Army wraps up spring drills with scrimmage
Chip Bowden (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Posted Apr 11, 2009


New Army coach Rich Ellerson didn't pull out all the stops, but Black Knight fans caught a glimpse of what they are going to see this fall. This seems like a product everyone should be proud of.

Although the final score really doesn't matter, the Black Squad beat the Gold squad 20-0 in the last scrimmage of the spring. What does matter is that there were several strong performances, which gives more hope for the 2009 season.

For starters, starting quarterback Chip Bowden finished the game 7-for-10 for 58 yards and rushed for 90 on just six carries. Projected back-up Max Jenkins connected on 2-of-10 passes for 49 yards. That included a 38-yard touchdown to the tallest wide receiver in college, converted offensive lineman Ali Villanueva. Jenkins rushed for 39 yards and scored on a 9-yard touchdown.

Last year's starter, Carson Williams, who doesn't figure to be the starter, quarterbacked the Gold team. The Gold side ran a composite offense and defense that featured things the Black Knights expect to see from their opponents in the fall. Williams, a rising senior, was 6-of-16 for 33 yards with two interceptions. He led the Gold with 47 rushing yards. Although many fans have written Williams off, Ellerson did have some kind words to say to about him.

“He took an awful lot of reps last year, and he’s been out there,” Ellerson said. “He’s a guy that doesn’t struggle under the lights. He understands the tempo of a football game, and he has a great presence. He continues to be a part of it. We’ve thinned out the quarterback ranks a little bit so those guys are getting meaningful reps so it stays competitive.”

Still, Bowden still is the man under center, but watch out. Jenkins, a rising sophomore, might make a run at the starter job. At the very least, Jenkins is being groomed to be a very suitable back-up. Quality depth at quarterback has been a problem for during its decade of struggles.

“We felt like Max has gained on Chip a little bit and we wanted to see what they both looked like running with the same offense," Ellerson said. "Quarterbacks in our offense are like doctors. The first thing they have to do is do no harm. They have to be an operator. They have to take care of the football. They have to distribute the football. They have to be able to make decisions at the line of scrimmage. The only way you grow is to get out there under the lights with some bad guys and test yourself. We’re not those guys just yet, but we’re gaining on it. We’re better.”

Army is better! That's music to Black Knights' fans ears! The defense, which will run Ellerson's Desert Storm defense, is also improving. Standouts during the scrimmage included Defensively, linebacker Steve Erzinger, who made a game-high eight tackles. Andrew Rodriguez made five tackles, including one behind the line. Marcus Hilton, Victory Ugenyi and Chris Swain also notched tackles for loss. Donovan Travis and Mario Hill recorded interceptions for the Black squad, while Daniel Hinkson was responsible for the Gold team’s only interception.

Army will resume action on the field with preseason camp this summer. The Black Knights open the season on Sept. 5 at Eastern Michigan.



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