Army 1-3

Monday, September 29, 2014

We may not score, we may not win... at least we're not from New Haven.

Just watching this game you had a feeling that there was doom around the corner. Any sense of security afforded by Jeremy Timpf's pick-6 was false. Even as Grochowski lined up to kick with the game on the line there was a feeling that there was something left for Yale to do.

Nothing about this game is 'simply put', you can look at some overall themes or some isolated instances, but none of them encapsulate losing this game.In the 4th quarter up seven with a make-able field goal, you need to kick that. It might not go in, but you increase your chances of winning immensely just by giving yourself a chance for points. It's a hard lesson to learn, and it's one of those that just about every fan of every team has to see through. It's just a poor call to go for it in that spot.

More glaring was Army's lack of ability to show a meaningful difference physically against the Ivy league's best team. Army should physically beat Yale every time they play. Instead, not only were there gaping holes in the defense, but players were getting trucked and defensive help was being shucked. Army should outsmart and out physical a team like Yale in every quarter, but the Elis fought hard and by the end of the game - it was their day. but to just leave it there, "It was just Yale's day" is to overlook heroic games by Yale's stars.

The Eli's thrashed Army. Ty Varga made Yale look like BYU in comparison to the Cadets. Varga had FIVE touchdowns. FIVE. It was the middle of the 3rd quarter when I thought Army must have brought the sprint team's "D". By the end of the 3rd I was wishing West Point did bring their sprint team defense. Instead there was virtually no defense and Army made The Yale dogs look like a major conference player.

In truth, this loss wasn't anywhere near as bad as the Stony Brook loss. We've now got a reason to renew this rivalry, but I could understand the sentiment from both sides to let this series sit for a while. Just as with Stony Brook, this loss was just not supposed to happen. But it did, and it was more than "just Yale's day" Yale did everything they had to do to win the game. Nothing to do with luck. Yale bested Army in what will likely be the last installment of this rivalry for quite a while.

Here's your Army/Yale story, stats and highlights.

Yale Game

Friday, September 26, 2014

In a lot of regards Army playing at Yale will be a spectacle.

Festivities will kick off on Friday night at Woolsey Hall. Marching bands of both schools will join together and perform a free concert beginning at 8 p.m. They will play patriotic music, game day classics and school fight songs.

Around 1,000 cadets will arrive by bus at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. They will march from Marginal Drive across Derby Avenue, through the Walter Camp Memorial to and then clockwise around Yale Bowl, and on to the field.

It's tough to quantify an historical rivalry like the one Army has with Yale. They have clearly never be each other's main rival, but their proximity and their respective success through college football has given the Army/Yale series a life outside arch rivals and outside of the top level of college football.  While that's not enough to justify giving the Bulldogs center stage it is a rivalry built on respect for the two football program's histories. The disclaimer to that is that Army and Yale have rarely crossed paths when both teams were elite.

That kind of rivalry is the essence of the sport to some fans, but less than a footnote to the vast majority of college football fans. I think it's a cool game, it gives us a week or so to look back at great games between teams that have had every reason to play, but due to modernization and monetization of the top level of the sport there isn't much value given back to either team other than a bus trip away game.

Army isn't doing anyone a favor by playing at Yale - in fact they've had to call in some favors considering their 2 FCS opponents this year. Not that West Point must act as stewards for the history of the game, but take a look around the Power 5 conferences... after realignment in the name of dollar figures college football fans are losing rivalries. Legitimate historical rivalries. Games like this - certainly a special type of game - will soon be replaced by series like Army/Umass.

A UMass series makes sense if only in the sense that Army is going to need some October and November games while most everyone else is playing conference games.

It's not the spectacle that the Yale game is (or was) but it's teams like UMass that give Army a chance to forge ahead as independents. There are traditional powers and traditional rivalries available in the FBS, and I'm glad to have Army's familiar old foe Tulane back on the slate. I've got to be honest, though - watching Army get smacked by Notre Dame every time they play has become football's equivalent of self-flagellation.

Army can't make a living off games like Yale, but they are right to embrace the Eli's and Cadets history. With that said; given the choice of opponents, Army should be just fine with  UMass and other teams like UMass.


Army 1-2

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Very forgettable collapse down in Winston/Salem. That's the kind of game you need to find any way to hold the lead.

Some clear setbacks in the form of penalties late in the game. 7 penalties and 52 yards is a lot of downs and a lot yardage. No matter the offensive scheme there is just no way to win with those kind of penalties.

I suppose this is the point in the season where I compare Army to Pitt. Both teams lost a late lead and crapped out in the second half. Pitt would pound Army this year, no question, but there are ample empty seats at both Heinz Field and Michie Stadium for fans to be disappointed or let down in the second half by either team.

Sal Interdonato is doing a great job covering the Army football team. His Inside Army Football blog has got to be top of your links list every day.

Up next for Army is Yale, another game with a lot of historical footnotes. Army@Yale game notes are up (.pdf).

I want desperately to get back to turning over yearbooks and playbooks on a regular basis, but as you can see, I'm here posting a reaction to Saturday's game on the Wednesday after; so for now I'm just going to wish for more hours in each day.

Army/Wake Forest story, stats, and highlights.


Looking Forward to the Deacons

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A lot to look forward to this weekend. The team has moved on but, as a fan, I'd like another level of distance from that Stanford loss.

WPTZ posted a decent game preview.

The Sacramento Bee posted another preview that, to the Army football fan, makes this game look as appetizing as any other on this year's schedule. Check the prediction on that one.

Wake blog Blogger so Dear has Wake Forest's 3 keys  to the game.

The Cadets will take the field in all white - a completely new look considering the new uniform style.

ESPN has Army (-2.5) on Upset Watch

"If Wake Forest can limit such damaging mistakes, then they will be in some games down the road. Because the defense is respectable. Better than respectable, actually, ranking in the top half of the ACC in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense. Wake Forest beat Army last season and has won seven straight in the series. The Demon Deacons are 6-0 vs. Army at BB&T Field and have not lost to the Black Knights since 1989."

The statistics are respectable, I'll reserve comments on the respectability of the Deacons opponents.

Army/Wake Forest game notes are up (.pdf)

Also there's a little game preview up on GoArmySports.

Army Athletics' Youtube channel has been running a Throwback Thursday item for a year now. In this installment they throw back to the 1963 season (47-0 Army!)

This is the middle game in a 3 game road swing for Army. There is zero chance of looking ahead to Yale as they play their first game of 2014 this weekend In New Haven against Lehigh.


Army 1-1

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'd like to know the status of Larry Dixon's  knee before I feel comfortable moving on. Dixon's comments in Sal's postgame interview imply that he's ready to go.

Coach Monken mentioned after the game that Stanford out-physicaled- and out hustled Army, and it was apparent from the first snap to the final whistle.

“I thought we had a lot of good plays called today. We just got knocked back. They were playing the blocks, knocked those back up front at the point of attack. They defeated double teams. When we got the ball on the perimeter we weren’t doing a great job of blocking people to the ground and create opportunities for us to gain yards. Credit goes to Stanford. They played more physical. They physically whipped us on a bunch of plays today.”  

It sort of speaks to the difference between Monken's offense and last year's offense by Ian Shields; with last year's team defined by extreme misdirection and this years predicated by a pointed attack where offensive players are expected to create a numbers advantage in a more physical manner - running at a player and blocking a defender out of the play. Not that Monken's ideas don't create opportunities with misdirection and vice versa- just that in the last few year's schemes the quick-hit misdirection worked well against all kinds of defenses. Yesterday we saw that there is no way to outrun or out-block or out-physical a team as strong as Stanford - they can be outsmarted for a half, but there is no beating those guys to the ball, and definitely no beating them off the ball. 

Okay, one guy matched up well - too bad it was Tardieu, the punter.

Despite the demoralizing score, I'm okay with the outcome and the margin as long as Army is healthy moving forward. It seemed like Larry Dixon's knee was ok after he was shaken up late in the game. Army won't be invited to the postseason playoffs this year - and it's tough to accept. The title has eluded Army since 1946 and I'm one who believes the national championship is destined to return to and remain at West Point.

Incidentally, it was infuriating to listen to the Pac 12 network guys miss obvious facts about the Army team. I can't expect them to follow the team or watch Army's games, please read a media guide from the current decade, at least. Things like Army's last winning season in 1996, and not realizing that Army's offense has changed dramatically since last year's game. In fact, I try to post game notes every week - Pac 12 Network - try to keep up. (It's like they wake up 3 hours later over there or something)

It's no consolation, and I don't usually look to pro football news to fill the pages here, but in the effort to forget about the shutout, I'll offer up news of former Black Knights player Josh McNary earning a chance to start for the Indianapolis Colts. McNary's first NFL start comes as the Colts face the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

Here are your Army/Stanford story, stats and highlights


“I thought we had a lot of good plays called today. We just got knocked back. They were playing the blocks, knocked those back up front at the point of attack. They defeated double teams. When we got the ball on the perimeter we weren’t doing a great job of blocking people to the ground and create opportunities for us to gain yards. Credit goes to Stanford. They played more physical. They physically whipped us on a bunch of plays today.” - See more at:
“I thought we had a lot of good plays called today. We just got knocked back. They were playing the blocks, knocked those back up front at the point of attack. They defeated double teams. When we got the ball on the perimeter we weren’t doing a great job of blocking people to the ground and create opportunities for us to gain yards. Credit goes to Stanford. They played more physical. They physically whipped us on a bunch of plays today.” - See more at:

Game On

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The video stream is up, you can find a link to the Pac12 feed by clicking the Radio tab above.
That's the one I'm watching, check back if that one cuts out.

Update: Link updated.

Seeing Cardinal

Friday, September 12, 2014

Undefeated Army makes a rare trip to California to play Stanford on the farm. Last year this matchup stood out to me as a mismatch - but at the end of the game I was relatively pleased with the score, but aggravated by the result. .

That Stanford game was a meat grinder for Army's 2 deep and a paper shredder for the Black Knight's depth chart. The one result I will hope for above all else will be no Black Knight injuries at all this week.

The Idaho Statesman has a brief preview of the game. There are a few nuggets at the end of that one.

Facts and Figures:

Stanford has not lost consecutive games since 2009 and is 7-0 following a loss since David Shaw became coach in 2011. ... The last time Army beat a nationally ranked opponent was No. 15 Air Force on Nov. 4, 1972. ... Stanford has won its last 11 home games against nonconference opponents since losing to Notre Dame in 2007. ... Army's last win at Stanford was Sept. 22, 1979. ... Army has 21 players from California, the most of any state.

Stanford blog Rule of Tree has this succinct view of Army's most dynamic element.

"...there's very little to learn about the defense this week - Army's offensive scheme is the triple option and they're a largely over-matched squad - so it shouldn't be much of an issue."

Nobody thinks it's an issue until they're getting reamed out by their coach 
down 0-6 while silently wondering where the A back will slip through next series.

If you would like any more bulletin board material here are some Stanford Army score predictions

I will believe Stanford is better than Army when I see it on the field. Here's to a long wait - - - -



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