Naught 0wl

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Last I saw, Army is a 1 point underdog. That's nowhere near where I have the point spread, and while it's not up to me-  if I were a player, I would be angry at that outlook. On the field or on the sideline, I would consider that a personal physical challenge. I don't really see this game as close. It is the Owl's (Athene noctua) natural tendency to leave its feet when confronted that will endanger this species. I think Army wins at home and puts this game and Rice in the rear view mirror. I'm looking forward to seeing how Army's offense lines up throughout the game. Also, focus should be on remaining focused for 4 full quarters and finishing the game - also in all 4 quarters.

Sal Interdonato has the best Army football stuff / He's a fantastic beat writer and he is, right now, at his prime. Army football fans do and should flock to his blog site. Visit these sites [goodness /good news] to find more interesting writing by Sal and others.

I feel pumped up after reading the Fox News coverage. Not a thing wrong with that. I am however, fairly sure they're bringing some of these creeps. My prediction? this one of those games that you will absolutely have to be there for. Set the game to record on your DVR. If you're within driving distance, come in from the west, take the train up the Hudson. It's this kind of game you just get a feeling about. Whether or not you believe right now that Army football will achieve - If you're a fan you will probably look back at this game and wish you were there to watch in person.


Rice Game Items

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Army/Rice game notes are up (.pdf)

Coach Monken's pregame presser quotes are up as well. 

Rice comes in looking pretty balanced:

RK    TEAM   YDS    YDS/G    PASS     P YDS/G     RUSH     R YDS/G    PTS    PTS/G
69     Rice    2160       432      1135       227.0       1025       205.0        138     27.6

77     Army  2102       420        411        82.2        1691       338.2        144     28.8

227 ypg passing and 205 ypg rushing. I don't imagine Rice will have the football enough to ring up those kind of numbers,

Another well deserved spotlight piece shows a renewed Rice more focused on football this year than ever.


         No, seriously though one of the more dynamic players on the Rice Owls is QB Driphus Jackson. Rice runs a lot of pistol and Shotgun I-form and they play some zone-read option, as well as run some regular power out of the Shotgun I. Jackson has definite escapability inside and outside of the pocket, and he's turned busted plays into positive yards in games against Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

         After seeing a little bit of Rice in the first few weeks, Army's focus should be on the back end - sticking to D. Jackson's targets downfield and challenging Rice to make a play on the ground. Not that you don't want to pressure the QB, but there needs to be containment of the QB above all else. It could be a nervy game trusting Army's secondary to cover, because the Owls mix it up well. The Owls pass a lot on characteristic running situations and, for better or for worse, do some running on obvious passing down and distances. It will be yeoman's work for the defense to lock down the zone-read option and cover the play action passing game that stems off of that pistol set.

        I don't want to give the impression that Driphus Jackson is the Incredible Hulk, but he's thrown just 3 INTs this year, gets some favorable schemes from the zone read & it's play action pass, and they play kind of off-beat with plenty of 1st and 2nd down passing as a kind of common wrinkle in their offense. Jackson's escapability brings into the spotlight Army's tackling: the success of the defense could hinge on whether they can effectively bring D. Jackson to the ground: the arm tackles and some of the ole' tackles we've seen in weeks past aren't going to cut it against a QB with Driphus' size and ability. If Army can contain 3 downs of passing and make Rice run and the Black Knights should step away with a sizable lead by the 3rd. What happens in the 4th quarter, then, is anyone's guess.


Army 2-3

Monday, October 6, 2014

Army wins 33-24

Over the Pylon posted a scathing response to the result.

It would appear to me that the playcalling is conservative at best, completely incorrect at times. That is 100% a coaching issue. It would appear to me that the units are at times unfocused, ill-prepared, and not ready to compete at a championship level. Allowing them to get to that point is 100% a coaching decision. Allowing them to remain in the lineup is 100% a coaching issue. Allowing them to remain in the lineup because the remainder of the roster (for the first time in the Lembo era comprised entirely of his recruits) is not any better is 100% a coaching issue.

When you look at the success Army has had on offense a lot of it has come against nose guards in straight up zero technique. In fact, Army's triple option sees a TON of straight up nose tackle vs center. That comes from the general thought that a triple option offense could easily flip the direction of a play at the line of scrimmage. Yale didn't line up in much zero technique - mostly in short yardage & goal line plays in packages that had built in 1 gap help. Not that Army didn't have success against the pair of 1 technique guards - you can look back at some of Army's drives against Yale and see they had some success creating holes up front with center & guard leverage vs 1 technique & 1 technique, and they had success turning those players around with a little misdirection - letting the Yale guards run themselves out of the gaps. The point there is that no matter what you run zero or 1 or however you play it - that player on the center needs to physically and mentally dominate his player every defensive play of the game. To get beaten off the ball for the whole game and still run the same zero technique is absolutely on the defensive coordinator. Anything after that is the nose not making his play, not getting off the center, or doing things outside of the defense to try to make up for his original assignment - that is - it's on the player as much as the coach.

I'm not picking on one Ball State guy saying the guard lost the game. Both teams featured some woeful tackling. Ball State's defense just happened to have the worse game in terms of wrapping up the ballcarrier. My point is that the players have to make the play. If you have a guy in your grasp at 5 yards - giving up 15 on that play isn't at all acceptable. Let's forget about Ball State's defense right now - that's directed at the Black Knights. There needs to be attention to detail regarding tackling. Both teams missed tackles that went for big plays - as a defense, Army can't expect to win games tackling the way they have been. We talk about Army's trend of giving games away late - if all 11 players wrapped up and tackled for 4 quarters that subject of giving up leads would vanish into the autumn sky.

You have to like the result. Army is racking up offensive yardage and has finally out-schemed their opponent, but that came along with some familiar defensive troubles. A win at home against Rice next week and Army's back on track. There is hope for this season yet, you would almost like to see them adopt a team mantra like "Finish Strong" - but really I'd be even happier if they spent the energy working on bringing down ball carriers.

Army jumped back up to 3rd in team rushing (avg/game)

Here's the Ball State/Army story stats and highlights.



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