August 15, 2010

Summer 2101 - Inside the Huddle: The Defensive Line

INSIDE THE HUDDLE:

The high note for the 2009 Black Knights was their defense. And despite often playing at a deficit because of the inconsistency of the Army offense … when the final chapter was closed for the season, the "swarm" defense finished 16th overall in the nation in total defense.

With just 23 days away from their opening kickoff against Eastern Michigan, this is a very focused and confident unit that only has only two starters gone from last year; defensive tackle Victor Ugenyi and cornerback Mario Hill. Even with both players moving on to the military careers, there may actually be an upgrade in talent in those respective roles. Richard King returns to the roster and steps in where Hill left off and Jarrett Mackey moves from the outside to the inside and adds a different dimension than Ugenyi.

GoBlackKnights.com now takes a look at the defensive unit, starting with the guys up front … the defensive line.

Defensive Line

Pre-season All American Josh McNary sets the tempo up front. After post season surgery and extensive rehab, the 6-foot-1, 235 explosive quick defensive end's came into summer training camp more chiseled than last year … which is hard to believe. Offensive tackles and quarterbacks should take notice.

Like slot back Brian Austin on offense, a surprising name has emerged on the defensive. Todd Miller, commonly known as the "Technician" by his teammates and the staff will back up McNary at the quick spot.

Miller is a guy who has gotten the reps because we moved Mackey and he's a guy who has been right with eyes, feet and hands," shares Co-Defensive Coordinator Payam Saadat .

The senior Miller has been productive through camp.

Marcus Hilton is an experience player and although he only started one game in 2009, he appeared in all twelve contests. The senior defensive end has had a productive summer camp and as it stand right now, will anchor the other end position opposite McNary.

Then you have 6-foot-4, 243 pounder seniorCarson Homme who will supply the support at the two deep behind Hilton.

On the inside you have one of the most underrated performers, but yet productive defensive lineman that has worn the Black & Gold in Mike Gann. The 6-foot-2, 280 senior is not only a gifted presence on the inside; he also serves as one the team's emotional leaders. His fire is contagious and look for him to have a solid 2010 season.

Take your pick when it comes to Gann's backup. Sophomore A.J. Mackey and Junior Chris Swain afford Saadat the depth and flexibility of being able to spell Gann with two players like Swain and Mackey to step in. Last season, Swain played in 11 of the 12 contest.

At the "Bandit" spot, sophomore Jarrett Mackey has locked that down the position that was occupied last year by Victor Ugenyi. At the conclusion of spring practice, the talented 6-foot-2, 230 pound defender shared in an interview with GoBlackKnights.com that his goal has always been to start and that would be his focus coming into summer training camp. However, playing behind McNary would not afford Mackey that opportunity, but he brings too much to the show not to receive significant game day reps.

"Jarrett being moved over is a simple fact that he is one of our best eleven and we have to get him on the field," declares Saadat.

So he has been moved to the inside, where his strength and athletic ability are ideal for the Black Knights' attack-swarm defense. In this role, you will see Mackey and others play more off than line in the 5-2 look defense versus how Ugenyi was utilized.

Stayed tuned to GoBlackKnights.com as we breakout the linebackers and defensive backs.



...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!