2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Army Offense
Keep on hitting the deep passes. No, Army isn’t going to throw more than 100 times this season if everything goes according to plan – it only threw it 98 times last year – but Kelvin Hopkins is a good enough passer to be used even more. Army quarterbacks weren’t able to connect on half of their throws since 2010, and Hopkins competed 55% of his passes.
Keep doing that.
Army led the nation in yards per completion averaging over 20 yards per pass, with the goal being to connect on a few deep balls per game to take advantage of everyone who loads up against the ground game. Hopkins can do that.
Biggest Key To The Army Defense
Don’t give up a slew of rushing yards. No one’s going to outgain the Knights on the ground unless something strange happens, but even a decent day from the opposing rushing attack is a problem.
The 2017 defense was able to survive and thrive even when other teams were hitting the big plays on the ground. But last year, all of the puzzle pieces worked just fine except for the losses to Duke and Oklahoma. Granted, that’s Duke and Oklahoma – two of the better teams on the schedule – and they happened to have the two of the three best running games of the season against the Army D.
The Blue Devils and Sooners only ran for 184 yards and 190, respectively, and they were two of the three teams to average more than five yards per carry. The other team was Colgate, which ran for 188 yards averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and it gave Army a few issues. No one else hit the five yard mark, and only Liberty averaged more than four.
Key Player To A Successful Season
LB Arik Smith, Soph.
All James Nachtigal did was make 200 tackles over the last two seasons as the heart-and-soul playmaker from his weakside linebacking position. Now he’s gone, and it’s up to the 6-0, 230-pound Smith to step in and take over and become a top tackler. Army is great at preparing young players to step in right away and produce, and now it’s up to Smith to be a 100-tackle star of the D.
Key Game To The Army Season
Tulane, Oct. 5
This will be the game when we know whether or not this Army team has the potential to be the killer it was last season. If all goes according to plan, the Knights should beat Rice, UTSA and Morgan State to start the season, and they’ll likely lose to Michigan.
After getting a week off, dealing with a good, sound Tulane team is a must win against a team good enough to hold up against the Knight O – the Green Wave coaching staff knows option offenses. With three of the next four games on the road, taking care of home is a must.
– Army Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Army Fun Stats
– Sacks: Army 26 for 174 yards – Opponents 3 for 23 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Army 31-of-36 (86%) – Opponents 15-of-30 (50%)
– Time of Possession: Army 38:33 – Opponents 21:27