Army Temple Game Notes

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Army/Temple game notes are up.

Here are the game notes for Temple (.pdf).

Temple has been on my list for a good while now. Watching Army beat the Owls on their home field last year was nice, but I'll need another win in order to really make up for the losses of 2009 and 2010.


Army 5-2

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Update: Replay added below

I sensed last week that this one would come down to the razor's edge

End of the half Army caught the Eagles with their pants down - after delaying getting set - Army went spread with 4 wide and a wide open receiver to the near side... EMU wasn't ready and got a timeout called just as the ball was snapped. Now, instead of going with another hail mary to the end zone I think you at least try to kick for the points - that's why Army defers every coin flip... that would have been a great chance to score some points and get the ball back.

Late in the game as Eastern Michigan's D wore down a Darnell Woolfolk at 75% proved to be an irresistible force to movable object of Eastern Michigan's D. Woolfolk's return to the end zone highlights the job that the team of B backs has done in his absence - and as a unit during this game. If you look at Eastern Michigan's D in the 4th quarter they looked like a completely different team than the Eagles defense that was hootin and hollerin and jumping around during the first series of the game. As it turned out on Army's first possession Eastern spent a lot of energy on not bringing down fullbacks.

The Eastern Michigan defense read and reaction was good through 2nd quarter and Army really found themselves in a chess game offensively. It was the QB follow that kind of cracked the code for Army, then it was the freeze counter for Army's first score. There were some big plays where Ahmad Bradshaw kept the ball because all of his pitches were closed off. Bradshaw ended the day with a robust 19 carries for 171 yards.

Army had a little bit of luck on the looked to me like two guys jumped on Christianson's interception with no offsides call. Even if Army got back onside - it was mantioned that EMU QB Roback had to put his shoe back on and might had a flat tire on the intercetion play.

In the end, Eastern Mich was upended running a option-like pitch play when they had been running for something like 6 yards per rush. Good luck with that play call. I could give a shit if a team stands with Army for the Alma Mater, that's not disrespect - Eastern Michigan has a lot of stuff to figure out, so I hope Eagles coaching staff spent the time coaching football. Ultimate disrespect is having the stones to give a one-off option look to Army with the game on the line. That is a LOT of belief in yourselves for a team who is coming in at 2-3. EMU HC Chris Creighton's postgame interview looks like it was filmed in the pit of despair. I was looking forward to that one since Eastern Michigan University disappeared so quickly - I just wanted to make sure they were alright.

Really, Eastern Michigan got caught in a sucker's game. Did they want to try Army in Overtime? I guess not.
I don't think the call to go for it spoke to Eastern Michigan's fear of the Army offense (4/4 red zone in this one) as much as it spoke to their belief that they could bite off another 4 yards for the win. I was concerned about this one up until I saw the designed pitch - easy solve for James 'Gibby' Gibson and he gets low on the ball carrier to end Eastern Michigan's hopes about 5 inches short. The amount of hubris involved to not only go for the 2 point conversion, but to call a timeout and draw up what they think it is Army does - to what?.. prove a point?.. show off their coaching chops?.. anyway, the roll out pitch was a no go and Eastern Michigan is now 1-8 against Army all time.

On offense it was again Ahmad Bradshaw's game as he converted time and again in big spots. If we rely on the above metaphor that Army's offense plays a chess game, then Bradshaw is their Kramnik.
Gibby's tackle saved the day and James Nachtigal had a game high 13 tackles for the Cadets. I can't believe EMU tried to beat Army with a roll out pitch look. Their bread and butter down there is a pick pass play - maybe there wasn't enough room to run that series when going for 2, but you have to find a better answer than trying to beat Army at their own game. That move away from their tendency cost them the game in one play.

Other Eastern Michigan tendencies that were dismantled during this one

- there was no QB punt
- Army didn't go three-and-out during this one despite EMU's 5.6 per game average
- EMU scored on a fade, but it wasn't off crossing routes.
- 3/7 on 3rd downs meant the Eagles rose above their 28% 3rd down

Once again Eastern Michigan played to within a score, but came up a few inches short.

Here's your Eastern Michigan/Army story, statshighlights and replay.


Eastern Michigan Army

Saturday, October 14, 2017

EMU Army stream is up and running.

Check the above Radio tab for a link.


Army Eastern Michigan Game Notes

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Army has available their game notes for Eastern Michigan.

Eastern Michigan's notes are here.

The pressure is on for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are currently awash in a 3 game losing streak with their upcoming game at West Point being their third straight road game.

Eastern Michigan hasn't won since September - those two wins coming against Rutgers and Charlotte. The Eagles' record of 2-3 leaves them looking for answers, but in terms of what to expect... I expect to see all the things that they do that has been successful to this point:

Eastern loves the post corner 'X' pick play in the red zone.
Eastern has a tendency to pooch punt with their QB.
Considering their 50% effectiveness on 4th down conversions it seems like the Eagles have a lot of success on their 4th down plays. How many teams can you recall that have a QB who leads the team in punting average?
Those tactics may manifest from an offense that converts only 28% of 3rd downs.
On the other side of the ball - Eastern Michigan averages 5.4 three-and-outs per game. Needless to say, unless they are +6 turnovers Army can't afford to go three-and-out 5 times.
There have been a lot of back shoulder throws where the receiver has the opportunity to turn his body on the defender and attack the ball for a completion.
The Eagles have played every game within a touchdown this year. - their three losses come by a combined 16 points.

It's a home game, the Eagles win-loss record looks less than impressive, and Eastern has pretty much been a patsy for as far back as I can remember. Add in EMU's field position gamesmanship, and their surprisingly stingy defense this one may end up being the trap game that I thought Rice would be.

Army 4-2

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I don't know who Rice coach Bailiff thought he was up against - if Rice has hardly taken the ball away this year themselves I don't get the decision to start QB Miklo Smalls.
Emenuel Ellerbee succinctly states what may be the problem with Rice.

Discipline on the defensive side of the ball- the will to win when faced with adversity- these things appeared to be lacking When Rice found themselves up against the wall. Rice coach David Bailiff said his game plan was to catch lightning in a bottle - well what happens when that bottle turns out empty? I don't think you go with the kid in the first place, but if you do there has to be a short leash. Maybe you can't foresee an atrocious stretch like Rice had late 1st Q- it's questionable in the first place to start Smalls against Army's defense but to hang your rookie out to dry like that - that's on the coaches. Rice's previous starting QB Jackson Tyner (who found the field this year after 2017 starter Sam Glaesman) came onto the field after the game was decided and I was just had a feeling that Army would get another takeaway... soon after that thought manifested Rice turned the ball over again. It was 6 turnovers in all that put Rice under. Give credit to the Army defense - they found a way to make things happen on the road in Texas.

Army ran a lot of zone runs. It looked to me like the play calling was out of mercy for Rice... until each zone play proved to be very effective. If the defense gets 6 takeaways every game Army will be just fine to run zone all day, but I have a feeling that Brent Davis still has some ideas that have yet to be shown. It's a nice breather not having to stress every down of a nail biter, I could use about 7 more games of breezy shotgun zone runs with the QB stable finally getting some useful work.

Army's explosion of takeaways and points was nice, but I had to feel bad for Rice. They played Army close for most of the first quarter and then they started coughing up the ball. It reminded me of Georgia Tech Pitt from 2014.... Pitt had 4 fumbles in their first 6 offensive plays to start out 0-28 within the first 5 minutes. The Panthers fumbled again with 6 minutes left in the first and the game was decided there. Pitt played back into a 56-28 loss - clearly sticking with the Yellow Jackets for the remainder of the game.

Army won a key game, but even with the lopsided score - as we look ahead to Temple, Air Force, Duke and Navy are we sure about who this team is? Can Army finally make people respect the deep threat? What will Army's personnel look like down the stretch? Can Ahmad Bradshaw endure the grind of a progressively difficlut 12 game schedule?

It goes without saying tht EMU this week is another must-win. In the parlance of winning the CIC trophy and making a bowl every game down the stretch is a must-win game.

Here's your Army/Rice story, stats and highlights


Army Rice live stream connectivity

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Army Rice live stream is up. Check out the Radio tab above for a link.


Army Rice Game notes

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Here are the Army game notes (.pdf) for Saturday's game.

The Rice version is here (.pdf)


Army 3-2

Update: full game replay added.

If you read the El Paso press you would think the sky is falling over Sun Bowl stadium.

After firing their offensive coord. the a week before playing Army and then losing their staring QB to injury during the first half at Michie Stadium, UTEP has entered into a tailspin. UTEP starter Ryan Metz wasn't the only loss during the game-  UTEP head coach Brian Kugler has since stepped down. Kugler's record at UTEP was 18-36 including a loss in the 2014 New Mexico Bowl.

As for the Army/UTEP game -  The first quarter it was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon for Army's defense. Army with the quick 3-and-out right off the bat and then there's another special teams penalty that extends the drive on a roughing the kicker flag. UTEP punts and after very quick Army 3-and-out UTEP's Quadraiz Wadley went 77 yards to have UTEP open the scoring. On their next series the UTEP backup entered the game and went 0-3 in 5 plays punting back to the Cadets who would go ahead 14-7 on the ensuing drive. It's too bad Metz went down, it looked like UTEP never really got their rhythm back after he left. ESPN's win probability for this game never dipped below 86% Army even though the score was tied at the half.

Army's defense really stood up in he second half. A bunch of punts in a second half with two 3-and-out bookends. That's all you can really ask for. If Army could win the first quarter in that fashion they would win every game.

The offense is clicking, looking patient when they need to be patient, but also being rewarded for their belief in the process. UTEP played a variety of defenses, it looked like they were afraid of the perimeter attack - until they got gashed in the middle of the line - and then we saw a series of adjustments made as Army just settled into its method.

There was a modicum of success throwing the ball. I was going to joke that maybe it's time for the air raid offense, but then I saw this nugget via Sal...  
"Army’s offense spent 30 percent of its practice snaps passing during its preparation for the UTEP game, Monken said on his weekly radio show." 

 How about this for an idea?.. 
 Take the 30% of snaps used practicing passing plays - and allocate all 30% to special teams live play. Work on waiting for the snap of the ball - not the QB's signal. It's those type of drive extending penalties that make it hard to win games.

That is too much time to spend on throwing the ball around. Consider Army has one TD and three interceptions to this point of the season - five of the top ten NCAA passing offenses have 3 or fewer picks this season. At the end of the year nobody is going to care which of these teams had the most passing yardage. 

The pick-6 in the 4th took this one from "feel good win" to "good win". I don't know why you put Bradshaw back in there at that point. There's a cautionary tale in UTEP's QB going out in the 1st quarter - if you lose Bradshaw in garbage time it's going to be some real growing pains trying to make it to a bowl. So get some work for the backups and get #17 out of there.

 I drove past Heinz Field on Saturday and the crowd that Pitt drew for Rice was pretty pathetic. The official tally was listed at 33000, but I can't imagine that there were any more than 20000 people for Pitt/Rice. Army's announced attendance of 31,000 looked twice as thick as the Pittsburgh's North Shore crowd. This is the point of the season where I point out that Army would outdraw and destroy Pitt at any venue in 2017. Pitt beat Rice  Saturday 42-19.

Next week's Rice game down in Houston is a clear trap game. Rice comes into the game just as UTEP did - playing the role of downtrodden underdog loser.

Well, Rice is not a loser. They are good enough to compete on Saturday. They are physical, and they understand the importance of this one. They are a little bit dinged up, their starting QB Sam Glaesman is questionable after missing the last 2 games. He's the QB who led Rice to their week 2 win over the UTEP Miners. Glaesman's replacement is the starter from last year: the 'statuesque' Jackson Tyner.

Here's your Army UTEP story, stats, highlights and replay.



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