Monday, May 13, 2013
Here's the first of the 2013 season previews... The Orlando Sentinel throws out the first lowball ranking placing Army at 117th nationally.
Seeing these early previews is on one hand nice in the pre-summer slow news days, but it is also typical for these countdown rankings to release the lowest ranked teams earliest.... so there is that.
In the past The Sentinel has ranked teams by their projected Win-Loss record and I have no reason to think this preseason's rankings are any different. While this is an insulting placement for any team, the Sentinel's way of ranking has usually been the least accurate of any method of ranking and I don't think it will be difficult for Army to far, far outplay the #117 rank that they have been given here.
Obvious question marks are at the quarterback spot and the defense needing to greatly improve on their NCAA worst numbers:
Outlook: The opportunities for success will be there for Ellerson and the Cadets, but a lot will depend on who takes over at quarterback. Steelman was the heart and soul of the program for the past four seasons and finding someone who can fill that role could be difficult. The triple option offense is tough to stop because few teams actually run it, giving Army an edge. But the Black Knights’ defense must improve in order for the team to be successful this season.
I like these kind of early previews and low rankings as a mark for the team to surpass, but #117 will be pretty easy to surpass and assuming any improvement on defense they should clear that low hurdle in week 2.
Posted by Chris at 5/13/2013 07:10:00 PM
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Long before the South Florida Bulls appeared on the college football roll books the name "USF" was reserved solely for the Dons of the University of San Fransisco. Univ of San Fransisco's yearbooks are available online and present a great look at student life at USF. The yearbooks are complete from 1910 to 2003 and were named the Ignation (1911-1931), Adios (1941-1950) and the Don (1937, 1939, 1951-2003). These are great yearbooks and the editions I looked at are a fantastic chronicle of USF sport culture.
The Dons basketball acumen is well known with their back-to-back national titles in 1955 and 1956, but San Fransisco football had a stellar season of their own 5 years prior in 1951. The 1951 team went undefeated at 9-0 and by the numbers had the best rushing defense in the country. The team placed ten players into the NFL and produced the school's first All-American Ollie Matson.
Matson was a big part of the season for the Dons. In their 9 games Matson rushed for 1566 which was 114 yards fewer than the standing college record. Matson's number of 1566 yards on the year wasn't bested until O.J. Simpson rushed for 1709 over 11 games in 1968. Ironically Matson made All-America as a defensive player. Here's a look at Matson running wild on offense in that great 1951 season:
The Dons were offered a bid to the Orange Bowl with the condition that they leave behind their two African-American players - Ollie Matson and Burl Toler. The team refused the bowl bid due to that stipulation and sat on their unbeaten, untied and uninvited season.
Here is a short documentary on San Fransisco's 1951season with interviews from some of the players.
Sadly the 1951 season was USF's final year of football as the varsity team gave way to a four team intramural league.
The USF Yearbook does well to chronicle that intramural football league as well as San Fransisco's varsity sports teams. Go to the yearbooks page and check out the USF Don and the USF Ignation yearbooks.
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Posted by Chris at 4/03/2013 08:38:00 PM
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Sal's pre-spring game report notes injuries were the reason why the format was to be offense vs defense in situational play.
With the Army moving the game from Ft. Hood back to West Point and then moving again indoors to the Foley Center due to weather, then cutting down to situational scrimmage it kind of seemed like the Black Knights were closing ranks and getting down to work.
Sal Interdonato tweeted from the scrimmage.
Rich Ellerson did a post spring game interview with Ken Kraetzer and talked a little bit about the attrition that went on over the spring and some positional shifts they tried out on defense.
Sal has his spring game report up, the most comprehensive review of the day that I could find.
He also has the early word on the QB spot.
Hit em all, they are all must read/must see.
Posted by Chris at 3/09/2013 02:39:00 PM
Friday, March 1, 2013
Sal Interdonato scratches my itch and lists a working 2 deep on the offensive line.
The first-team offensive line change up: Junior Zach Reichert (tackle) and freshman Matt Hugenberg (guards) formed the left side. Sophomore Todd McDonald (center), sophomore Steve Shumaker (guard) and freshman Justin Gilbert (tackle) remained in their first-team positions. Starting center Ryan Powis is still out with a knee injury. The second-team offensive line was sophomore Nick Bennett (left tackle); junior Andrew Szott (left guard), freshman Corey Hobbs (center); junior Richard Rainey (right guard) and juniors Whitaker and Ryan Kalnins rotated at right tackle.
We're counting on Ryan Powis to be back for September, so no matter what - the line will look different in the fall. With that, I expect that Powis' return will make the line stronger for the season. I'm excited about this group of linemen and I'm excited about their prospects for the 2013 season, but that doesn't mean this group is going to magically turn into a veteran line in one summer.
The one thing that stands out to me in that 2 deep judging by class alone this group is a year away from being a top flight unit. Can Army lead the nation in rushing again? Probably. But as we saw last year, that alone doesn't guarantee a winning season. It's nice to have pieces, but to have a group like this that can play together for two full years is a the asset moving forward toward 2014.
Rich Ellerson did an interview with Ken Kraetzer regarding some of the personnel moves. RE really lights up when the conversation turns to defense.
Posted by Chris at 3/01/2013 11:55:00 PM
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Culturally, not many things translate over from my other favorite football team the Pitt Panthers. There is so much that is different between the two schools and athletic programs on down to the athletes and the reasons why they are at each respective school. After following the Panthers for the last 15 years the one thing in every preseason I have become hyper-aware of - even obsessed with - is what the offensive line will look like. I couldn't care less about recruiting; the whole process just doesn't captivate me- but I will think about the prospects of the offensive line and O-line depth until September and I guarantee it will worry me until the 2nd or 3rd game of the season.
The Black Knights were back at practice today and there seem to have been a few decisions made regarding the makeup of their O-line. Nick Bennett (LT), Todd McDonald (C), Stephen Shumaker (RG) and Justin Gilbert (RT) worked on the first team offensive line. Jr. Zach Reichert, Jr. Andrew Szott and Soph. Matt Hugenberg worked in with the top group at guard.
Whereas the QB spot will be fought over for the days to come, it's clear that this group plus Powis will be the makings of this year's line. I'm pretty pleased that the staff has dialed in on a core group and are working in several different guys this early in the season.
Posted by Chris at 2/28/2013 12:01:00 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Army is already at practice proving the Punxutawney groundhog correct by ringing in an early spring.
GoArmySports has a recap of practice #1.
The story of the day is QB competition with Sal Interdonato noting that there is an open 4 way QB tryout.
Schurr and White aren't the only quarterbacks in the mix. Coach Rich Ellerson said the competition is open and includes sophomore Angel Santiago and junior Cody Jackson."Those four guys all are going to get some consideration," Ellerson said. "I'm trying to say we don't have a lot of expectations, but clearly A.J. and Angel are the guys who have played on Saturday in the big stadiums. But Cody and Kelvin both do some good stuff. I don't want any of those guys to be out of it and no one has been anointed."
Also, the spring game will be held at Michie, which is provides a small measure of justice for season ticket holders who deserve to see the team in person this spring.
The 2013 season is already starting and not a moment too soon.