Passing Craze

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why is everyone so in love with throwing the football?

I see it all the time - Army football message boards, future Army opponents looking down the schedule, and now Army's prose contributor John Feinstein

Army's not going to rush for 539 yards every week, so it will need some semblance of a passing game. It's worth remembering that in the Navy win, Poe's 29-yard catch launched the game-winning touchdown drive.
In four years this coaching regime has shown us that they place a lot of value showing a limited playbook in the early stages of the season.
If we're going to talk about Jeff Monken's "process" let's at least look at what that process has looked like historically.

Last year's passing numbers through the first quarter of the season:

1/4, 11 YDS thrashing Temple
4/6 66 yds Rice win
7/8 174  yds in the UTEP win

so in 2016 through the first 3 games of the season, and Army threw just 18 passes in three games.

The year before Army threw 27 passes through three games with 13 of those passes coming by way of the necessity of down/distance - or playing from behind - specifically playing from behind late in the game.  Subtracting those 4th quarter comeback attempt throws - 2015 Army threw 14 passes through the first three games.

Fordham loss  7/16 with 8 passes coming in the last two drives attempting the comeback.
Uconn Loss 3/8 85 yards with 5 passes coming during the late comeback attempt.
Wake Forest 2/3 54 yards.

Army 2014  threw the ball 17 times through the first three games
Buffalo 7/7 125 yards  (Win)
Stanford 3/5   9 yards  (Loss)
Wake Forest 3/5  18 yards (Loss)

This year the Cadets stomped Fordham and had an ideal situation to work on their process. No surprises there, running the football IS the process. The team was able to finish off Fordham early so why show any more schemes than necessary? Why would they do anything other than rip off 10 yard run after 10 yard run? Army put it to the Rams anyway, there is no need to risk stopping the clock, or risk an injury to any more starters. It seems like I am the only person who appreciates that Army can keep their playbook closed until they need it, and that goes not just for pass plays. Go back and watch the Navy game or the UTEP bowl game from last year - you will see a lot more of Brent Davis' system of misdirection in those games than you will looking for what he likes to do in last week's Fordham tape. 0-2 passing through week one? Awesome. I hope they are 1-1 passing next week.

The bottom line is that this team's process involves winning games by running the football and ultimately adding layers of complexity by introducing new facets of the offense on their own terms. If that means throwing the ball as needed with 2:45 seconds on the clock, then passing is part of that process too. We've seen how this team uses the forward pass and I'm not too eager to add that element into the game based on what it would mean in terms of a game's score and situation.




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