Boxing Day

Friday, December 25, 2009

On this site you probably won't see a lot of coverage of Army's non-football intercolegiate sports - but last night's USMA brigade boxing championship has good reason to be mentioned. ESPNU's boxing promotion was a great venue and ESPN brought particuarly good production value - even for their standards - and had the added benefit of giving the U.S. Military Academy national TV exposure on a slow sports night.

Head football coach Rich Ellerson made an appearance on the brigade boxing and did an interview with ESPN boxing commentators Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore. Teddy Atlas is one of my favorite sports personalities and he didn't disappoint last night. In the short interview Rich Ellerson was asked some of the most basic questions one could predict: "What about the option?" "What about the Academy?" "What about 2010?"

Coach Ellerson commented that the coaching job at Army is a great job and touted Army's rich tradition. He said that they look forward to working hard for next year and noted that spring ball starts in two weeks. Answering Tessitore's question about his offensive and defensive schemes, we were subjected to characteristic coach speak from Coach E. who says that Army is becoming exceptionally skilled at the option and that they are -if anything- unique on defense, calling the Double Eage Flex "the option of the defensive side of the ball".

It's nice to see any sort of Army football coverage on TV during the holiday season... and this event looked special from the prime time production to the fights to the level of class that the USMA inherantly displays.

Teddy Atlas had me in stitches when they looked ahead at Army's 2010 schedule.

"That's not too easy a schedule." said Atlas. "Ball State ended up playing pretty well."

I don't know... maybe he meant Temple? I suppose getting the Christmas day P.R. is worth having Ellerson deal with boxing commentators regarding football matters.

Ellerson was to the point: offense, defense and kicking game - stressing the importance to thrive in all phases aof the game.

Don't think for a minute that I took my eye off of Pitt's most complete season since 1982.

I'm back in Pittsburgh for the week and I'll be hitting up some of my old stomping grounds in Oakland today with the Meineke Bowl as the main course of the day.

Merry Christmas

Army/Navy Extra Points

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Like the rest of the bowl-unqualified world I've gone into a hibernation of sorts.

Google's news search results for Army football have diminished since the season finale:

But the real reason I haven't posted is that I've been visiting family on the east coast without the time (or wireless connections) to post anything.

The 2009 edition of Army/Navy is done, but it seems that the Navy contingent have really taken offense to Rich Ellerson's assertion that Army is closing the gap. Just a couple of thoughts on this since I'm not even going to pretend that I like Navy football or Navy football fans.

This kind of coach speak came out of Ellerson all season long. Sometimes he toned it down a little- and when he did, the team played down to a lower level - like against VMI after he said something to the effect of "I'm not going to tell you that VMI is as good as some of the teams we've played"(sic) - I couldn't believe a coach would make comments to the press like that but it was then that I realized that kind of coachspeak is just what Rich Ellerson does.

Coach speak may have been some of it, because coaches don't like to lose - but realistically since the gap vs Navy was as wide as it has been it doesn't take fancy things like touchdowns and wins to prove Army is getting closer.

Navy's team this year isn't nearly as good as the one that knocked off Pitt in 2007 - I definitely see Navy as having taken a step back from recent years.

That same Bird Dog writeup lists 2006 Army/Navy as an even closer score than this year - but within the conversation of "closing the gap on Navy" that is to discount the more recent regression of the program under Stan Brock- hired in 2007. Coaching and stability at the top spot is a crucial factor in building a D-1 college program - Ellerson can surely make improvements in his second year and factoring in any increase in stability at the head coaching spot, that gap between Army and bowl eligible teams will get smaller.

I'm not going to get too involved with this because it's really a non-issue. If the insecurities of Navy football fans were the topic of this blog you would be reading a site called The Unbalanced Navy Rent-Boys.

No matter what you call it, I'll probably be absent from the site at least another week until I get back to Oregon, but keep up with Sal's Times Herald Record coverage and we'll meet back up in 2010.

Interdonato posted Army's wish list for 2010 and looks at the 2010 schedule - it's a little early for that, but I'll say again that Army football is lucky to have a guy as dedicated as Sal on their sports beat.



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