Army 1--0

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Army put up a very clean 42 points on Saturday, opening the season with a home win against Middle Tennessee State. Army took anything and everything they wanted in the game without much Blue Raider resistance.

 It didn't help Middle Tennessee State that they got stung by the injury bug early and often losing their starting center on the 4th play of the game- they replaced him with a freshman and two plays later the Army defense ran over the line, stole the football and pretty much put the game away. With Army playing so well against an outmatched and underprepared Middle Tennessee State team - it really did seem like it was over that early. By the start of the second quarter Army had earned 10 first downs, was 4/4 on 3rd down, and perfect 2/2 passing for 28 yards.

 It's too bad that MTSU absorbed so many injuries - they got dinged A LOT. After the game Blue Raiders head coach Tom Sockstill placed fault with Army's style of play,
"Whenever you play an Army (sic) or somebody that runs the triple option it always helps you not to play the next week because we got so many guys hurt. You saw we had so many guys coming off with knees and ankles and shoulders."
The whole Stockstill postgame interview plays like a deposition. 

Firstly, if you don't want your defense to get hurt teach them how to make a stop before a 13 minute or 19 play drive, whichever comes first. Secondly, ask the players how they got hurt on Saturday... ZERO injuries had anything to do with low blocks as Coach Stockstill pretends. Army's blocks are legal and defensive players should be coached to use their hands on low blocks. 

 At 42-0 You almost want to accept the coach's excuses out of pity. He's going to try to blame the triple option for injuring his guys and when I look back at Army's offense on tape it's 5 yards galore against a team that looked physically outmatched. No real technique, no real adjustment aside from substitution, now that I think about it MTSU came in with a very spring football look. 

I get it, Army is a tough season opener to take on 3 weeks' notice. The fact remains, teams don't get injured because of cut blocks per se, teams get injured out of unpreparedness, and that is something I would like the coach to answer to before he attacks Army's time-tested football techniques. Just go back and watch the tape and try to find a cut block injury from this game. It never happened, Coach.

I'm being hard on head coach Stockstill, but I actually think he did a great job coaching while blindfolded. Sometimes all you can do is learn from the examples of other people; let's all remember the importance of being honest with ourselves. 

 Middle Tennessee was bruised pretty badly with this one. Even MTSU fans that didn't expect the win didn't expect to lay that egg. MTSU came in unprepared and they paid the price on the scoreboard. Time after time MTSU was touched by misfortune. From the first 3 and out to the turnovers, to their diminishing will to play defense, to the drive extending roughing the kicker penalty after which Sandon McCoy ran his third touchdown in. Even that extra point bounced in off the upright. And seriously, what the hell was that series at the end of the half? 

 If Army is going to play in midseason form, then I'm going to feel justified in talking about midseason topics. Army's goals for this season should include a Lambert trophy. If all of this season's goals seem attainable (with this being a casual mention of BYU's 55-3 pasting of Navy) then a Lambert trophy should be equally within reach. Regarding protecting home field, Army demonstrated a unique home field advantage with the socially distanced corps of cadets moving out of the east stands and not only reclaiming traditional cadet seating, but expanding to take over the west stands and parts of  Eastern and Central New York down to the southern tier. 

Army is 71-25 in home openers at Michie Stadium. 

Here are the MTSU/Army story, stats, highlights and replay




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