News and Notes

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Army played their spring scrimmage #2 and GoArmySports has a recap.

The player quotes at the end of the article have some timely updates.

Senior LB Stephen Anderson
(Ref.: his rehabilitation from offseason knee surgery)
“It’s going well. It’s a slow process. I have to remind myself every day that it’s a slow process, but the little victories help every day .I might run a little harder in the pool or walk a little faster on the treadmill. I’m not running yet. There’s no need for me to be better by March or April. I just want to be better for August, and I have to keep reminding myself of that. It’s a pretty legit surgery. I just need to take it day by day and listen to my trainers and doctors, and just take it as it comes.”

Sal Interdonato writes about new personnel at the slotback position.

Army’s search for speed at the slotback position has given junior Emerson Follett a new football life.

Follett played defensive back and was punt returner for Army’s sprint (lightweight football) team.

Follett hasn’t lined up against the big boys since he was a wide receiver at Lewiston (Idaho) High.

ESPN's Graham Watson takes note of the interchangeable athletes at West Point.

“Obviously, that was an extreme situation,” Ellerson said of Villanueva’s position change. “Guys have to love to play the game more than they love to play a particular position. I tell guys at the beginning of the recruiting process that if they can only be happy playing left end or right tackle or whatever it is, don’t come here because I don’t care. If a guy can only play one position, that’s a bad recruit.”

A very interesting perspective. Dave Wannstedt is another guy who likes to move guys around from year to year. The way Pitt plays under Wannstedt's doesn't usually produce the most high scoring team - but they keep games close and play very well with the game on the line. With the run game that Ellerson brings to the table I can only hope that switching players around on either side of the ball finds Army the speed to keep Army in some more games with chances to win games late. But with that said, the players have to be just as comfortable playing in close games as they are at picking up new positions in the spring.

Actual Army Football Notes

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring practice is in full swing and while the early start leaves me disoriented and short of breath, for Sal Interdonato it's game on.

Sal gives us personnel notes galore as the Army Football Insider blog gives us our first look at the 2010 Army team. Another recent spring ball breakdown from GoArmySports. Some good quotes from Coach Ellerson there, make sure to0 check it out.

Phil Steele has a D1-A spring practice schedule and he encapsulates Army's spring in what might fit in a Twitter post

INDEPENDENTS • Army returns 18 starters from last year’s team that won 5 games which was the most since 1996. Army welcomes back 8 starters on offense that will have to improve upon last years 275 ypg and 15 ppg performance.

I should reserve my criticism on how long people's Army posts are, since I'm really not adding very much these days.

Lastly I get the pun in this headline, but I don't see the humor at all in making light of head injuries. Richard King doesn't need me to look after his health, so I'll just offer him a welcome back to the team and a healthy season.

Year by Year 1873

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In 1873 we see the continued expansion of American football, and the makeshift rules that had been used to this point became a point of contention with the introduction of more teams to intercollegiate play.

The game that stands out in this year was the end of season game between Yale and Eton. This game is particularly interesting as it was the first international intercollegiate football game played as well as the first American game to have 11 man teams.

This game against Eton also brings up our familiar theme of rule changes and the laws of the game... this game was played under Football Association rules - the with the Association rules being the original carnation of England's F.A. soccer code. Eton traveled from England and only traveled 11 men to New Haven to face the Elis. The move to 11 man teams in American football didn't officially happen until 1880. Until 1872 teams would simply agree on a set of rules and play ball - now with the English F.A. producing a set of uniform rules (1861) and introducing the F.A. Cup tournament (1872) the idea was put forth in America to come to a consensus on rule changes for the good of the game.

Yale, Columbia, Rutgers and Princeton met on Oct 16th and agreed on a short set of rules adapted from F.A. soccer. Their agreed upon rules can be seen at a site called

That site is complete with a further historical time line straight through the 1880's and it also lists the 1872 football code:

1. The ground shall be 400 feet long and 250 feet broad.

2. The distance between the posts of each goal shall be 25 feet.

3. The number for match games shall be 20 to a side.

4. To win a game 6 goals are necessary, but that side shall be considered victorious which, when the game is called, shall have scored the greatest number of goals, provided that number be 2 or more. To secure a goal the ball must pass between the posts.

5. No player shall throw or carry the ball. Any violation of this regulation shall constitute a foul, and the player so offending shall throw the ball perpendicularly into the air to a height of at least 12 feet and the ball shall not be in play until it has touched the ground.

6. When the ball passes out of bounds it is a foul, and the player causing it shall advance at right angles to the boundary line, 15 paces from the point where the ball went, and shall proceed as in rule 5.

7. No tripping shall be allowed, nor shall any player use his hands to hold or push an adversary.

8. The winner of the toss shall have the choice of the first goal, and the sides shall change goals after every successive inning. In starting the ball it shall be fairly kicked, not "babied", from a point 150 feet in front of the starter's goal.

9. Until the ball is kicked no player on either side shall be in advance of a line parallel to the line of his goal and distant from it 150 feet.

10. There shall be two judges, one from each of the contesting colleges, and one referee; all to be chosen by the captains.

11. No player shall wear spikes or iron plates upon his shoes.

12. In all matches a No. 6 ball shall be used, furnished by the challenging side and to become the property of the victor.

So the rules provide that by this point American football was unquestionably soccer and that teams were now affiliated through this new, uniform set of rules.

One college that didn't take part in the modified Association rules was Harvard as they had their own game which permitted handling and running with the ball. Harvard, though invited, didn't attend the soccer meeting and opted instead to seek other running teams to play their brand of football against.

Harvard agreed to play McGill, a Canadian college in 1874 and the other American schools agreed to follow the association style rules, but in the next few years we will see that even amidst all this agreement... to date very little had been settled regarding American football.

The five games in 1873 played out like this:

10/25/1873 Rutgers 1 - 3 Yale
11/1/1873 Columbia 2 - 1 Stevens Tech
11/8/1873 Columbia 4 - 5 Rutgers
11/15/1873 Princeton 3 - 0 Yale
11/15/1873 Rutgers 3 - 4 Columbia
12/6/1873 Eton 1 - 2 Yale

...producing the records:

Princeton 1-0
Yale 1-1
Columbia 1-1
Rutgers 1-2
Stevens 0-1
Eton* 0-1

Princeton again playing to an undefeated 1-0 record. As I hesitantly give accolades to Princeton for another 1-0 title season I will remind you that Harvard was also playing ball among themselves and testing themselves for their scheduled series against McGill in 1874. Next up is the 1874 Harvard/McGill game that would change the game of football in America


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