I don't think I have to expound on my contempt for overtime. I've said it before and after an OT loss, I'm sure it always comes across as sour grapes, but I can't stand these disingenuous overtime results.
Sloppy game, How do you run for 400 yards own the time of possession and still come up short? Penalties and turnovers is how.
We knew Army couldn't go flawless this year, and when they did - they looked unbeatable. The recipe to take the same team and make them beatable is to mix in a fumble and a pick. Additionally, the penalties were killer. Not only did the fouls stall drives, but Buffalo was able to magnify the damage of pretty much every penalty.
Another theme I think should be mentioned is how Army's defense, while dominant - hasn't had their endurance tested yet. Today they found themselves on the field for a late extended drive and they couldn't answer the bell. I was as surprised as anyone that the defense let up 14 points in the 4th quarter, but during crunch time Buffalo moved the chains and extended drives. Let's not pretend there aren't other teams on Army's schedule that can conjure up some 1st downs down the stretch.
I don't want to take anything away from Buffalo's game, because they didn't have much going for them through 3 quarters - but when the chips were down they delivered big time. 14 points in the final frame to tie the game late - and given one opportunity to prove themselves in OT Buffalo did just that. Two missed kicks later... Buffalo finished the comeback and escaped with the win. Hats off to the Bulls defense, after an early feeling out process they did a great job getting off blocks and making plays. There are a lot of downs I know Army's offense would like back, but as much as I hate it - I guess if you want do-overs that's what overtime is for. Hmmph.
If you haven't realized it yet, this isn't going to be a special, magical year. 4-0 will have to wait and awakening the echoes of 1999 and 1958 will have to wait. The result is painful, especially in a loss like this - one that sends team perception and psyche spiraling back to earth. But this is NOT "Same old Army" - you're let down and your early season hopes likely lie on the scrap heap. Forget all about what you hoped would happen - stand up now and get back into this season. This season is everything we should expect from Army football. Army should beat the teams it has beaten. There will be strange road losses like this one - get used to it now. Some years it might be a team like Buffalo that gets 'em - other years it might be a home game or some other team with an edge. This one isn't Fordham, and it isn't the Yale game. Buffalo played as a game underdog, and they achieved in the 4th quarter. It happened; and this kind of game could happen in future seasons. But assuming Jeff Monken sticks around, the program is poised to make 4-0 happen in future seasons. Army has a lot to focus on and a lot to play for. The Cadets are and should be focused on the next game but overall, Army is playing for the future. We've got every reason to believe that Army will achieve and succeed as we thought they would before today. It could well be that this loss is this year's most important game for the Cadets. Army had their chances and didn't get the job done. Recognize that Army will soon get back to this spot. For now, it's pick up the pieces and move on.
Army Buffalo story, stats and highlights.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016
Since seemingly everybody around me wants to talk about anything except Army football I guess I am going to have to find some common ground with those who must find anything and everything offensive.
I have enough make believe and extra noise in my life without having to mix additional extra noise into my day. Now I'm getting this extraneous bullshit mixed in with my football watching pastime. I am talking about the new trend of being offended at whatever the Army football team or their fans are doing at this precise moment.
First it was the team's Jesus prayer. Some attention seeker Mikey Weinstein took offense at the team's Jesus prayer.
Now it's this clown who thinks wearing a sombrero while in El Paso's Sun Bowl stadium is racist.
Felix Sanchez, founder and CEO of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, told Fox News Latino on Tuesday that he noticed the photo pop up on his Facebook feed and he found it “extraordinarily offensive."Sanchez called the scene in the picture "an example of‘Trumpism’" whatever the fuck that means. Further, he cited UTEP as a predominantly Hispanic university and suggested Army fans wore sombreros to embarrass UTEP players.
I beg your pardon, but at what point in the game was any Army partisan in need of an edgy means to embarrass UTEP? If Sanchez, who represents the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts as founder and CEO was needing something to take offense to how about UTEP's ole' defense? The argument has no weight and was essentially laughed away by USMA brass.
If the U.S. Military Academy had as thin of skin they would certainly be online right now whining about Felix Sanchez likening them to any manner of Donald Trump's platform. Oh my sweet Jeezus: "Trumpism." That is rich. That is very, very rich. That statement is so, so rich. Really, extremely rich.
And so below I have a posted a safe place that you will find free of oppression and free from triggers. Feel free to come by our safe space to chill out away from the things that may bother you or make you feel anxious.
Neither Jesus nor the sombrero are hats that I wear, but if an easily accessible safe area on my site allows just one football fan to feel comfortable, then it is the least I can do.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
This space is a designated safe space.
Within the physical limits of this post no triggers are allowed.
People using vulgar or violent speech will be sent away.
If you need to vent color some bubbles.
If you need to take your mind off being offended play the word search.
Thinking will not be tolerated at any time in the safe space.
Comments for this post have been disabled.
I hope you enjoy your oppression free stay at our Safe Space.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Update: Buffalo game notes added
No news is good news as far as Army football is concerned. Notably, Monday was #28 Brandon Jackson's funeral, and the team attended the ceremony. I'm not hearing too much about injuries at this point, there are a few players I would like to hear about, but as long as the injuries aren't mounting I am fine with that.
Buffalo is a team that has been running the ball a lot. They've gone over 200 yards rushing in each of their first two games (both losses). Buffalo has been holding onto the ball - just one fumble so far through 2 games... the Bulls have thrown 3 interceptions to this point though.
Looks like the Bulls might work out of the 4-3, it's a scheme they stuck with in defeat against Nevada's read-option offense. We'll have to see though, maybe they will try something different against the triple option.
Here are the Army game notes (.pdf), a statistical snapshot of the Bulls first two games can be found here. I'll try to update with the actual game notes when they post them. Update: Buffalo Game notes
This game will be Army's only chance to lay claim to owning New York - maybe time to rack up some points?
No reason to be overconfident, no reason to look ahead - the Cadets have a bye week after the Buffalo game, so there will be plenty of time to ponder life after the road trip.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
BOWL-LIKE Atmosphere tonight in El Paso. Truly, it was a great reception. From what I could see the stadium looked packed for a good portion of the game. I can't say enough about UTEP and their support. The fans were there, the administration really dedicated their resources to making this game a spectacle, and it seemed that pretty much everyone was rewarded. Everyone rewarded, that is, except for those Miners players. So great was my experience watching this one online, that I will forever throw my support behind the UTEP miners football program (except in the cases where they may play Army or Pitt). Sure it was 90° and the evening shadows crept onto the field - distinctly different than my recollection of the mid-day Sun Bowl bowl game. Even so, there is no way as an Army fan you can't call this one a Sun Bowl Classic. Well, just one thing was missing...
Really though, such a production. Last week I was wary of the American Sports Network and their online availability, but I found the feed and they didn't at all disappoint. The broadcast team was excitable and fairly knowledgeable about the teams. For one, it made me ponder an ongoing rivalry with UTEP. I feel both teams would be deserving of such an arrangement. Seriously though, how often does Army pack their own house at noon on any given Saturday? West Point Athletics administration and Army fans, it's time to take the UTEP matchup personally.
As for the game - wow. The game was the cherry on top. So many cherries, in fact, that the banana split got lost underneath. To travel home on a Sunday with the win, a healthy lineup, validation of the 3 (plus) years of work you've put into this team and receiving a vote or two in the coaches poll, that makes for a nice little weekend. The 3-0 start will reinforce to the team that they are doing things the right way and will fuel more of the same winning spirit. One can easily see that it is bigger than the offense running and achieving, it's bigger than the yeoman's work being done by the defense. It's complete validation of the decisions made and the moves taken to get to this point. There will be a lot of talk about the potential of this team going forward, and that talk has been earned. The trick for Army is going to be not letting the talk alter the team's focus. I have no doubts about this team and I hope that sort of public sentiment doesn't become a distraction.
The offense got to look at a different defense. The Cadets absolutely dominated the 3-4 Eagle and then worked in Carter, who I will call the backup simply for lack of another term for him. Then by the 4th quarter you get the true backup - 3rd string QB Malik McGue and Malik does more than what was asked by any reasonable expectation. (he's got a nice 529.6 QB rating) You see how it would be easy for us to get ahead of ourselves and look toward prolonged achievement, just considering the things the team has showed through 3 games and considering the personal/emotional investment that Army fans have sunken into recent years. Don't perseverate on it. Army is good. Crack your knuckles and enjoy, because the Cadets are good right now.
So UTEP. I am sure I would have appreciated the game and the reception just the same if UTEP had won the game. I love the Sun Bowl and to see it rocking like that is truly what I am all about. This game will leave a sour taste only if the powers that be don't recognize the game as a great starting point for a rivalry. I likely won't mention it again, but that away game impressed my in almost every aspect. I'll issue the challenge: win or lose, I don't know if West Point athletic department could match the game day experience that Texas Western-El Paso put forth toward this game.
On to the game: UTEP couldn't keep up. Working out of a 3-4 Eagle set they just didn't grasp what they were taking away and what they were receiving in return. With UTEP's offense sputtering, the Miners defense just couldn't handle a little bit of option. You can say "8-9 in the box" all day, just like you can say "crush the fullback every play" but if you come with one scheme, it's going to get exploited. Army was able to utilize a new part of their playbook vs the Eagle defense, but it was A. not at all a challenge and B. again allowed Army to show only what they want to show. There was no need for panic (on Army's part at least). When I look at game tape, I'm going to see Army comfortable against the 3-4 load, with few missed reads in some of the new progressions, but overall: a mess of frustration for the UTEP staff. Sure there are plays you can't run against the 34Eagle, but that's Army's book and it was clear that Army pretty much knew what they would be facing. The Miners brought numbers to the line and the Cadets were able to count, hit their blocks and at the end of the day didn't really show anything we haven't seen in the first two weeks. The 34 Eagle D requires an extra man if you're going to carry the ball inside (in Army's book it's a pulling guard). UTEP hadn't seen Army's remedy for that until Andy Davidson was past anyone who mattered and into the secondary. It is a pretty ideal situation to hit the teeth of your road schedule without showing anything of your playbook. Additionally, I feel that Carter got some needed work (and a passing grade) against a look that maybe he hasn't mastered until today.
So right now through 1/4 of the season Army is schematically way ahead of the game. The defense was outstanding and were the reason why Army's offense spent so much time on the ball. The Army defense was outstanding and the way they get off the field, they should produce some impressive numbers this year even in comparison to Army's NCAA #1 rushing offense. Just look at the ball control stat, 41:40 to 18:20 that is every bit as much the dominance of the defense as it was the will of the offense.
Here's your UTEP/Army story, stats and highlights.