September 8, 2011

Army's offense will need wake-up call against SDSU

Against NIU, Army did not play well in every facet of the game and did not show the typical Black Knights' energy and emotion that was part of their trade mark in 2010..

Last year, this ball club played on the edge, but then again, it had several seniors who had that on the edge temperament. Players like Steve Anderson, Mike Gann or Josh McNary carried that swagger and it always appeared that that had fun playing the game.

This 2011 team will now have to develop their own identity and do so quickly ..... as in, by Saturday. Because this weekend, enters a San Diego State team that is a Top 25 caliber. And if the Black Knights are going to keep these game within reach, it will have to start and end with their offense.

Speaking of the offense ... there are a few question marks that could change Saturday's formula.

Both starting fullback Jared Hassin and slotback Malcolm Brown remain under the watchful eye of the coaching staff for health reasons.

Malcolm is probably going to be a game time decision. The junior running back is still pretty sore, although he practiced on Thursday and the coaching staff will assess his condition afterwards.

"I'm hoping that he can play and be as productive as last week, but I wouldn't count on it," shares Shields, who also was uncertain of his junior fullback's status as well.

Hassin is probable to play ... he played poorly last week, but I think most of that was health related.

Hassin has had some lingering back issues that manifested itself recently and surely impacted Army's most productive offensive weapon. Like Brown, the junior fullback status for Saturday's contest against SDSU will be a game time decision.

There is a strong possibility that the Black Knights could line-up with a starting trio behind quarterback Trent Steelman in Raymond Maples at one slotback spot along with freshmen Trenton Turrentine and Larry Dixon at the other slot and fullback positions respectively.

But the man who is the Jack-of-all-Trades, is Jonathan Crucitti, who could find himself stepping into the starting role if Brown is unable to get the call on Saturday. That decision could fall under which play the offense is calling.

"Between Maples, Crucitti and Turrentine ... those are the three guys who are going to play those two positions (slotback).

And when asked about the status of slotback Brian Cobbs, Shields indicated that the speedy back has been taking practice reps at the corner position that has been depleted over the past few months. Having Cobbs on that side of the ball speaks to the staff's concern with the speed level of San Diego State.

Wide Receiver

The quartet of Jared McFarlin, Anthony Stephens Davyd Brooks and Chevaughn Lawrence will be the main targets for Steelman on Saturday.

However, senior Austin Barr returns and will try to fight his way into the rotation.

Offensive Line

Not only are their backfield concerns, but game one also netted a significant injury on the offensive line.

In the case of starting center, Michael Kime(MoMo), there is no such thing as game time decision .... the verdict is already in for the up and coming offensive lineman. "He's out and we probably won't have him for 4-6 weeks," shares a disappointed Shields.

When Kime went down during the 2nd quarter of last weekend's game against NIU, both Will Wilson and freshman Ryan Powis were able receive game reps.

"Will came in and did some things and Powis played as well and did some good things," adds Shields.

Powis has the ability and probably has the most upside of the three centers, but he is still is a work in progress when it comes the details of the role and what to do as the man in middle. That will be an extreme challenge this weekend based on a Aztec defense that presents a variety of different looks.

As such, look for Wilson to get the nod on Saturday.

Tidbits: It should be noted that fullback Dan McGue is no longer part of the ball club and Hayden Tippett will be behind Hassin and Dixon. Simply put, McGue decided that he no longer had the passion to play football anymore.

GoBlackKnights takes a brief look at who will be the main offensive weapons for Army on Saturday.

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