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.






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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




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“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: http://blogs.hudsonvalley.com/west-point-army-football/#sthash.KzGaFwcb.dpuf
“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: http://blogs.hudsonvalley.com/west-point-army-football/#sthash.KzGaFwcb.dpuf

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.
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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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Army 1-0

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I don't know if I've ever seen an 8 point blowout, but if ever there was one, wow that was it.
Army throttled Buffalo for three quarters before a furious comeback to make the game more than close: it was downright competitive down the stretch. The result was in question at the end, but for 3 + quarters it was a Black Knights showing of force.

Army continues to live and die by the turnover, and while they had some takeaways (key takeaways as it turned out) there needs to be improvement on taking care of the football. Things like special teams and keeping that laser-beam focus.

The coaching staff clearly had the team prepared. Once Angel dropped the ball on the second play of the game the natural thought was "Not again." Unlike years past the team not only weathered the early storm - they played on that proverbial 'edge' making some very good plays on both sides of the ball and had the game sewn up until the 4th quarter debacle.


When Army had the lead just after the half I actually wondered aloud if they would take their foot off the gas or keep the conclusion of their playbook in the back pocket. In the past few years we wouldn't even see the inside counter "Doc" or half of the misdirection plays until the 3rd or 4th game of the season. Saturday, Army was relentless until the 4th quarter running of the Bulls.

We sort of knew the schemes coming in: a multiple option look with some pistol, and some wing-t, plus a 3-3 stack on defense. I didn't expect the seemingly effortless offensive outburst nor the impressive defensive performance. After watching the first half it reminded me of 2004-2007 West Virginia.

If you asked me at any point in the past if I would make that comparison between Army and Rich Rodriguez' WVU teams I would have told you to get lost. Here we are, though, Army has talent all over the field - not WVU talent, but seasoned men on both sides of the ball. They may not be as fast, they may not end up ranked, but the schemes just kind of looked alike. For the first game of the season I could think of a lot of worse teams to be compared to than WVU. Any way, Army earned any positive accolades they've gotten for the Buffalo game.


Even if the game exposed Buffalo as a punching bag (in  fairness, they showed a lot of punch to be able to bring the game back) it was a must-win game for Army - and they played like it was must-win.

Sal has a postgame video analysis up.

 
Larry Dixon had a great game rushing for a career high 174 yards and 2 scores.


Take nothing away from Josh Jenkins' 2nd pick - it was a heck of an athletic play to make that grab, but buffalo QB Joe Licata took about a 4 second wind up on that toss. Throwing that pass from the college hash mark to the deep boundary was just the wrong decision. A pick is a pick, though - and a win is a win.









Up next: Army's most physical challenge.

Here are the Army/Stanford game notes (.pdf)




Your Buffalo/Army story, stats, and highlights.


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Page Turner

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Army opens a new chapter today at Michie Stadium. The Buffalo Bulls are this week's opponent.
It's a fresh start for Army who has the chance to get the season started with a fresh new playbook, fresh legs, and if those elements come together - a chance to get a win in their first game of the season.

There is a video stream up under the Radio tab above.

After another preseason cross-country move I'm back and can finally dedicate some time to this site.
That means a postgame writeup at some point this week and hopefully I can finally get the ball rolling.

Right now with Army up at halftime - it looks like the kind of post game I might enjoy writing.





Until then, enjoy the game.


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Happy Independence Day

Friday, July 4, 2014







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