Academy Prep School last fall, and direct admit Evan Finnane have played well but will probably need more seasoning. Projected quick end Jarrett Mackey has still been held out of any meaningful contact but he is said to be ready to go for the opener. Mackey was injured in last season's opener and had knee surgery.

At boundary cornerback junior Tyler Dickson looks to have won the starting job by default over senior Waverly Washington. Washington was hurt early in camp and has not been able to compete. Last year's starter Lamar Johnson Harris was moved to field cornerback in the spring and has struggled with injuries during both spring and summer camps. The player to watch at cornerback is plebe Chris Carnegie who excelled at USMAPS last fall. He is quick, agile, has good speed, can accelerate and change direction quickly. Chris has the man-on-man cover skills to play cornerback in the flex defense.

The kicking battle between senior Eric Osteen and plebe Dan Grochowski has been very competitive. Osteen won the kicking job this spring and has been very consistent. He has been pushed by Grochowski who had an outstanding season at USMAPS last year. This past weekend practice ended with both kickers practicing field goals from 42 yards out. Grochowski hit 9 of 13 overall. Osteen finished the drill nailing 10 of 13. The other Army kicker is Billy Fisher who hit 7 of 13 attempts in the same drill.

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