Geoff Bacon’s move from middle linebacker to free safety this spring may not be permanent, coach Rich Ellerson said.
But, Bacon, Army’s top tackler last season, appears to be picking up on his new position.
Bacon delivered one of the biggest hits during Monday’s morning practice on sophomore running back Trenton Turrentine in an Army vs. Army scrimmage play. He read the play running right, flew in from the secondary and dropped Turrentine for a 2-yard loss. Bacon also stacked up Terry Baggett at the line with the help of Bobby Kough, who contained the edge.
Ellerson is trying junior Hayden Tippett, the team’s backup fullback last season and sophomore Gino DeBartolo, a converted quarterback, at middle linebacker this spring. Freshmen Alex Meier and Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires could be options in August training camp. Meier will be coming off an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Fusilier-Jeffires is sitting out the spring to concentrate on academics.
“Meier is a possibility,” Ellerson said. “FJ (Fusilier-Jeffires) is a possibility. Geoff is a possibility. The good news is there is a similar skill set (between middle linebacker and free safety). Everybody we are talking about can play a little bit of football.”
“What we are doing this spring is really helping Geoff. Geoff is better whatever he is because we have kind of stretched him, moved him and put him more space and forced him to adapt to more things and see things a little differently.”
Sophomore starting center Ryan Powis (knee) did not participate in practice. Freshman middle linebacker Marcus Poling is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Freshman quarterback Kelvin White, who was injured in Saturday’s scrimmage, junior tackle Dan Whitaker and freshman running back Brandon Schmidt were wearing red no-contact jerseys. White worked with the first team during Army’s scrimmage Saturday. Ellerson said, “Kelvin will come back I think. But, I missed having him today.”
Army’s depth chart continues to revolve. Ellerson suggested some positions could change daily.
Sophomore quarterback Angel Santiago took most of the snaps with the first team in Army vs. Army. Sophomores Terry Baggett, Larry Dixon, Stephen Fraser and Trenton Turrentine were in the backfield. Junior Patrick Laird and Anthony Stephens and sophomore Chevaughn Lawrence worked with the first team at wide receiver. The offensive line was: sophomore Nick Bennett (left tackle), junior Andrew Szott (left guard), sophomore Todd McDonald (center); sophomore Steve Shumaker (right guard) and freshman Justin Gilbert (right tackle). Junior Zach Reichert rotated in at guard. Ellerson praised Szott, who played two years behind three-year starter Frank Allen, for his improvement.
Members of the first-team defense were: sophomore DE Bobby Kough; freshman DT T.J. Atimalala; sophomore DE Joe Drummond; freshman LB Dalton Mendenhall; sophomore LB James Kelly; junior Hayden Tippett; junior rover Thomas Holloway; freshman CB Shaquille Tolbert; freshman CB Chris Carnegie; sophomore DB Issac Winters; sophomore S Geoff Bacon. Freshman DE Ryan Alexander and junior DE Jarrett Mackey worked in with the first team.
Carnegie broke up a 20-yard sideline pass intended for Lawrence. Stephens made a diving 30-yard catch just cradling the pass before it hit the turf.
Freshman QB A.J. Schurr was working outside on Howze Field with a backfield of sophomore Tony Giovannelli; freshman Matt Giachinta and junior Julian Crockett. Sophomores Mike Ugenyi and Richard Glover were rotating in with freshman Wyatt Wilkerson and Shane Finnane on the defensive line against Schurr’s team. Junior DE Holt Zalneraitris and freshman Jacob Owens also split snaps on the edge.
Army new offensive line coaches Tom Simi and Todd Spencer are fiery. Simi could be heard across the Foley Athletic Center when he was instructing his linemen. Spencer was pumping up the offense during Army vs. Army scrimmaging on Howze Field. “Great way to start off a Monday morning,” Spencer told the offense in between plays.