Keys for Army's offense (No. 5)

Trent Steelman (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

ArmySports.com continues its discussion of the keys to Army offensive success in 2010. Today we'll take a look at the quarterback position or specifically, Trent Steelman.

5. Trent in charge.

Last year Trent Steelman became the first Army freshman to start the entire season at quarterback. He showed rather remarkable poise and proved to be a tough and quick option runner. He did a nice job reading opposing defenses and ran the option efficiently. In spring practice he demonstrated natural leadership instincts as he continues to grow in his role as a team leader.

While Steelman is undoubtedly the starter, his performance needs to improve for Army to post a winning season. As a freshman in 2009 his passing, which was affected by a rib injury suffered in the opener against Eastern Michigan, left a lot to be desired as he completed only 49.1 % of his throws. Steelman led the team in rushing but averaged only 3.5 yards per carry.

The natural physical and mental maturation that an FBS football player undergoes between his freshman and sophomore year is usually huge. Steelman has impressed the staff this off season with his hard work and impressive performance in the weight room. Steelman added nearly twenty pounds of muscle to his frame since last season. This spring his passing technique was improved as he was a lot more accurate and confident throwing the ball. On the second offensive series in the Black & Gold game he threw a nice 26-yard pass for a touchdown.

Steelman is the offense's most important player and needs to stay healthy. Last year's backup senior Chip Bowden is rebounding from a serious knee operation. No other quarterbacks on the roster have seen any live varsity game action. It is very difficult to keep an option quarterback healthy all year. Army needs Steelman to take the vast majority of snaps if it hopes to have a winning season.

Next Keys for Army's defense and special teams.

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