Breakdown: Army’s Offense

By Tony Osborne

Trent Steelman will start at quarterback for Army Saturday. Although only a junior, Steelman has a lot of experience, starting 25 straight games. Steelman’s start Saturday against the Huskies will be his 26th straight, which ranks second in Army history behind Leamon Hall’s 30 straight streak from 1975-77. With the Black Knights offense running the triple option, it is obvious that Steelman will be a running threat. In his career, he has ran the ball more than he has passed with 399 attempts for 1,427 yards on the ground.

“Trent is just a great all-around athlete, said NIU middle linebacker Pat Schiller. “Along with the run, he can also throw the ball around a little bit.”

Grade: B

Army presents a problem for most defenses in the sense that they have multiple players who are a running threat with the option offense. Raymond Maples and Malcolm Brown are the featured running backs for Army, with Maples being the big receiver threat out of the backfield.

“A lot of things have been written about Maples, their slot back, as a threat in their passing game,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren.

Yet Army’s most bruising and punishing runner is its fullback Jared Hassin. The junior ran for 1,013 yards last season with nine touchdowns.

“The safeties have to come up and make plays in the running game,” said NIU strong safety Tommy Davis. “In the triple option, you have to have your eyes in the right spot.”

Grade: B+

Army’s passing game is not quite what its running game is. The receivers for the Black Knights are physically built and primarily used as blockers. Senior Davyd Brooks leads the way in receiver experience with 17 catches for 283 yards in two seasons.

“I’m fairly confident that we will be able to keep up with them,” Davis said.

Don’t expect Army to overwhelm NIU with a dominating passing game. The Huskies will have to be sure to not fully commit to the run, or else Steelman will go over the top and burn the secondary.

Grade: C-

The offensive line for the Black Knights is lighter than most, leaving some to believe they are quicker on their feet. Right guard Frank Allen, who weighs in at 275 pounds, is Army’s heaviest lineman. On the opposite end of the spectrum, their lightest lineman, center Michael Kime, comes in at 246 pounds. This could present a matchup problem for the Black Knights, as Steelman could be seeing a lot of NIU defenders raiding and disrupting the line of scrimmage.

Grade: C+