WR Aaron Alexander

2003 Statistics

Coach: Bobby Ross
1st year
2003 Record: 0-13
at TCU LOST 0-27
at Louisville LOST 10-34
at Cincinnati LOST 29-33
at UAB LOST 9-24
at Air Force LOST 3-31
at Hawaii LOST 28-59
vs. Navy LOST 6-34

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Ross had quick successes turning around Maryland, the San Diego Chargers and the Detroit Lions. Georgia Tech went 2-9 and 3-8 in his first two seasons there before posting a winning record, but that project looks almost tame compared to this one, which has to be the toughest the 67-year-old veteran has taken on in his 40 years as a coach.

To his credit, Ross has no delusions of any miracles. He's focusing instead on the long-term, a logical, methodical path for a program at rock bottom that needs fundamentals first. While he might not get a win this fall, Ross has restored some excitement in what was once the game's proudest program. He brings name recognition, and, as a former player at VMI and coach at The Citadel, has respect for what his players face off the field.

It wasn't that long ago (1996, to be exact) that Army went 10-2 and made it to a bowl game. So the mission facing Ross, while long, isn't impossible. He's instilling a streamlined attitude -- his players are being asked to forget their responsibilities as cadets when they get to practice, and academic tutors will no longer accompany the team on road trips.

Still, Ross and his staff have to recruit and develop bigger, faster players. In the meantime, he's lifting Berry's voluntary reduction of the roster to 130 players. Ross expects to have more than 50 freshmen. He's also switched the uniforms back to the style Army wore in the 1940s. But a more satisfying return to tradition would be a win against the Midshipmen, who pounded the Knights by a combined 92-18 the previous two seasons.

That looks to be the best-case scenario as Ross begins what will likely be his last coaching assignment in this improved conference, with no easy games on the non-conference schedule. But give him time. Victories here will be found in marginal dimensions of character building. Things can't get much worse than they've been the past two years.

Projected 2004 record: 2-9
DE Odene Brathwaite
QB - 2.5 DL - 2
RB - 2 LB - 2
WR - 2 DB - 2
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Zac Dahman, 436-230-19, 2234 yds., 11 TD

Rushing: Carlton Jones, 194 att., 632 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Aaron Alexander, 64 rec., 861 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: Carlton Jones, 8 TD, 48 pts.

Punting: Tom Dyrenforth, 5 punts, 32.2 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Greg Washington, 129 tot., 66 solo

Sacks: Odene Brathwaite, 3.5 sacks

Interceptions: Greg Washington, 3 for 40 yds.

Kickoff returns: Scott Wesley, 6 ret., 23.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Ray Stith, 13 ret., 9.5 avg., 1 TD


OFFENSE: Clint Woody-WR, William White-WR, Anthony Zurisko-K
DEFENSE: Keenan Beasley-DE, Ryan Kent-OLB, Brian Hill-ILB, Alex Bradford-P

We're talking about a team with one win in its previous two seasons, a team tabbed to be the worst in Division I-A by Lindy's and 116th out of 117 by Athlon. So to point to this area as a weakness might, by now, seem redundant. But someone has needed to step up and lead the offense for three years now (we'll save the usual clichés for some other time). New head coach Bobby Ross won't pick a starter until fall practice, but says he has it down to athletic junior Reggie Nevels, the experienced Zac Dahman, and strong-armed senior Matt Silva. The skinny is on Nevels, though don't be surprised to see a rotation. Nevels won the starting job the previous two seasons but saw both seasons ruined due to injuries. He was healthy and productive in the spring, completing 7-of-8 for 106 yards and two TDs in the scrimmage. Nevels might not be the best passer of the trio, but with Ross switching to a two-back, run-oriented attack, his arm isn't as important.

Running Back
Ross picked a good time to focus on the ground game. He has the backs to get the job done in potential standout Carlton Jones and capable reserve Seth Gulsby. Expect Jones' carries to dramatically increase under Ross. He's useful in the passing game as well, having finished third on the team in receptions. Gulsby, who was one of the stars of the spring game, will take some of the load off Jones' shoulders without the Knights losing much. Ditto for fullback Tielor Robinson, a converted halfback who will get plenty of carries. None of these guys will blow anyone away, but each has shown those workhorse characteristics needed in this attack.

Seniors Aaron Alexander and William White are back to provide a pair of consistent targets. The two combined for 104 catches last fall with Alexander putting up the better numbers. An athletic 6-6, Alexander is a serious deep threat, while the quicker White is a solid possession receiver. There's some speed to back them up, led by Lamar Mason and Jacob Murphy, though this unit isn't overly quick. The strategy will be to throw to open up the run, and this group has the ability to create a little room for Jones and Co., even if it's by blocking downfield.

Tight End
Pass-happy former coach Todd Berry didn't use this spot much in his schemes, but Ross will need it (often in two-TE doses) to run the ball. Sophomore Tim Dunn had the edge coming out of spring, though projected starter Doug Horaist (shoulder) missed the entire spring and could be back by the fall. Either is the bruising blocker Ross has in mind here. That being said, junior Jared Ulekowski emerged as a capable receiver this spring and will get some looks. Most importantly, these guys can all go helmet-to-helmet for whenever the ball carrier comes there way.

Offensive Line
Though not huge or athletic by Division I-A standards, Army returns a gritty, experienced line that should lead to a better (though not overwhelming) ground game. The focal point will be Joel Glover, a third-year starter at left tackle. Seth Nieman, the elephant of the unit at 292 pounds, returns at right tackle. The middle spots are up for grabs between six players who each have starting experience. We're not talking Nebraska here, but this O-line reflects the "baby steps" forward Ross is stressing.

Army was last in Division I-A in running the ball last year, thanks largely to a pass-happy mindset. It's hard to fathom those numbers being worse with the switch in offensive focus and the return of some solid players in the backfield and on the line. A decent ball-control game will also be important for the defense (which is able to give up points whenever on the field). And if this offense can get anything out of the passing game, it might actually surprise weaker teams. Most of these guys got plenty of experience passing and catching the ball under Berry, so that's not a stretch. But, at this point, any offensive improvement would be acceptable. Just don't expect any of these guys, with the possible exception of Jones, to be stars.


RB Carlton Jones


Returning Starters in bold
QB Zac Dahman-Jr (6-0, 172) Reggie Nevels-Sr (6-0, 198)
Matt Silva-Sr (6-1, 208)
FB Tielor Robinson-So (5-11, 220) Gary Whidden-Sr (5-10, 209)
RB Carlton Jones-Jr (5-9, 195) Seth Gulsby-Jr (6-2, 202)
WR Blaine Cooper-Jr (6-0, 192) Bruce Brown-Jr (5-10, 175)
WR Aaron Alexander-Sr (6-6, 199) Walter Hill-So (5-11, 187)
TE Doug Horaist-Sr (6-3, 238) Tim Dunn-So (6-4, 243)
Jared Ulekowski-Jr (6-3, 235)
OT Joel Glover-Sr (6-5, 283) Nathan Collier-So (6-6, 294)
OG Andy Dytrych -Sr (6-2, 281) Adam Wojcik-Sr (6-3, 282)
C David Evetts-Sr (6-1, 275) Justin Troy-Sr (6-2, 285)
OG Pete Bier-Jr (6-4, 289) Miles Murray-So (6-2, 260)
OT Seth Nieman-Sr (6-5, 292) Jonathan Connon-So (6-6, 313)
K Austin Miller-So (6-2, 197) Justin Koenig-So (5-10, 169)
Joe Riley-Jr (5-10, 210)



Defensive Line
List 'lack of size on the defensive front' as another concern. There's plenty of experience, though this unit was hard-hit by injuries last time and never came together. Ross spent the spring trying to settle on a rotation, a task he's sure to take into the fall. The emphasis will be on stopping the run, an area Army ranked 106th. Senior Odene Brathwaite was the team's best pass-rusher, which is indicative of the pressure (or lack thereof) these guys can bring. Though starters return, Ross hinted that he's expecting some freshmen to challenge for spots. This is a work in progress, probably throughout the entire fall.

This was the only area of the team that took a hit with graduations. The lone returning starter, senior Greg Washington, will be the closest thing to a foundation on this defense. He's quick, effective against the run and/or pass, and is a vicious hitter (as Gulsby found out on a third-and-one situation in the spring game). The defense will mainly use 4-2-5 and traditional 4-3-4 sets, with senior Matt Maimone on the field most of the time as a Sam or Mike backer. More suited to be a run-stopper, Maimone earned most-improved honors in the spring. Another senior, speedy Mikel Resnick, will start at the Whip position, a rover spot that will comprise the third LB in the 4-3-4. Sophs Cason Shrode and Barrett Scruggs played well in the spring and will see time in reserve. This isn't a bad group as each of these guys has speed, though the unit won't get enough help from the front four.

Defensive Back
This area was a shade better than the run defense, ranking 94th in the country against the pass. Most of the starters return, with free safety Dhyan Tarver, the secondary's best tackler, leading the bunch. There's speed and experience at the corners, though neither projected starter (Delente Brewer and Ray Stith) is a top-cover guy. Look for senior CB Jonathan Lewis, another player who had a decent spring, to see plenty of time. Curt Daniels (67 stops) was moved to strong safety and will try to team with Resnick to provide a physical presence in the secondary. This means Resnick, the best athlete on this defense, has been freed up and needs to make some big plays. There should be improvement here, but don't expect anything drastic.

Army was 110th in scoring defense and 111th in total defense. The talent levels of the eight returning starters don't scream big improvement, they warn of cleat-marked cadet faces to come. If anything gets better, it'll be the run defense. The front six/seven have had plenty of practice in stopping the run since Ross' arrival. But, while there's undoubtedly plenty of fire on this side of the ball, there simply isn't enough ability to finish and therefore compete in (what's expected to be) a better Conference USA. Unless the offense can score 40 per night, don't expect Army to be in many games late.


LB Greg Washington


Returning Starters in bold
DE Will Sullivan-Sr (6-3, 255) Cameron Craig-So (6-3, 236)
DT Dan Evans-Jr (6-2, 275) Doug Meyer-Jr (6-4, 250)
DT Trey Landry-Sr (6-2, 281) Seth Lotts-Jr (6-2, 244)
DE Odene Brathwaite-Sr (6-4, 269) Tommy Ryan-Jr (6-2, 266)
SLB Greg Washington-Sr (6-0, 218) Barrett Scruggs-So (6-0, 206)
MLB Matt Maimone-Sr (6-2, 220) Cason Shrode-So (6-2, 229)
WHIP Mikel Resnick-Sr (6-0, 215) Randy Chasten-So (6-2, 201)
CB Delente Brewer-Sr (5-11, 186) Ray Stith-Jr (5-10, 173)
CB Jonathan Lewis-Sr (5-10, 195) Sean Grevious-So (5-10, 170)
SS Curt Daniels-Sr (5-11, 197) Chuck Wilke-Jr (6-0, 189)
FS Dhyan Tarver-Jr (6-1, 181) Rob Davis-Jr (5-11, 182)
Bryan Vavruska-So (6-1, 195)
P Tom Dyrenforth-Jr (5-9, 187) Austin Miller-So (6-2, 197)




Anthony Zurisko has graduated, and none of his would-be successors attempted a field goal in '03. Miller, a Texas product, has the best leg and could see double duty, though he was inconsistent in spring. Army's kickoff coverage was actually a bright spot last fall, ranking second in Conference USA at 17.3 yards per attempt. Too bad the Knights won't get to kick off much.

As if there's not enough to worry about, returning starter Alex Bradford had a lousy spring and will duel with soph placekicker Austin Miller for the job this fall. Army was 111th in Division I-A in net punting, so, like most areas of this program, the emphasis is on improvement.

Return Game
Ross has something to work with here. White should get plenty of touches returning kicks again. He finished fourth in the conference at 23.8 yards per attempt. Stith was fifth in Conference USA with a 9.5-yard average per punt, which included a 63-yard TD. Only four I-A teams received fewer punts than Army (20).