Bryson Daily jogged with the first-team offense to the 10-yard line.
Red-zone offense and red-zone defense would be the emphasis to start Army’s first preseason scrimmage.
Army’s offense was pushed to fourth down on all four series starting at the 10. Quartertbacks Daily, sophomore Dewayne Coleman and freshmen Larry Robinson and Champ Harris each received a series in that order. Daily scored on a short TD run to finish his series.
“I wish we could start every drive there,” Daily said. “When we get down into that territory, we are thinking score and that was awesome to score that and get that mentality to score and get in the box on that first drive.”
Coleman willed his way into the end zone with a force at the goal. The defense stepped up on the last two series when safety Tommy Zitiello sacked Robinson on fourth down and Harris was stopped short of the goal line.
The first-team defense appeared to be DE Austin Hill, NT Kyle Lewis, DE Chris Frey, OLB Trey Sofia, Apache Chance Keith, LB Leo Lowin, LB Spencer Jones, CB Jabari Moore, CB Cam Jones, S Quindrelin Hammonds with Max DiDomenico and Casey Larkin seeing snaps at the other safety.
Didn’t see captain Jimmy Ciarlo or cornerback Bo Nicolas-Paul on the field in action.
Coleman hooked up with sophomore Taylor Saulsberry for a 25-yard touchdown on a corner route. Linebacker Andon Thomas recovered a fumble on an errant pitch. Linebacker Eric Ford batted down a pass on the rush. Safeties Max DiDomenico and Casey Larkin (we will have a story on Larkin) recorded tackles for loss.
“Max continues to impress me,” Monken said. “Just a really good football player. If you put him in a track meet, he wouldn’t come in first. If you had him standing with a bunch of guys, he’d be one of the shorter guys. But, he’s just tough, rugged and plays the game really hard.”
Army’s defense is ahead of the offense as usually can be the case in preseason especially with the Black Knights operating a new shotgun scheme.
“I thought the defense really outshined the offense in terms of their performance and execution,” Monken said. “There were a lot of 3-and-outs. That was a good job by the defense. Far too many negative yardage plays for the offense.”
Monken said there was plenty to clean up from the veterans on both sides of the ball.
“Mistakes,” Monken said. “Missed tackles, Dropped passes. Just not effective sustaining blocks, It’s all fundamental. We got to get a lot better at the fundamentals.”
Noah Short continues to be productive in his move from defense to slot receiver. Short caught four passes in the scrimmage on short routes that he turned up the field. Catching the ball is just a part of receiver’s job description in the shotgun offense. The sophomore talks about it in this YouTube Short.
Champ Harris threw a touchdown pass to Chris Williams during the freshmen scrimmage. Monken said Harris and Robinson have had both good camps. The freshmen are currently the No. 3 and No. 4 quarterbacks.
“They have a long way to go from a mental standpoint and a fundamental standpoint,” Monken said. “But, I think they can get there. One of those guys is going to be the three (third-string quarterback) and you know how close that is going into a game when you are playing with us.
Army kickers were perfect on their field goals that we watched – Quinn Maretzki (41 yards), Cole Talley (28 yards), Charlie Barnett (28 yards) and Carlos Alvarado (20 yards). Have noticed more than usual that kicks are booming off the foot of Maretzki, Talley and Barnett this preseason.
Zane Poulter recorded a sack and Jamir Reyes had a tackle for loss during the plebe session. (Apologize for not having more details of the freshmen scrimmage as we were conducting interviews with veteran players at the time)