Army/Hawaii Postgame

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tough way to lose today, and depending on the status of Steve Anderson and Trent Steelman another potentially costly game for the Black Knights.

From an execution standpoint it was a tale of two halves. Army found themselves in a big hole early, but made adjustments at the half, had some key takeaways and played their game.

I don't know how the oddsmakers get so close to the spread like that, but it always leaves me amazed.

Looks like we'll be waiting for a report on Trent Steelman, but for now here's your Army/Hawaii story, stats and highlights.


Army Hawaii Availability

There is an internet stream available, check the radio tab above for a link.

Just to touch on this notable story:  Head Coach Rich Ellerson got some face time in the New York Times.

I really enjoyed this article. As goes the adage: football isn't about the X's and O's, but rather the willies and joes - this piece steps away from the matchups and playbooks and gives a look at the personality of Coach Ellerson. It's a conceptual look at a coach who has instituted his philosophy - apart from the game of football and taken the Army football team on a path to achieve and succeed. It's a good read and despite leaving out football's X's and O's, this one has me thinking 10 wins in 2010.

It's just like me to be so optimistic before Army's first test of the season, but I'll be honest in my opinion that Hawaii at Michie is the least of Army's worries this year. Forgive me for thinking that Army can flip the field against Rutgers and get a win at 'neutral' New Jersey, pardon me for holding the belief that Army is due to beat Navy. Losses to Notre Dame and Temple 10-2 with the CIC trophy sweep? All of this would be very difficult to imagine without HC Rich Ellerson. If Army is going to do any of that this is the year, there, I said it.
This is the year.

You can believe the poison that's spouted on message boards or you can believe that this Army team is made differently than Black Knights teams before it. I'm not talking about what offense Army runs and I'm not talking about the brand of athlete put forth by West Point - I'm talking about the vision and effort of Rich Ellerson. Considering those elements it is easy to feel optimistic about the future of the Army football program. Sure, the goals this year are loftier, I'm simply suggesting that West point fans should have expectations that match those lofty goals.

That's all. Enjoy the game.

Never Forget



Army/Hawai'i Game Preview

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hawai'i visits West Point this weekend for Army's home opener.

Hawai'i has a great UH football blog - likely the most dedicated Hawai'i blog there is. Plenty of  UH/Army content and preview video to be had there.

Sal looks at Hawai'i's flight mileage noting that they are already in New York.   

Hawaii traveled 4,945 miles to play Rutgers on Oct. 4, 1975 in Piscataway, N.J. The Warriors’ trip to play Florida was 4,669 miles in 2008.
Hawaii’s flight time shouldn’t be an excuse. The Warriors landed in Newark, N.J. Wednesday. The team has stayed at a hotel in Park Ridge, N.J. and practiced locally.

The Warriors can wake up every day from Wed. to Fri. at 4:00 AM Honolulu time and they still won't be used to the time difference. Even with the extra time allowed for Hawaii to get used to the time that kind of trip can take a toll on athletes. I believe that is the main reason for Army to be favored on the early betting lines. Another is Army's ridiculous record in home openers -  this stat is gold... Army is 96-21-3 in home openers. That number is just shy of their all time season opener winning percentage, but it is still a berzerk video-game-like number.

Army's chances hinge on more than just ball control. For one thing, this is a game where the whole team needs to perform - the Defense alone won't be able to pull this game out of the fire this time and for all their efforts against Eastern Michigan the offense can't do it themselves either.

WEST POINT — Army quarterback Trent Steelman made sure he found linebacker Stephen Anderson after their 31-27 victory on Saturday at Eastern Michigan.
"I told Steve the defense picked us up all last year and it's finally time to pick them up a little bit," Steelman said. "When we step on the field, we expect to put the ball in the end zone."

Keys to victory:

The D-line will have to get Moniz.

While there is still speculation of a concussion, Moniz says he does not have any sort of concussion symptoms. Right now the coaching staff – along with team doctors, are monitoring him. He is considered day-to-day.
Moniz says he will be ready to go for next Saturday’s game against Army. If not it seems like a very capable Shane Austin would step into the starters roll.

The Offense will have to not only possess the ball, but also light up the scoreboard.
“We need to finish, he said. “There were still a lot of points left on the board. In order for us to come out and play our best game, we have to put some points on the board. We had a lot of things go well for us against Eastern Michigan. We have to continue to finish our blocks and continue to pound the football. That’s what we do best.

Overall the team will have to capitalize on turnovers.

Creating Hawaiian turnovers and capitalizing on them plus completely eliminating turnovers on the offensive side of the ball is what Army must do to come out on top of this game.

I'm not in the predicting game, but Sal has his list of picks.

Army's game notes are up (PDF), also there are Hawaiian game notes available here.

Personnel Update

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking ahead to Army's Saturday home opener vs. Hawaii - Sal broke some good news

Junior linebacker Steve Erzinger, who took a blow to the head in the second half against Eastern Michigan, practiced Tuesday and should play Saturday. Senior linebacker Sean Westphal, Erzinger’s backup, who left the game late in the fourth quarter, practiced without limitations.
Senior free safety Donovan Travis was limited in practice.

That's encouragement for the defense which will face a high powered Hawai'i offense. An interesting stat is that Hawai'i brings the NCAA's top passing offense hitting 55% for 459 yards in their opener against USC.

Army, incidentally boasts the #2 passing defense giving up only 44% completions after giving up just 31 yards on 9 attempts last week against Eastern Michigan.

After week 1, Jared Hassin's three TDs are good enough for 6th in Div. 1-A scoring and Steve Anderson's 10 tackles place him at 49th in the nation in tackles, but more importantly I think it shows Anderson is back on track to lead the defense and have a great senior year.

Blogpoll Week 2 Ballot

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here's a look at my Blogpoll official ballot for week 2.

Oregon impressed me enough to make a jump to top 3 - I would have jumped them to first, but I can't justify dropping Alabama who hasn't lost a regular season game in 3 years.

Ohio State did enough to not get jumped, but Oregon looked sharp against an overmatched New Mexican team.

Boise did it again, and earned their way into the top 5. The question is: from here on out do they have to blow out opponents every week in order for me to jump them into title position?

Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma and the bottom fifth of my top-25 got the shaft after I was impressed by other teams and bumped them to make room for what I saw as better looking squads.

Pitt, UNC, and Oregon State dropped out of my rankings - Oregon State had a top 15 spot on a platter, but couldn't finish the job, UNC dropped some because of their loss, but mainly because of their eligibility issues. Pittsburgh dropped a record 19 spots because, well:

"At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who watched your game at Salt Lake is now dumber for having watched it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Here's the list from 1-25.

After the jump is a look at the Week 2 Blogpoll top 25.



Monday, September 6, 2010

The Twitter account predates the season, so that's excusable - but this?
From Hometown Annapolis's Navy blog.

There are still 11 games to go and a lot can happen, but there is no doubt that the Heisman Trophy hopes of Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs took a serious hit on Monday at M&T Bank Stadium. Navy was upset by an opponent it was favored to beat and Dobbs did not play well.

Calling them "Heisman hopes" at this point makes about as much sense as naming a pro football stadium 'Empty Bank Stadium' - the name just doesn't fit the situation.

Anyway Bill Wagner can believe anything he wants to believe, but here's to the Navy fans.

Your Navy/Maryland story, stats and highlights.


Eyes on Your Own Paper

As is the norm for my information stream - Sal has the scoop.
Sal Interdonato did a radio interview with WVOX 1460AM, and gave his take on the Eastern Michigan game and looked ahead to Army/Hawai'i next Saturday.
And as is the norm for my news collection ability: I cribbed Sal's notes.

Some of Sal's comments - paraphrased, of course.

Sal said that Coach Ellerson was encouraged by the way the ball was distributed through the offense.

Sal seemed to think that Jared Hassin would improve as the year goes on. For one, Hassin was a halfback in highschool and FB is a new position for him. Because of that, Sal said he thought Hassin showed some nerves in his first game and that he will probably have better performances down the stretch.

He moved on to the Black Knight players who were touched by injuries and updated us a little bit on what the linebacking corps will look like moving forward.

With Andrew Rodriguez injured, Nate Combs played for all of 6 defensive plays, left the game injured and was seen on crutches. Sal said that Rich Ellerson mentioned unofficially that Combs is likely done for the year.

Moving forward, Sal said that Chad Littlejohn performed well with 7 tackles in the backup roll, and that they will shuffle things around a bit for practice this week. Look for Littlejohn or Steve Anderson to fill LB spots and this news report (also Sal's) lists Steve Erzinger as probable to start against Hawaii.

Regarding the Hawaii game Sal talked a bit about how the secondary will have to step up after not really being tested by Eastern Michigan. Trent Steelman's role in handling the football should become more polished as the season goes on - and with the weapons and the way the offense is distributing the ball, Steelman should stay healthier and be more effective since he won't have to do so much by himself.
Sal's keys to the Hawai'i game come in the ability of the secondary to step up against the Warriors pass attack and with finishing drives - not with ball control, not with scoring field goals... finishing drives with touchdowns.

Thanks to Sal for the info, his insights are pretty much spot on; you can follow him on the Times Herald-Record sports page or on his Army Football Insider Blog.


Blogpoll Week 1 Rough Draft

Here's my thoughts on the top 25 teams after week 1

1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1
4 Ohio St. Buckeyes 2
6 Oregon Ducks 3
3 Nebraska Cornhuskers 4
5 Virginia Tech Hokies 5
8 Florida Gators 6
2 Texas Longhorns 7
12 Iowa Hawkeyes 8
10 Florida St. Seminoles 9
16 TCU Horned Frogs 10
9 Oklahoma Sooners 11
11 Boise St. Broncos 12
13 California Golden Bears 13
15 Georgia Bulldogs 14
17 Houston Cougars 15
25 Utah Utes 16
14 Penn St. Nittany Lions 17
22 Miami Hurricanes 18
18 Auburn Tigers 19
-- LSU 20
20 Arkansas Razorbacks 21
-- Georgia Tech 22
21 West Virginia 23
23 Stanford Cardinal 24
-- South Carolina 25

Dropped from rankings (3)

19 North Carolina Tar Heels --
24 Oregon St. Beavers --
7 Pitt --

Let me know what you think, I'm open to suggestions.

So, What Did I Miss?

First off, thanks to everyone who watched the video feed. While the production value on my end was pretty 'LOL' I was pleased to see so many people find and watch the stream. I'm counting on the rest of Army's games to be available on more mainstream sources, so I doubt I'll be doing many more broadcasts this year.

The game was a barnburner, opening weekend for college ball is a hell of a time to get involved with family moving to nearby Portland... and all things considered I was lucky enough to catch the two games I really wanted to see. Army's improvement on offense was palpable, but defensively there were way to many miscues and lapses.

Scoring 4 touchdowns is a pretty noticeable step in the right direction for the Black Knights' offense, but capping the game off with a 78 yard scoring drive for the win should give Army a reason for optimism as the season progresses.

We should all appreciate this win and enjoy the win, but looking back at this game, for every reason Army fans have to be optimistic about 2010 there are two or three items that log as true reality checks for this season. The win was costly as the defense lost both Steve Erzinger and Nate Combs. I'm still looking for a report on those players' injuries, plus the status of fellow LB Sean Westphal, but I am not encouraged by what I have heard to this point.

Sure Army scored TDs and finished the game with a clutch drive- but it is clear that Army's schedule is a lot tougher than anyone thought it would be. Eastern Michigan showed life and made for a competitive road trip. Up next is Hawaii, who gave USC some serious trouble before falling at home. The good news is that Hawaii travels all the way to West Point, but brace yourselves as the Warriors are a good looking team with the ability to score a lot of points.

It will be easy for me to forget how Army struggled with what is considered one of the weakest div.1 teams, but it will be harder for the team to move on as they lost those key players from the defense. Really, though getting the win on the road was big - Army will have to compete in and win every road game in order to qualify for a bowl. Just squeaking this one out in the first game goes a long way toward the season's goal of a postseason invite. 

Here's your Army/EMU story, stats and "highlights".


Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in Bloglines

Subscribe in a reader