Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Army Black Knights season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Army Black Knights
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Army Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
This whole winning thing is fun.
So where did it all go right? What happened to turn the program that couldn’t figure it out, couldn’t copycat Navy’s formula, and couldn’t come up with any success, going from 1997 to 2016 with just one winning campaign.
Head coach Jeff Monken ran the exact type of option offense needed for Army when he won 38 games at Georgia Southern – getting to the FCS playoffs for three straight seasons – and then it took two years to get the Black Knights going.
So what happened? Army had to fully commit to the offense – and completely ignore the idea of the forward pass.
Under Rich Ellerson, the program had a hybrid attack that was supposed to work around the ground game, but wanted to work into the new wave of spread attacks that only needed the right quarterback and a disciplined blocking scheme.
But Monken did what Army – and Navy, and to a certain extent, Air Force – had to do. All run, all time of possession, all protection for a smallish defense without the talent to hold up for long stretches.
Army went all in last year – even more than before – with just 65 passes with four games without a completion, five more with just one completion, and the 21-0 win over Air Force without even attempting a forward pass.
And why should it have to? When you can run the ball 785 times – only Air Force ran it more times per game, and only Navy ran it more overall – with 87 carries to beat San Diego State in the bowl game, why mess with anything else?
QB Ahmad Bradshaw is done, but all of the top running backs return, along with several good quarterbacks to work into the mix. The receivers will block – as always – but the O line needs to do even more with four starters gone.
The improvement of the defense was helped out in a big way by the improvement on the other side – again, time of possession matters. With 16 of the top 20 tacklers back, there’s experience, depth, and reason to hope for even more production.
It’s all going right, and winning really is fun. How can you tell?
Army 14, Navy 13.
It’s all working.