Army Air Force Preview

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lots to look forward to in Army vs. Air Force.

There's a lot on the line with the winner gaining bowl eligibility and with the CIC Trophy in play.

Here are Army's game notes.

The Black Knights are trying to stop a number of losing streaks against Air Force. Army has lost four straight overall to the Falcons and six consecutive outings versus Air Force at Michie Stadium. Army is also trying to stop a nine-game losing streak to its fellow service academies. The Black Knights’ last win in CIC Trophy play was a 27-24 win at Air Force on Nov. 5, 2005.

Interestingly, Army will try to keep alive Air Force's own losing streak - currently at 3 games.

Sal has an Army/Air Force video preview up pretty good stuff there, check it out if you haven't already.

Stretching Air Force's losing streak to 4 games will be a tall order against a skilled team coming away from two straight games vs. top 10 teams.

Most of the time I consider coming off games like that as a benefit to a team... they gain experience playing against a stronger or faster team and are tested in all phases of the game. I don't know why I've always thought that, but it just seems like the best possible practice for a team *unless* you leave the game with injuries.

--The Falcons have been hit by injuries, but hope that NG Ryan Gardner returns this week. Air Force was allowing 155.8 rushing yards through the Navy game. It has given up an average of 263.3 rushing yards per game since. That increase isn't entirely related to any injury, but getting Gardner back would help. "If we could get one body back, that's not sitting on Santa's lap and asking for too much," coach Troy Calhoun said.

In this case, Air Force is dealing with some holes due to injuries and their prep for last week's Utah game surely didn't allow for much work against Army's flexbone offense. Add to that Army's well timed bye week and the rationale for Utah and TCU being Air Force Academy's best practice leading up to Army goes right out the window.

Steve Anderson's Blog is rolling along. You know he's in the right frame of mind for this one.

Perennial MVP Sal Interdonato posts CBS College play-by-play announcer Dave Ryan's Army Air Force Preview where Ryan lists that QB play is key.

This one is an academy game, one with bowl hopes and CIC bragging rights on the line, Army is expecting a full house and both teams should be wearing new uniforms... everywhere you turn it's a load of distractions for the good guys- Ellerson's take on the fanfare?

"My message from beginning to end this week will be that this is not going to require some heroic, over-the-top effort," Ellerson said. "Or we have to go to some emotional place that we've never been before in order to be successful. What we have to do is what we do and we can't allow all the bells and whistles going off on the periphery to distract us from doing what we do. It's like you're trying to take the SAT and there's a guy in the corner with a noisemaker. You gotta shut it down."

Disjointed Thoughts in Walking up to Air Force

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I don't know what to tell you about the VMI game. Good game? Army did what they had to do? I'm actually relieved that I can write just that and not have to explain VMI hanging around like last year or even pulling an upset.

It's a good win. I'll take it, we'll move on to the next week where Army can earn its first bowl bid in 14 years.

Army looks ahead to a sharp Air Force team who will be playing for the CIC trophy.
This will be as good a chance as Army gets to show off for real. Some have suggested that Kent State represents the 6th win, I'll talk Kent State after this week when hopefully, the Black Knights have a bowl bid in hand and can go out play in a game where they will be favored to win and can just rack up style points and run their plays. Enjoying that reality and making it happen are two different things, and Air Force is the team Army has to go through to claim their postseason prize.

From game 1 we saw this Black Knights team was made of different stuff. The team was operating efficiently and opportunistically, finishing drives(!) and winning games. That's great, this is a good Army team and they deserve to go out and stretch their legs against VMI. I don't see any real reason to celebrate this 5th win... I'm still busy looking for #6.

It basically boils down to this: the VMI win could have been the 6th 7th or even 8th win for the Black Knights this year.

- The last-minute Hawaii debacle - totally winnable game.
- Overtime against an overmatched Rutgers team - Army was unfortunate to lose that one.
- Temple turning the offense up in the 4th Quarter and scraping by: 35-42

This team is 5-3, and as close as Army was to being able to claim 8-0 that is their record.
I'm not ragging on the team at all, there have been a lot of positive things going on this year. Considering that-  The Falcons may very well represent the toughest opponent that Army will face this year. Can Army compete with every team on their schedule? We will find out for sure this week. I'll say it again... this team could be 8-0 if not for the self-inflicted issues that stood in Army's way in the three losses. There will be no room for self inflicted mistakes against Air Force.

Speaking of things that there is no room for: here's some bulletin board material for the Falcons. 

The Fashion Police took no time in calling out the all-camo uniforms.

That's a uniform of all camouflage, with black numbers for no apparent reason other than preserving the accuracy of their "Black Knights" team name. Army's uniforms are designed by Nike, also famous for such hits as the shoulder pad patch at Virginia Tech and Florida, and every uniform Oregon has ever worn.

Personally, I liked them. The uniforms were a surprise addition and I like the change of pace. At this point style points don't matter, win at home against Air Force and they can play Kent State in jeans for all I care.
Danny wild has posted his pics from the game, another great round of photos from him. You can see Danny's photos of the camo uniforms

Sal has an injury update for us. 

There's good news on the injury front.
Starting center Zach Peterson (ankle) returned to practice after missing his first game in two seasons last week.
Middle linebacker and co-captain Stephen Anderson (hamstring), who didn't play in the second half against VMI, was back at full speed.
Nose guard Mike Gann (ankle) dressed but didn't do much at practice. But Gann and Ellerson said he'll be ready to go.
Junior cornerback Antuan Aaron also dressed but didn't practice much and sophomore slotback Malcolm Brown looks like he'll miss his second straight game with a collarbone injury.


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