Air Force Game Notes

Friday, November 4, 2016

Army goes to Colorado Springs on Saturday to meet Air Force on the gridiron.

Air Force is having a nice year, but has lost 3 out of their last 5 games.

As we know, Troy Calhoun has a fairly innovative attack where he mixes flexbone principles in with a variety of offensive formations: Pistol, Single Wing, true Flex Bone and a number of pet formations that I don't have a name for.

A couple of observations. With air Force being so multiple in terms of their formations and their offense - it is tough to prepare for. The Falcons can look a little unpolished as a team only has so much time to learn and practice so many plays. So even this late in the season you may see things like missed reads in the run game, QB pitching off the wrong defender and some ball handling issues. That comes with the territory of involving so many moving parts in the offense, but that's something that could change in the blink of an eye as fans have been calling for Arion Worthman to come in and start no matter the status of Starter Nate Romine.

Air Force ends up being pretty balanced. Their QB Nate Romine has played for the better part of 4 years now and he's had injury woes hold him back in his career. I hope you'll have the chance to notice he's got a few flaws in his execution of the offense. He likes to cut back upfield with the keep read. He does sort of force the pitch on running plays - often holding the ball too long on outside plays  -  drawing edge defender #2 and then pitching off that late defender. Those coupled with the multiple formations and responsibilities lead me to believe that Army can win the turnover battle if they just play soundly on offense. If the other QB plays it may well be a different story. You might see some up tempo offense from the backup Worthman.

Army should do what they do best and run the football all the day long. There won't be too many players lined up in the Buzz Lightyear suits that can hang with Army's style of play for all four quarters at Michie. I expect the both teams to turn the ball over at least once, but the team that wins on that ledger will have the inside track on this game. No matter who the QB is for Air Force I'm going to call on Army to take this one by something like a 16 or 19 point margin. There is just too much Defense for the Falcons to hang around for the whole game.

This should be the true breakthrough game for the Cadets, should be a nice day to watch/play football.

Game notes are here (.pdf).

Can not wait.

Army 5-3

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Army persevered on the road at Wake Forest and now have their 5th win to show for it.

It seemed all too familiar for Army to be down to an opponent at the half with no offensive spark and no reason to expect a turnaround. It was so familiar, in fact, that just last week against North Texas I was hoping for some halftime adjustment, a roster change or some other means to mix up the downhill slide of a winnable game.

Jeff Monken stuck with his game plan Saturday and by the time Wake Forest picked off Ahmad Bradshaw in the end zone Coach Monken was committed to his starting QB as well.

It just goes to show that  there is a fine line between a 400 yard rushing game and a 240yard rushing game. At the end of the day - Army ended up being too good for Wake Forest. Army was too good at moving the football and they were too good on defense.

It's just a little bit of the system playing out and producing - and when I say system I mean not just the offensive plays as called, but the personnel making the plays work. If Jeff Monken panics and pulls Bradshaw in the 3rd quarter I don't think Army gets out of Raleigh with the win. Instead they stayed the course and the entire system of players, coaches and plays turned around and won the game.

That's just the kind of thing I meant earlier in the year when I mentioned that Army football has finally blossomed under this coaching staff and we can expect start seasons 3-1 just as we can expect to start competing against these kind of teams that have shut Army down in the recent past.

Two things to highlight:

First, the system is good. DAMN good. To watch Army's offense operate and win games like this and keep on schedule as far as A) expanding/showing their playbook throughout the course of the year and B) developing the young players that will play large roles in the upcoming season(s) - it's just  perfectly on schedule and there are only positive things to discuss. The playbook will take care of itself - you show what you know and the Army offense has faced some tough tests this year with some very positive results. Compare last year's rushing stats to this year's. By the end of the Air Force game Army will have outrushed last year's team. Currently the numbers have current rushing yards at 2,737 as compared to last year's total 2,931 rushing yards. That is 8 games vs all 12 games - night and day difference. The defense has the same story to tell they have trimmed a full 100 yards per game off their total defensive ypg (375 ypg down to 266 ypg) that's as stunning a turnaround as you can imagine for a defense. Couple that with the better handling of the football in general and you see how the team has turned the program around just by returning some players, sticking to the system and trusting the coaches. It's not the on-field changes that have been made that have made the difference, it's all Jeff Monken's system, and that system has and is currently proving to be a winner.

Second thing: These players run plays the way they were coached and the coaches teach the plays and system masterfully. I think I've seen an Army QB try to pitch of the wrong read one time all year. The linemen have turned out to block their assignments pretty much perfectly for long stretches of the season. Watch the QB follow they have been running every game - every single time a lineman literally cuts the defense in half. It is no surprise that Army is the #2 rushing team in the nation with this system just absolutely clicking on offense.

Compare that to how Ohio State runs the option. There is either a lack of commitment by the players to the plays that are called, or the coaches for whatever reason are telling key players to avoid contact. Either way that's all on Urban Meyer - your QB doesn't want to take the hit on the outside veer? Sit him down and play the kid that runs the play the way it's been taught. Alternately it's the coaches who need to coach the technique of running into the alley with the intent on taking a hit from the pitch read. It's not a difficult concept, but for whatever reason Ohio State isn't willing to take the hit. Not saying they are a bad team, but imagine what they could do if they actually ran the veer the way it's meant to be run. I hope it isn't until next season that the Buckeyes get around to examining that aspect of their offense.

Ok, here are the Army/Wake Forest story, stats and highlights.



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