With uncertainty surrounding Ahmad Bradshaw, Army will apparently leave no stone unturned when it comes to the triggerman for its offense.
While Bradshaw, the Black Knights’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, will be a cadet at the service academy this fall, it’s unclear — or even unlikely — that he’ll be permitted to play football in 2018. In December of last year, the Army defended an internal investigation that concluded Bradshaw and a female cadet had a consensual sexual relationship.
“We are,” head coach Jeff Monken said according to the Times Herald-Record when asked if the football team is moving forward under the assumption that Bradshaw will not be available this season. “We kind of have to move in that direction because we don’t know what the status is going to be. Right now, we are just preparing for us to have a new quarterback.”
With that in mind, Monken also confirmed this week “that sophomore slotback Kell Walker ‘will probably’ get a look at quarterback when the Black Knights open spring practice Tuesday,” Sal Interdonato of HudsonValley.com wrote. Walker, who was third on the Black Knights in rushing last season (629 yards) and led them in yards per carry at 7.3, has never played quarterback before at any level.
Army, of course, is unique in that its offense allows them to even attempt such an experiment as their run-heavy system resulted in just 65 passes in 13 games last season. Conversely, they led the nation in rushing at 362.3 yards per game.
“We will probably play him there some just to see what he is capable of doing,” Monken said of Walker by way of the Herald-Record. “We obviously want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can. He’s a good player for us. I think that would be a way to do that. I just don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that can lead our offense.
“The leadership piece for the quarterback is maybe as important as anything. I think he’s a good leader whether he will be able to lead from that position I do not know.”
The potential loss of Bradshaw, though, can’t be understated. As a junior last season, Bradshaw ran for a school-record 1,746 yards and accounted for 14 of the Black Knights’ 50 rushing touchdowns.
The Walker experiment notwithstanding, Kelvin Hopkins will likely head into the spring as the favorite to replace Bradshaw under center. The sophomore was the only player other than Bradshaw to attempt a pass last season, throwing 18 times (six completions) for 76 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards.