Army 2-3

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Today's loss was about as tough a loss as you can get. Army seemingly had the game in hand against a well matched Tulane team.

Army played alright, but never really dominated. They scored, held a lead through most of the game - but didn't do enough to put the game away.

When you play a running style of football like Army's option attack, you've got to execute on every play. Miscues such as the muffed punts, the 4th down missed punt and the 4 fumbles (even though they got the ball back each instance) all make it very tough to win games - since you've got to make up for them with near-perfect play.

This team can endure about 1 miscue per half against any of their scheduled opponents, beyond that they haven't shown nearly enough offense to make up for it on the scoreboard.

Some of the play calling left me scratching my head, but to Ellerson's credit he played to the run game which is obviously Army's strength. I might have used the pass a little bit more instead of letting Tulane tee up on the inside runs - but if the Knights aren't any good at throwing timing routes or crossing patterns it doesn't make sense to use that in a game. I don't want to use the word frustration, because Army brings what they can to the table - but the team's limitations mainly come from mental mistakes and errors of basic fundamental football. Finishing blocks, making tackles and taking care of the ball are all things that can be improved on in practice, but to be honest, from week to week I'm not seeing a lot of improvement in those areas. Army was lucky not to turn the ball over on each of its 4 fumbles. It's one thing to analyze the nuances of a precision option attack, but when blockers regularly miss assignments or when option reads are missed, there's not much to go over. It basically comes back to practice time and game day execution.

I don't mean to rip the team, because they want to win as much as I want them to, but this game is unfortunately 'one that got away'. This is a huge hit to Army's bowl hopes and with Vanderbilt coming to Michie Stadium next week, we all might be chalking this season up to "just beat Navy" once again.

Again, I hate to rip the team, because they are trying to win games - it's just that every game they play will be close and they're going to have to play near-perfect every week just to win these close games.

All that said, there were a few notables from this game.

Trent Steelman is a fantastic football player. 20 runs for 95 yds is more than any team would ask of their QB. Steelman keeps this team in games late and that makes me very optimistic about the the future of the offense.

Army scored on their opening drive for the 4th time in 5 games - which is great, but they should be finding extended success with their misdirection run game. They've got to sustain more drives and put points on the board.

Alex Carlton missed his second field goal of the year - a 37 yard try with 16 seconds left in the game.

Army will win more games this year; this is the kind of loss that teams take personally - unfortunately the team's bowl chances have taken a big hit and they're looking at a couple of tough must wins in the coming weeks.

Your story and stats are here.



Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in Bloglines

Subscribe in a reader