Army 1-3

Monday, September 28, 2015

Army seized their chance to finish and they did just that and in spectacular fashion.

Army's offense lost Ahmad Bradshaw for the second half which didn't limit the potency of the offense. The team elevated their level of play in key situations and played out some stifling drives when it mattered most. The offensive line had a pretty good game at Ypsilanti and consistently found their edge against an over-aggressive defensive front. How many plays did the Army offense snap the ball and just blow past 2 and 3 linebackers for chunks of yardage?

Some of that - well, a lot of that, was Eastern linebackers just stepping up into the teeth of Army's offense. They didn't show much interest or ability in reacting to and avoiding blocks, and Army ran the ball at will.

Army does seem to play well in Ypsilanti, you can't expect those fortunate things like Eastern's fumble into the end zone - recovered by the Cadets - but road games there seem to be rich with that kind of fortune. In this one, both Army's offense and defense solved  big problems from the last few weeks.
while Eastern Michigan managed just 3/10 on 3rd down Army was a healthy 10/14

There was a good amount of misdirection in this ballgame, from systemic things like the fake punt, to much more depth in the play-action game and the use of multiple formations which is the hallmark of Coach Monken's best teams. I liked a lot of the misdirection that I saw. AJ Schurr's TD came off a nasty looking overload play where it looked like Army could have scored with the outside pitch just as easily as AJ's keeper. There were more than just a few plays like that where you could see a full 1/3 of Eastern's players schemed completely out of the play. It was an impressive offensive display and Army fans got to witness the ideal situation of playing with a lead, hogging ball possession, and getting EMU to play from a desperate place.

Defensively the game wasn't the cleanest. There were some blown coverages that led to points for the Eagles, and the defense played well enough to win. The only problem with that is there are more Penn States on the slate than there are Eastern Michigans. That is obviously something that needs to be addressed immediately.

There were some nice adjustments at halftime

Here are your Army/Eastern Michigan story, stats and highlights.

Oh, and if you're still riding high after Army's first win this season, Sal tweeted an Ahmad Bradshaw update.


Army 0-3

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A couple of things dawned on me during this game. The first took me by surprise how much this team reminds me of Rich Ellerson's first season 2009.
I mean that very much in the sense of how the roster is composed now with an eye on the future makeup of the team. We can look at the mix of youth and experience, but I got to thinking about what that team needed in order to succeed in the following years.

Leadership on the field - This team will always be loaded with leaders. What Army needs is most players making plays. Converting big plays whether it's on offense or defense will make the difference in every game. Army was one missed play away from stealing that game just as they were one big play from tying an ACC team.

Teamwork - What I see in this area is where Coach Monken is paying off. Things like knowing the plays and trusting the offense this team has down pretty well. The team's collective focus clearly has the team headed in a positive direction and this year's players should be just as excited as the fans that this team is going to achieve some great things.

It is the things like running off the field at halftime that demonstrate that collective focus. In Army, I see a team who operates with a tremendous amount of pride. A proud team runs to the locker room at the half and finishes plays smartly and with power. Pride itself won't keep you from jumping offside, but it is the commitment of the player to improve himself where the same pride can make a difference.

Another thing that I realized after this weekend was that we are already at that point of the season where I can compare Army to Pitt. Every year I end up making some sort of comparison between Army and my Alma Mater. Saturday, both teams lost close games, both teams showed great growth, they both played their way back into games and both looked like they were headed to OT but Iowa kicked a 57 yard FG to beat Pitt and we watched Mike Weaver kick Wake Forest ahead of Army in the final seconds.

Losses are not good, but both teams have big time positives that they can take out of their respective games. They both played enough to win, in Army's case one INT at the end could have breathed life into the season. This season is not just about getting in position to win games but also individuals learning how to make the plays that win games.

Pitt is set up for a nice season. I know they lost James Conner, but they finally have a QB. They play their road games in the 1st half of the season and Heinz Field is not very inviting in late October in Pittsburgh. The Panthers are right to raise expectations even in a loss - all because they found a quarterback who can make plays down the field.

For Army the luxury is being able to look ahead to next year. Guys like Timpf and and Bradshaw are going to get their plays. Enjoy their contributions this year and understand these are the leadership moments that guys like Trent that need to happen early and often in order to win consistently next year. So forget about next year for now, as I said the team's stars are going to get their plays and there still is a lot of football still to be played this season. By all means enjoy the season; this team is building for something bigger.

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


Army Wake Forest Walk-Up

Friday, September 18, 2015

I have no mixed emotions about WF blog Blogger so Dear busting out the Sun Tzu Art of War schtick. I've never had much patience for comparing football to war - in every single case it is a poor comparison.
It's a Q&A article with Sal Interdonato of the Times Herald Record; go on ahead and read it if you like - not many fanbases will self-identify as Army's enemy.

Anyway, there is actual football to get to. Army needs to find their heart. I don't mean they need to find the desire to win - they need to find a way to get a consistent advantage. Last year, West Point had the athletes and experience to do more with Coach Monken's midline option offense. Amazing graduation losses saw the offense lose a combined 10,000+ career rushing yards in one off season. You're not going to replace players like that in one year, and through two games in 2015 the offense hasn't been able to achieve its aims.

Two years ago, Army had the athletes and they also had the scheme. Ian Shields' offense started basic every year, he tailored his scheme to his players. Shields' first year as OC the formation was a Wing-T. By 2010 year there was some 2 back veer and some of that same Delaware T. with the H-back motioning presnap into the backfield next to QB Trent Steelman. In time Shields installed his patented T-formation, using presnap motion to create momentum for the offense and imbalance for the defense. There were new formations and new ideas every month - we saw split backs, we saw short yardage Delaware-T, we saw full series of plays run from unbalanced formations.

Above all of that willingness to mold the offense to the team, after the first 4 games of the season Army opened up the playbook and set opponents up for misdirection. By Larry Dixon's junior year of course Army still had the FB dive, but they worked in a ton of misdirection to get more out of the middle of the field. I'm thinking specifically about the play known as 'Doc' - the fullback counter predicated with misdirection to the outside.

The 2015 season is young and Shields would still be pretty shallow in his playbook at this early point of the season, but using this comparison, I am trying to highlight that more could and should be made of each play. Maybe this week we'll see opponents start to chase some ideas around the field. I'm suggesting it now because if you can't beat Fordham or UConn with your script  you might think of adding in a few wrinkles.

Kickoff in under 24 hours. Go Army!


Army 0-2

Monday, September 14, 2015

Army's game vs UConn went marginally better than the Fordham game, but still the result was the same.

It's a shame too... I would have loved to see Army beat UConn again.

This was another game riddled with West Point blunders. This time it was penalties and defensive shortcomings on 3rd down. The offense looks like they are still piecing together the machine that they will use to challenge for the NCAA team rushing title. This was the first leg in the quest for the mythical Husky-In-Chief trophy. Naturally by virtue of Army's loss, the accolades will go to the winner of Navy/UConn on Sept 26.

Sal Interdonato does 5 minutes on the UConn game.

Sal's message is clear, and he paints a picture of Army football as a frustrated team and a frustrated fan base.

I like that the team takes a loss to UConn so personally, though in reflection it is more important to take pretty much everything else personally in the game except the loss.

I'll urge patience from all Army fans. There will be other chances for high points of the season - and this team will achieve in time. Looking at that it  may take some time for everything to come together for this Army group.

Right now is no time for for doom and gloom, Wake Forest is next on the schedule and all thoughts should be on the Deamon Deacons.

Here are the Army/UConn story, stats, and highlights.


Army 0-1

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

That was a pretty bad loss. Fordham is a good team and their program is reaping the benefits of their recent refocus on football.

Rutgers still figures into the mythical New York City championship picture, but if Fordham has anything like the type of season I think they'll have, we will wish they could actually play that one out on the field.

But forget about any big picture, the Cadets have some work to do. It's going to be the little things that make a difference for Army football. Things like getting the right play called and on the field 100% of the time. Things like tackling or playing defensive angles. This is just the first game and I can envision that there will be bigger disappointments along the way. There will also be bigger triumphs ahead in this season and beyond.

It's something to enter the season with question marks, heading into the second game with even more questions can be frustrating. Sometimes it's good for a young team to get clocked and have to deal with some adversity and have to respond.

Looking ahead the Cadets head to Rentschler field in East Hartford to face the UConn Huskies in the first leg of the Husky-in-Chief trophy.

Fordham moves on to a very interesting second week tussle with Villanova.

Here are the Army/Fordham story stats and highlights.


Getting Back in the Swing

Monday, July 6, 2015

YAWN.... stretch.... blink, blink.

Good morning Army West Point fans, did I miss anything? Hopefully I can get back into the flow and post with some regularity.

Army news and previews are sprouting up here and there, so I'll try to compile them here in the walk-up to the season.

Army West Point beat writer Sal Interdonato is back to it with a look at some possible 1st year contributors (subscription article) for the Cadets. It's a fresh look at some of the team's youngest layers of talent and a nice read. It's always interesting to see the new players and watch the team grow.

 And by the way, now that I've mentioned it... it comes a lot more natural to me to call the team the Cadets than the Black Knights. In fact you could call them the Cornwall Cadets and I would still prefer that to Black Knights.  "Army West Point" though? I don't know about that one. No big deal, because whoever came up with the names hedged and I can fall back on calling the team the Cadets as I greatly prefer.

It's nice to see the conference commissioners finally throw a bone to the Big East Big AAC.

The College Football Playoff management committee has recommended that the CFP semifinals and/or New Year's Six bowls be held open until after the Army-Navy game is played if either school is in the running for the games.
If Army or Navy is in the running for a top-four ranking, the College Football Playoff selection committee will wait until after the teams play to seed the field.

It's a clear non-concession for a league that has been hung out to dry by neighboring leagues and by its own former members, I mean the good old Big East wasn't even allowed to keep its name. So while it's refreshing for the BE to get any kind of boost from the powers that be - at this point it's a silly consolation as the New Bullshit Playoff won't ever have to wait for the Army Navy game to finish in order to make it's anointment$.
If it was any different the any team in question would have been included in the money grab in the first place.

Lastly, here's a fat, juicy preview for Army's upcoming season. It's the first 2015 preview that I've seen and a lengthy one. Naturally it's a must read, so head on over to

It's nice to be back in the swing of things, I'll try to keep it current.


Independence Day 2015

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July



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