Head-to-head: Army vs. Hawaii

Next up for Army is Hawaii. ArmySports.com compares different critical team areas of Army and Hawaii and indicates which team has the edge.

Army rushing offense
Hawaii rushing defense
Army amassed 309 yards rushing averaging 5.6 yards a carry against Eastern Michigan. All five players who carried the ball had 57 or more yards rushing. Trent Steelman did a nice job reading his pitch keys. Army needs to maintain the proper pitch relationship between Steelman and the slot backs. Three pitches hit the ground against EMU. Hawaii allowed 246 rushing in its opener against USC. The Warriors allowed seven yards a carry. Last year when Hawaii beat Navy they mixed their defensive front to confuse the Mids spread option. As pointed out in the Birddog blog on Navy football the Warriors employed an illegal tactic of grabbing the play side tackle to kept him from getting to second level to block the linebackers. Hawaii allowed three teams to rush for over 300 yards last year.  
Army passing offense
Hawaii passing defense
Wide receiver George Jordan impressed in his first career start. He caught three passes and seemed to be open all night long. Jordan's 16-yard reception started the game winning drive. Davyd Brooks had an impressive off season but was a surprising non-factor in opener. Quarterback Trent Steelman misfired three passes to wide open receivers against EMU and can't afford to do that against Hawaii. Hawaii allowed 5 touchdown passes against USC. The secondary has good speed but missed a lot of tackles as it allowed 278 yards passing against USC. Senior safety Mana Silva is a playmaker who intercepted 6 passes last year.  
Hawaii rushing offense
Army rushing defense
Hawaii's running back duo of Alex Green and Chizzy Dimude ran for 127 carries and one touchdown on just 15 carries against the Trojans. The 6-2, 230 pound Green was impressive in the opener. He has good size, speed, excellent run vision and is a physical back. The Army double eagle flex defense that finished 16th overall in the nation last year gave up 285 rushing against Eastern Michigan. It was startling to see the Black Knights dominated so thoroughly at the point of attack after being so stout against the run last year. Army is already down to its third string whip linebacker after Nate Combs suffered a knee injury on his first defensive series. Army must do a better job containing the quarterback in the pocket. Like EMU's Alex Gillette, the Warriors quarterback Bryant Moniz is mobile and can run.  
Hawaii passing offense
Army passing defense
Hawaii has been one of the premier passing teams in the nation since former coach June Jones installed the Run and Shoot offense. The Warriors proved their passing prowess against the Black Knights in 2003 when they set a school record 741 yards of total offense against the only winless team in Army's history. Despite starter Bryant Moniz being knocked out of the game the Warrior's three quarterbacks posted 459 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Trojans. Senior Kealoha Pilares had five catches that averaged over 35 yards and scored all three touchdowns against USC. Greg Salas caught eight balls against USC. Last year Salas recorded 106 catches and eight touchdowns. Royce Pollard had seven receptions in his first start against the Trojans. Army's defense, which finished third in the nation in pass defense, never faced a passing attack like Hawaii's last year. Hawaii's rebuilt offensive line blocked well against USC despite allowing three sacks. Josh McNary and the flex front need to generate pressure and break Moniz's passing rhythm. The flex defense with its multiple front is known for defending the run but was actually designed by Ellerson, when he was a defensive coordinator in the wide open Canadian Football League, to defend the pass. Army's most mobile linebacker Steve Erzinger, who left the game against EMU, has been cleared to play. Cornerback Antuan Aaron, who missed most of the opener, should be ready to play and expect him to see plenty of time in Army's nickel and dime packages which figure to spend most of the day on the field.  
Special Teams
Place kicker Alex Carlton hit 1 of 2 attempts. Hawaii's Scott Enos hit three field goals against USC but was inconsistent with his accuracy last year. Both teams struggled on special teams with short kickoffs and yielded return yardage in opener. USC had an 89 yard punt return against the Warrior's last week. Hawaii's speed is a concern in the return game. Hawaii has a good punter in Australian native Alex Dunnachie.  
Rich Ellerson designed the double eagle flex when he coached in the Canadian Football league. He understands how to defend spread passing attacks. Greg McMackin is just 13-15 since taking the helm at Hawaii in 2008. His defenses did a terrific job limiting Ricky Dobbs and Navy's spread offense in the Warrior's win last year.  
The talent matchups, especially after last week's defensive showing, seem to favor Hawaii. The good news is that Hawaii's team is not known as "Road" Warriors. Under McMackin the last two years they are only 4-8 on the road. 5,000 miles is a long way to travel and play a football game. Some very good Hawaii teams have played east of Michigan since 2005 and compiled only a 1-6 record. Hawaii hasn't been this far east since 1975.  

PREDICTION: Army, 31-28. I think the defense will redeem itself and the offense will move the chains against a Warrior defense that struggles against the run. Let's hear it for jet lag.

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