Army got thrashed in their home stadium on Saturday and though the thrashing wouldn't have been possible if Tulane didn't play well - Army thrashed themselves with a comedy of errors on both sides of the football. Of particular note were Army's 5 fumbles (1 lost) that took the Cadets from a starting the game as a likely favorite, to hanging on for dear life throughout the contest and on to gritty late stage comeback and, seemingly inevitably, a late letdown to Tulane.
Army's defense made Tulane look like an NFL team and considering where these two teams stand at this point in the season... to have that happen at home is not acceptable. It's going to have to be accepted though, because the Jeff Monken regime is just now preparing to start to begin to get ready to play football.
The gains Coach Monken has made may not be obvious on the field, and we're seeing a lot of vanilla offense - which speaks to the point that there aren't really players on the offense who you scheme to get the football, aside from the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, but that speaks once more to justifying the vanilla seeming play calls.
Coach monken has moved the team into bona fide youth movement, and it's not a moment too soon. It's a tough spot for the seniors who have been there and earned their way onto the field, but this team needs to prove itself, and then it needs to improve itself, and the gauge for any improvement has nothing to do with Senior day, it has nothing to do with the 2-8 record and for this team, has nothing at all to do with additional bowl practices. It may seem like harsh treatment of an upperclassman for Coach Monken to go on about Chris Carnegie's play, but this is a team that needs to be challenged. Make no mistake, the coaching staff was responsible for challenging the team from day one, and the call for an open challenge to the seniors as well as the younger members of the team should have been in effect by August. Now it comes out as if Monken is throwing players under the bus, but it's necessary, no matter the expense, to make moves to younger personnel - to me, this says a lot more about failures at the top spot than any specific performance related issue by a player.Freshman QB Chris Carter taking first-team snaps. #ArmyFootball— Sal Interdonato (@salinterdonato) November 18, 2015
As much as I hate recruiting, it's going to come down to bringing in athletes that want to be challenged by the coach. It's going to take another 2 recruiting classes of believers and doers to bring forth the vision of this coaching staff. I don't have the time or stamina to keep up with Army's recruiting agenda, but without results and without some hardware on the shelf it makes it hard to sell that winning vision. Presently, Coach Monken's future stars are freshmen and yet-to-be recruited.
So West Point are 2-8 and looking ahead to a youth movement on senior day. To this point plenty of underclassmen have seen the field, so it's not like Army's going through wholesale change. Things like injuries have ground down depth at some positions and a genuine eye to the future was always there as H.C. Monken has tried to get time in for the younger players that will be counted on in the future.
I like the coaches Army has now and we're seeing some early adversity in the Monken coaching regime. It may look like coach is putting blame on his players, but it is very easy for me to see that a lot of the blame falls on the coaching staff (as it should). The responses to that reality may seem harsh, but if the team is looking to improve itself moving forward, I don't know what other moves to recommend aside from a full-on youth movement.
The only other remedy in this sport is winning - so I guess my advice to the team would be to BEAT RUTGERS.
Here's the Tulane/Army story, stats, and highlights.