Army to Pass

Friday, September 30, 2011

Forget about having the #3 rushing offense in the nation. If Army want's to compete against Tulane the only thing they will need to do is complete one pass.

Army has completed only one pass in the past two games, and the Black Knights were 0-for-4 throwing the ball against Ball State last week — the first time they did not have a completion in a game since 2008.

Sure, Ellerson's hurry-up-and-wait wishbone is chewing up yardage and clock - but without an arial attack Army will fall behind and eventually lose the game by something like 65-13

Perhaps this magical pass will come as a release out of the backfield, or maybe a lob into traffic - no matter how Army gets its game-winning pass one thing is for certain: There is no way Army will be able to stay on the same field as Tulane without completing exactly one pass.

Forget that the Black Knights are built to grind down opponents and wind down the clock, expect the Cadets to throw the ball every down just to keep up with high-scoring Tulane. Even better, sell out on your FBS #3 run game to get a little more balanced.

Here’s a thought for Army: try not to exceed 400 yards rushing.

Three weeks ago, the Black Knights also had 403 yards on the ground against San Diego State and lost that one 23-20 at home despite holding the ball for more than 42 minutes. Overall, Army has lost six straight when gaining at least 400 yards of total offense.

Maybe it's just the AP trolling the football program with the ridiculous assumption that Army needs to change what they're doing, but that is worthless advice to a team that is more than capable of staying the course and winning the next one.

The real key to the game, to me is ball control. Last year at the Super Dome Army forced fumbles all over the field and still merely eeked out a victory. My take is: to win the game take care of the football meaning - DON'T PASS. 

Tulane will be game, but Army should have a nice home field edge. By running clock and getting on the better side of the field position battle the Black Knights can get the season back on the right track. You want 3 and outs?.. Go ahead and throw the football all around.

Tulane is only allowing 122 rush yards per contest? That surely has more to do with their competition than anything that The Green Wave are doing to stuff runs.

But go ahead, Army, throw the ball. Passing is what gets fans in the seats, passing is what wins close games. Just throw the ball - all you need to do is connect on one.

Army's game notes are up. (PDF)

Tulane's game notes can be found here. (PDF)


Frank's for the Memories

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Q&A with Frank McGrath from Frank Helps You Think it All Out

Frank: I am very glad to be invited back to “The Unbalanced Line”. But I admit I am irked at Army. Why are they letting this game come to an end?

This series started in 1953- a scoreless tie. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tulane and Army have played fourteen times since 1996 and each team has won seven times. Admittedly, that is a big schedule presence. Perhaps USMA has grown tired of its occasional guest from New Orleans.

Due to an alumni concentration in NY, Tulane seemed eager to maintain the “local” game- replacing Army on future schedules with both Rutgers and Syracuse.  The Green Wave out of conference schedule has been fun recently. This year Tulane has Duke, Army, Syracuse- last year Ole Miss, Rutgers, Army- in 2009 Tulane had BYU, LSU, Army.

Still, dropped for more Kent State? San Diego State? Temple? Northern Illinois? Stony Brook??  I just don’t get it.

Chris: Looking at Tulane I see a fairly complete team, a balanced offense and a head coach in his 5th year with the program Digging a little deeper, Tulane has struggled this year on critical downs by my count going 15/45 on 3rd down so far. Is this team just a couple of key plays away from glory, or are there other problems holding Tulane football back?

Frank: No, Tulane is a long way from even decent.

The Green Wave is not horrible. They are a threat to, like last year, win four games. Like a lot of bad teams, they have a few no-hope games on the schedule- which means they are something like .500ish in their class (the bottom 40 teams in the country). So against their fellow under-resourced brethren, they hold their own. But outside of Rice, UAB, Memphis, etc., the situation is problematic.

Chris: There is so much speculation swirling about conference re-alignment: Conference USA / Mountain West mergers, open slots in the Big East; have you got any hopes or fears concerning Tulane's conference setup?

Frank: Fears? Not really. C-USA is code for “busted football programs that can’t get in anywhere good”- and there is no real threat that designation will be eliminated

I really like the idea of some sort of giant non-BCS collective. Gather 35-40 non-BCS schools, under a unified banner, produce a single football champion- and there is a sane route for an automatic bid to the current BCS or future eight team play-off.

To get out from addressing anti-trust concerns, revenue sharing, scheduling, etc., I think the BCS schools would like a way to get one non-BCS school in the post-season mix. They just need a methodology- and the champion of an organized confederation for non-BCS football gets everyone there. A good start is a football only merger of sorts with C-USA, Mountain West, Big 12 and Big East remnants.

Chris: Army's defense remains the team's biggest question mark, who's play should Army be more worried about, Ryan Griffin or Orleans Darkwa?

Frank: Both are solid college players. For Saturday, I would lean toward QB Ryan Griffin. Tulane doesn’t have any interior defensive line presence and the outside LBs are a disaster. So, just like last year, the Green Wave defense doesn’t really have any chance to keep Army under control.

Tulane has got to score four-five touchdowns just to be in it. You can’t normally score 35 points off a good rushing day. So Tulane is going to give their good quarterback every chance to have a big day against Army’s up-and-down defensive secondary.

Chris: Aside from the play of Griffin or Darkwa, what unexpected things might Army fans expect from Tulane?

Frank: I think Tulane will be very, very aggressive on defense. Again, I can’t believe they have any confidence in keeping Army under 30 playing “straight up”.  So they’ll blitz and overload and stunt, bring the safeties down. Play with just two true DBs, get a fifth DL or LB on the field. Who cares if they get burned for a few big plays if they can produce lucky stops and a couple of turnovers?

Chris: Any thoughts on a score prediction for the Army/Tulane game?

Frank: The line is Army -6 over Tulane, which seems fair. But both teams are so up and down. The good Tulane that crushed UAB would beat the Army team from week one. The good Army would destroy the Wave from this week at Duke.  I throw up my hands.

Each of these outcomes has a one-in-three chance: Tulane wins narrowly outright, Army wins by one score, Army wins by more than one score.  Army wins the game two-in-three. But, you probably cover the six in two of those same three scenarios. So if forced, I take Tulane and the points.

Chris: I don’t know if the Tulane/Army relationship soured or if there are other reasons behind the break in scheduling; my feelings are the same as Frank’s on the issue of Tulane/Army: Ithink it is a valuable rivalry for both programs and to see the rivalry endwith such a competitive history is disappointing.
I think what happened was just that Coach  Ellerson is familiar with California due in no small part to his prior stint at Cal-Poly and it’s clear California is where Ellerson wants to focus more recruiting energy. I don’t know why that has to cut into the Army/Tulane thing, but I think that instead of de-emphasizing a clear rivalry, taking a step away from scheduling MAC teams would be a better move for Army.

If this exercise doesn’t inspire these two teams to revive the rivalry, maybe, just maybe, it can convince Frank to return to the Tulane blogging beat.

Thanks again, Frank for taking part, enjoy the game and enjoy the rivalry. 


Yearbook: Tulane University Jambalaya

 I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have posted the yearbook of an opponent the same week that Army plays that team in football.

The Tulane Archive, Special Collections department has digitized and made available Tulane's Jambalaya yearbook. Tulane's medical school yearbook, the T-Wave  is also available, but for a great look at Tulane's football history, the Jambalaya is it.

I love the honest nature of Tulane's Digital Collections page.

The University Archives is just now moving into the digital realm, and digital holdings are scattered. One major project that has been completed is the digitization of The Jambalaya yearbook. 

Well, it's a good thing, because to me that's the most important one.
This collection is simply one of the most complete online yearbook collections with every published yearbook since 1896 represented - and represented well. All yearbooks since 1896 except the years 1997-2003 and 2007 are available, and these books give a great look at Tulane's football history.

The Internet Archive handles the downloadable and PDF versions of the Jambalaya, and Tulane's University Archives Special Collections department created the online-viewable version that has a great searchable bookmark system. Keywords are tagged in a timeline style index bar making it easy to both search and navigate the pages.

Some of Tulane's greatest hits are instantly at our fingertips:

Tulane's 1929 Undefeated season 

Tulane's 1931 Undefeated regular season

Tulane's 1932 Rose Bowl

I'm happy to post this one during a big week for Army. It's the last Army/Tulane game in the foreseeable future, and I'm convinced that this game has significant meaning for both teams. I'm one who respects the Tulane game as a rivalry, and likewise the Green Wave as a team. Both squads could use the win, but in a historical context, unless these two programs agree to continue the series - both teams will end up losing out.

Later today I'll post a Q&A with Frank formerly of the Tulane Blog Frank Helps You Think it All Out. Frank returns for his second Army/Tulane Q&A  He'll talk about the Tulane/Army rivalry, some conference affiliation stuff and he'll talk through the Tulane +6 @ Army number. That's coming up today at 11:00AM.

For now, enjoy the look back in time with Tulane's Jambalaya yearbooks. It's another quality addition to the yearbooks list.


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.
_______________ © 2011 The Unbalanced Line _______________

Just a Couple of Notes Pre-Tulane

Army game notes are up at GoArmySports.

Kevin Gleason calls this one "must-win" and Sal has his chat up for a fun read.

Sal's blog also looks at Coach E's presser and catches us up with some injuries around the team. \

I'm mailing in the pregame stuff again, but I've got some cool stuff to get around to later, so check back here when you can.


Blogpoll Week 5 Top 25 Ballot

Monday, September 26, 2011



Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in Bloglines

Subscribe in a reader