Army 4-6

Friday, November 15, 2019

Army Umass story, stats, highlights and replay.


Army 3-4

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Georgia State put together a pretty complete game of football and beat Army 28-21.

Army isn't playing down to opponents as much as they are playing inconsistently.

Army Georgia State story, stats and highlights.


Army 3-3

Friday, October 18, 2019

This is football 2019, you're not going to go undefeated for life. It's a loss, if it's a losing streak, you still have to get up, address the problem(s) and play on.

Everything about this game was unsettling, everything. The referees had quiet whistles, Western Kentucky had a snazzy red white and blue Hilltoppers logo on their helmets. I picked up on it  watching on tv, but there was also a television production element that really added to the funhouse mirror effect. Maybe it was the camera angles, or the crew, but the coverage was dizzying. Then add in that the whole thing had kind of a groundhog Day effect to it with the rhythmic droning of "FIRST DOWN HILLTOPPERS!!!"

First, I am so used to CBSSports coverage of Army football that I take for granted things like instant replays, and solid camera work. Those are the major things when I say it reminded me of old CSTV college football broadcasts. Second, the broadcast crew kept saying things like "3rd and 3 this is right where Army wants to be." right while the offense is showing us with their play, with their body language and with their effort that it was clearly not where Army wanted to be.

Army had four full possessions in the first half and three of them were 3-and-outs. When you're Wannstedting around like that and trying for 3-5 yards a play, and all of sudden you're behind the sticks and you're not getting your 3 yards/play, i will tell you -  it's a miracle Army was within 10 points at any point of that game.  Army's offense didn't show much enthusiasm at all. The defense played some bend -but-break defense and next thing you know you're in a big hole.  In a game like this when you see the possession number it reminds you of how much the offense is the engine of Army's football strategy. A couple of missed blocks out of the backfield... a couple of 3 and outs in a row, you're looking at a disaster.

3/11 on 3rd down.
208 yards total offense.
71 yards passing.

 It was a nightmare. Army's defense would do fine for 2 plays in a row and then get sliced. They would do just enough to keep the team in the game, and then do something like give up 14 yards on 3rd to offer up a 4th down try... Next thing you know it's 1ST DOWN HILLTOPPERS. The whole thing was Fright Night.

Here's the Army/WKU story, stats, highlights and replay.


Army WKU Game Notes

Friday, October 11, 2019

Army game notes are up for the Western Kentucky game (.pdf)

Western Kentucky game notes are up for the Army game (.pdf)


Army 3-2

I think we will find that this game will ultimately be less about the result or the end of the fine home win streak... and more about how the team responds. It’s all about the response. Is this a crossroads for Army football? No, I don't think so, Army will have ample opportunity to achieve their team goals this year, so the mentality gets back to that one-game season. It is a disappointing loss, and I found it pretty humbling to hear the coaches and players self flagellate after getting soundly stomped. As harsh as his criticism was, Jeff Monken's assessment of the game was spot on. Tulane was the more prepared, more organized team to say nothing about Tulane's size advantage and their can-opener of an offense.

The last time Army lost the time of possession statistic was the way back in the first game of 2017. Army beat Fordham 64-6, and kicked off enough to lose the possession number. Last week Tulane won the day with 30:39 of possession to Army's 28:36.

If I take away one thing from this game - It really highlights the fine line that Monken's teams have walked in the last 3 years. Tulane played a fine game. Just like Hawaii played a fine game, just like Buffalo played a fine game, Just like San Diego State and Duke and Rice all played fine games. Army football has been able to regularly wrestle wins away from teams and just as they win games by converting 4th and 2 - the other side of the coin is losing on that 4th and 2 conversion - or in this case, just losing in general. That's the kind of edge that Army plays on - there have been a lot of Army games that Jeff Monken has coached where this team is lucky to escape with their hats.  Army football has transformed into a winner, but let's not forget that this team can lose to any team on the schedule.

As for Tulane. I had a bad feeling about this one from day 1 of the season. I don’t think we match up well against Tulane's players and our defensive scheme seems to get drawn and quartered like that, by not even the RPO itself, but the athletic improvisations that stem from the run of play.  give Tulane credit. They should be proud of where their team stands right now. Tulane had six different people carry the ball and 5 of them ran for touchdowns. Army's players took responsibility with Elijah Riley citing not getting off blocks and not tackling as the reason Army's D fell apart. You could really tell in the post game press conference that Army players and coaches hate losing.

Is the house on fire?  No, not even close, but this loss stings. The loss ends the home win streak, and this marks three straight losses to Tulane and a sense that the series is slipping away. Tulane has extended their series lead over Army to 12-9-1.

Tulane and Army are scheduled to play again next year Sept. 19th  in Uptown New Orleans.

Tulane Army story, stats and highlights.


Army Tulane Game Notes

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Tulane game notes are up.

This one is one of my favorite games, and I'm glad it's back on the schedule.

Army's last two losses were of the overtime variety (Michigan and Oklahoma in'18). Prior to that was the season opener loss at Duke. Before that there was the 2017 North Texas last second North Texas loss....

and before that the previous loss for Army football was Tulane's comeback win in 2017. Two years is a long time to wait for retribution, and most players on Army's roster didn't play in the 2017 game.

Tulane looks better than they have looked in a long time. I don't know what to expect out of this game, as I have no idea what Kelvin Hopkins status is. Tulane QB Justin McMillan is 8-2 as a starter for Tulane.

Here are the Army game notes (pdf).

Tulane notes here (pdf)

Army 3-1

Thursday, September 26, 2019

It's never ideal to get to the 3rd QB by game 4, but it seems like the system is already in place to have the younger QBs succeed. Jabari Laws got the start and almost made it to the end of the first quarter when he was sidelined by a tackle that was deemed a targeting penalty. That's tough luck for Laws. Christian Anderson came on to finish the game and performed pretty well. It wasn't 137 yards in his first start, but  75 yards in 3 quarters of play is nice. Zero turnovers is a good clean start too.

It seemed like Army moved away from live reads with Anderson, relying mostly on the dive play - which is just a handoff, not a read. They used a lot of alternate motion and play design, but there was an awful lot of plays with no live read, whether it was attacking the edge with the rocket toss or inside using Slomka power. Anyway, Anderson came on and within one quarter Army was in the lead 24-14. In the second half we saw a couple of good option plays.

With 4 penalties in the first 5 minutes, Morgan State got off to a pretty bad start but overcame their play with a couple of big plays.
Morgan State's first score was a 3rd and 13, 72 yard heave.

Their second score was set up by a Jabari Laws fumble deep in Army territory.

Coach Monken went ape after the second MSU touchdown. That's the only time Army has trailed a game in regulation this year. The jolt worked and the team pulled together 31 point blowout featuring 403 rush yards.

Elijah Riley said this after the game "We came out in the first half and second half with low energy, not really focused on the task at hand. Couldn’t tell you the reason for it   "We shouldn’t come out any game with low energy. Going forward, we’re just going to have to lock it in, not allow another game like this to take place." 

It's important to recognize that, and let's be glad that we're figuring that out in the first 1/3 of the season.

Simply put there needs to be better focus in all phases. Army seems to get dunked on in every game - it's one thing to have that happen on 4th down in the Big House, it's another to give up that kind of stuff at home against a 1AA squad. Again, no disrespect to Morgan State - they'll get their share of wins with Tyrone Wheatley as coach.

Jabari Laws got the start and almost made it to the end of the first quarter when he was sidelined by a tackle that was deemed a targeting penalty. We may not know the status of any of the QBs until next week. Christian Anderson came on to finish the game and performed pretty well. It wasn't 137 yards in his first start, but  75 yards in 3 quarters of play is nice. Zero turnovers is a good clean start too.
So the team is down 14-7, Anderson steps on the field and  - within one play the game is tied. It took just one more quarter and Army had a 24-14 half time lead.

It seemed like Army moved away from read option with Anderson, relying mostly on the dive - which is just a handoff, not a read. They used variations in motion and play design but there were lot of plays with no live read, whether it was attacking the edge with the rocket toss or inside using Slomka power. Hey, simpler is better is some cases. I still think it's amazing how the offense can go back into such a small base set of plays and still dominate.

Army football now has one week off before facing Tulane at Michie Stadium. I'd say it's a pretty good time for a bye week. Connor Slomka carried for a career high 110 yards and a TD, Artice Hobbs carried the ball once and caught one pass - so mark him down for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns.

So it's 3-1 for Army who now have 15 straight home wins. The Jeff Monken era has brought incredible success for Army football and particularly their play at home.

Here's the Morgan State Army storystatshighlights, and replay


Morgan State / Army Game Notes

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saturday's game notes are up.

Army's game notes are here (.pdf).

Morgan State has MEAC conference notes (.pdf) available.

I don't know why I didn't realize this until now, but the Hawaii game will kick off after midnight (ET).

When I lived in Oregon I used to cherish the late Hawaii game, because with the Pacific time zone - it seemed like games would wrap up relatively early on the mainland, and Hawaii gave me one last game to watch after the PAC 12 late games. I don't know how I'm going to like watching Army play after midnight, correction: I know that I'm going o enjoy watching Army play after midnight, but I don't know how well my neighbors and my kids will appreciate it.

... only one way to find out.



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