In the trenches: Coach Monken on line play

Army coach Jeff Monken said Monday’s morning practice was the best his offensive line has looked during preseason camp.

But, Monken said he’s still seeing too many missed assignments. Most of the mistakes are coming from freshmen but the coach said, “still some guys that we are going to count on,” are also making miscues.

“We have had some assignments busts,” Monken said after Monday’s practice. “That’s frustrating and we have to get that fixed. They are well-coached. I think coach (Brent) Davis (Army’s offensive coordinator) and the staff on offense do a great job coaching those guys. They are getting better. They are fighting in there. I like the competition.”

An early preseason injury to starting junior tackle Justin Gilbert has forced senior Todd McDonald, a center, to right tackle. The rest of the first-team offensive line has remained intact with senior guard and two-year starter Steve Shumaker the veteran of the group. There’s still some snap issues with junior Matt Hugenberg, who has never played a game in his life at center.

Army is very young on the offensive line and freshmen could push for some playing time or at least a spot on the two-deep. Freshman center Bryce Holland is already playing with the second team. Freshman guard Joe Tustin, listed at 6-foot-1 and 285 pounds, has also looked good.

As for the defensive line, Monken said, “I really, really like (senior nose guard Richard) Glover. He’s such a powerful kid. He’s quick. Joe Drummond (Army’s senior defensive end) has gained 20-25 pounds and he just looks different. We moved (sophomore) Malcolm Hudson from the outside backer to defensive end. Though, he is slightly built, he’s really quick.”

Monken said both lines stay have improvements to make before Army kicks off its season against Buffalo on Sept. 6 at Michie Stadium.

“If I was feeling great about the defensive line, they would completely dominate the offensive line every play and vice versa,” Monken said. “If I was feeling great about the offensive line, they would completely dominate the defensive line every play. I know that our defensive line is going to face offensive lines that are bigger than our and I know our offensive line is going to have to block defensive linemen that are a lot bigger than ours. So unless there’s complete domination by one side or the other, we are certainly not where we need to be yet.”

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