Army 1-1

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tough loss for the Black Knights, but there were a lot of positives to take from the game. The Army defense wrapped up the Blue Devils for much of the 1st half. Josh McNary got it started early with another sack. It was clear that the D was causing confusion as Duke started the game 1/8 passing. It wasn't until Duke played their redshirt freshman QB that they started doing anything at all on offense. While the defense played tough up front it was the pass that ultimately did them in.

As a team Army outperformed Duke for the entire first half and showed that this game was not only winnable, but that this year's team can expect to compete every single week. Great games from Mealey, Steelman & Carter plus big WR Ali Villanueva showed his worth.

The Army offense showed some grit against a bigger team, but turnovers at inopportune times really set the team back. The two picks at the end put the game out of reach, but fumbles and penalties will cripple Army's attack vs any opponent. More than turnovers there were a few plays where unfinished blocks made the difference between short gains and first downs.

Offensive penalties were minimal so that's a plus, and I thought a couple of the penalties vs the defense were too close to have been called one way or another. I'm disappointed in these little things more than I am with the outcome - finishing each play, playing smart physical football and taking care of the ball are equivalent to success for this Army team. Without those things easy wins quickly turn into close games and close games can turn into blowouts.

Special teams saw kicker Carlton drill his first try of the season, Army's hoping to get a ton of points out of him this year.

The late back to back interceptions - both returned for touchdowns - didn't help the scoreline, but it's clear that Army lost this game on their own.

I'm optimistic about the rest of the season, a bowl bid is certainly possible provided the team learns from their mistakes and makes improvements starting next week.

Story and stats from ESPN.
Highlights available here: CBS Sportsline.


Looking ahead Army plays Ball State who plays FCS New Hampshire tonight.

Duke/Army Previews

Friday, September 11, 2009

Looks like the weather will shape up for kickoff, I hope to see a big crowd at this game. If you want to attend there will be walk-up tix at the stadium.

Scout takes an in depth look at the matchup.

ESPN goes behind the numbers.

CFN's fearless prediction.

Make sure to check here for the internet radio/video feeds for this game. I'll put them on the Radio tab. Last week didn't work out as planned, but I'll get you a video link this week.

I'm on the west coast, so I'll post those links close to game time. Who knows, maybe sooner.



Emerald Bowl 2011

Army's continued success will pay off as the Emerald Bowl will extend Army a bowl invitation in 2011. The Knights must be bowl eligible for the invite, but the offer represents a step on the staircase of success that extends before the Army football program.

In the year 2011, Army [if bowl eligible] will meet a Pac-10 team in San Francisco. The Cadets are the only service academy that has not yet appeared in an Emerald Bowl [Air Force played in the inaugural 2002 game].

“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to showcase our football program in the Emerald Bowl in 2011,” said Army Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. “We feel the tradition and pageantry of the Army football program is second to none and would provide a tremendous spectacle for the people of San Francisco during the holidays."
A bowl game like the Emerald Bowl in 2011 should provide the impetus for Army football to take the next steps to winning records and postseason play... I'm not going to pretend that the Emerald Bowl is the Sugar Bowl, but since Army has never had the ability to pick and choose their bowl tie ins, the offer is a generous one.

Army's Bowl History 2-2

Season
Bowl
Opponent

Score
W/L
1984
Cherry
Michigan State

10-6
W
1985
Peach
Illinois

31-29
W
1988
Sun
Alabama

28-29
L
1996
Independence
Auburn

29-32
L


It will be very important to be bowl eligible in 2011, but it's as important (possibly more important) to achieve a bowl invite in the next two years. Army is in the process of raising it's national profile, that's difficult to do as an independent and it's even tougher while playing the light schedule that the Black Knights do. Stringing together bowl appearances and postseason wins will go a long way to reversing the general negative perception of Army's football playing ability.

Everyone involved wants to beat Navy, but the team doesn't have to qualify to play that game. The prospect of bowl bids and regular tie ins give Army every reason to compete in every game of every season. As it is, the Emerald Bowl in 2011 isn't nearly as important as achieving a bowl bid this year.

Yearbook: Scranton Aquinas

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Scranton Aquinas.

That's what she said.








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It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

_______________ © 2009 The Unbalanced Line _______________

One Guy

In writing this blog, there's one guy whose notes I end up cribbing about 95% of the time: Sal Interdonato, from the Times Herald-Record. My goal is to bring you original content on Army and other college football teams, but regarding the Black Knights there is simply one guy who really covers them, and that's Sal. His Army coverage is unbelievable, from his columns to the TH-R blog to the Varsity 845U blog. Check out his early AP ballot at Pollspeak, and check his Tweets on Twitter. Interdonato is a giant when it comes to covering Army football.

When the time comes for Army to fly off to a bowl game (and that time will come) media credentials will go out to all kinds of NY media outlets. They will congregate with their media guides in the press suite and out of all of the reporters there, there will be one guy with the ability to say, "I told you so." about Army's return to the postseason, and that will be Sal.

Looking Ahead: Duke

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

While the papers have produced harsh assessments of Duke's football playing ability, the people surrounding the Duke team seem to be in denial.

All summer long, Cutcliffe maintained he thought this team had the capability to become bowl eligible, and though he was disappointed with the outcome in the season opener, Cutcliffe said he still thinks the Blue Devils could be a bowl-bound team.

“I don’t change that evaluation,” Cutcliffe said. “We should be a bowl team, we can be one. We’re good enough to be one, and we are. But you can’t play like we played."
Cutcliffe's Duke squad was so unprepared for Richmond you have to wonder what they were doing all offseason. They clearly didn't study 2007 Michigan/Appalachian St.

More Cutcliffe:
"We realized Richmond was good, but in their mind, James Madison (a 31-7 victim to open the 2008 season) was somewhat easy last year, so I just don't think we really understood what it was going to take."
and from the same Herald-Sun article:
Duke's kicking game struggled unlike it did at any point in 2008, essentially with the same personnel, and the defense appeared to wear down in the game's late stages. On offense, Duke managed to net just 19 rushing yards, a number that could have been less than zero had quarterback Thad Lewis not somehow absorbed just one sack on a night when he was constantly on the run.

You can expect the Blue Devils to come to West Point with something to prove, but the question remains, can they execute? Army knows this is a chance to make a statement of their own in their 120th home opener.

The same game notes for Army/Duke here (pdf).

Sal Interdonato takes a look at Army's future schedule... something I would advise the Black Knights not to do.

Yearbook: Maryland

Monday, September 7, 2009

Maryland has a fantastic archive with a lot of great content

They have two collections of historical yearbooks: from 1897 to 1935 it was known as the Reveille , and after 1935 it was titled the Terrapin.





It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

_______________ © 2009 The Unbalanced Line _______________








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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

_______________ © 2009 The Unbalanced Line _______________

Yearbook: Lehigh Epitome

Lehigh has their Epitome yearbooks online. A great look at a classic football team.

Photobucket







-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

_______________ © 2009 The Unbalanced Line _______________

Over and Out

It's nice to see Josh McNary and Victor Ugenyi each listed on the sacks leaderboard.
P Jonathan Bulls had himself a fine day kicking and cracked the top 20 in punting.

EMU's postgame wrap.
Hudson Valley Press's postgame wrap.

Looking ahead:
An interesting look at Duke's frustration: Take Two: Duke's New Focus Should Be Winning, Not Bowls.

Duke posted one, if not the largest home crowd in recent memory. More than 33,000 turned out to see Duke kick off the season.

If the Blue Devils want to see that again they will need to start winning. That starts with preparation for the Army game next Saturday.

If Duke can go to Army and come out with a win then they can forget about the loss to Richmond and gets some momentum for the rest of the season.
A few things:
1. I'd love to see 33,000 in Michie for Duke. When was the last time Army had a winning record? I hate to say it but it was 1996. There is a lot of potential for this to be a special game at Michie Stadium, so by all means attend if you have the chance to go.

2. As illustrated in the above quote, Army has to go into this one prepared, their mental mistakes and silly penalties need to be left in week 1.

3. Again drawn from the selection above, It's not the Black Knights' job to wait around and help Duke forget about the Richmond loss. If I'm Army I want to lay a loss on the Blue Devils just like the Spiders did. This game is an early barometer for Army's season and the Knight's performance vs Duke should give us an idea as to how Army stacks up against most of their schedule.

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