2011 Army Football Outlook

It is with great anticipation and cautious enthusiasm that we approach the Army 2011 Football Season. Army had a good year, pulled out a victory in the Armed Forces Bowl and most importantly, began to learn to win football games.

 

At first glance, this season looks as though the offense will be markedly improved and the defense will be strikingly small up front.

 

For the Ellerson offense to reach its full potential, the offense must have a capable, bruising fullback, a couple of fast slotbacks, a couple receivers that can separate from the defense and a quarterback that can put it all together.

 

The offense lost 4 starting members of the offensive line, but they will be replaced by younger players, who played last year, are bigger and arguably more capable.   Jr. Frank Allen (275 lbs.), Sr. Joe Bailey (270 lbs.), Jr. Derek Bisgard (252 lbs.), Sr. Brad Kelly (250 lbs.), and Jr. Will Wilson (274 lbs.) worked through spring practice and should be ready.

 

Jared Hassin returns for his junior year and second season with Army.  He rushed for more than 1,000 yards last year and it was his ability that opened up the outside running lanes for the rest of the team.  Brian Cobbs, Malcom Brown and Jonathan Crucitti are all capable slotbacks, but they lack the speed to take the corner consistently.  This means that Army will have to rely a little more on their passing game.  Austin Barr and David Brooks are capable receivers, but they lack the ability to separate from their defenders.  This team will have to rely on scheme, deception and execution to make this system work.  Luckily Trent Steelman will be up for the task.  It will rest on his shoulders to put these pieces together and lead Army to 30+ points a game.  Army will not be nearly as effective in the games where Steelman does not play – or plays nicked.  It would do Army very well to rest Steelman in any game that has reached its conclusion before the end of regulation.

 

The defense lost a great deal of talent, starting with DE Josh McNary, NT Mike Gann, and MLB Steven Anderson. In particular, the returning defensive players lack size – none of their returning defenders weighs more than 265 lbs. Payam Sadat and Chris Smeland are confident that speed and scheme can make up for the lack of size, but in FBS football, this is not really the case.  Most teams that can run the ball between the tackles will.  Army should do very well against pass-oriented teams, but if they are outweighed by 60 lbs. on the line, there is not much that any scheme will do against power running teams like Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Temple.

 

The following is the way we see the Army season unfolding with the information that we have at this time.  Of course, each week, we will have an in-depth analysis of each game and our weekly predictions.

 

Opponent

Comment

Prediction

@ Northern Illinois

Huskies lost 14 starters and their head coach, Army may be in a position to win, except that Army has its own personnel issues

Ridge – W

Lommer – L

SDSU

Fresh off a Poinsettia bowl thrashing of Navy, Rocky Long returns a fast offense and an option aware defense. Can the D hold them under 50?

Ridge – L

Lommer - L

Northwestern

A new coaching staff brings a spread option filled with new players to Michie. Another nightmare for the D.

Ridge – W

Lommer - L

@ Ball State

A predictable offense and good defense. By this game Army should have it rolling on offense.

Ridge – W

Lommer - W

Tulane

Always a very fun game. Army will score a lot of points.

Ridge – W

Lommer - W

@ Miami, OH

A very good Miami team will be beat up, but looking for a win heading into MAC play. Can they get payback for the thumping Army put on them last year?

Ridge – L

Lommer - W

@ Vanderbilt

A mediocre SEC team will throw all weight at Army and probably prevail. It would be a mild surprise if Vandy bothered to throw the ball at all.

Ridge – L

Lommer - L

Fordham

This is a pretty embarrassing game, but Army will get a much needed rest.  They better not blow this one.

Ridge – W

Lommer - W

 

@ Air Force

Expect a well-played game and the customary Army meltdown on the big stage

Ridge – L

Lommer - L

Rutgers (Yankee Stadium)

The battle of NYC - this game could get ugly. Won't believe Army can come up big in a showcase game until they actually do it.

Ridge – L

Lommer - L

@ Temple

It will take a perfect game by Army to win. Temple will start to slide downward, but this is a horrible matchup for Army physically.

Ridge – L

Lommer - L

Navy

Expect Navy to begin to fall off as PJs players have graduated. They are still quite a ways ahead of Army. Will the gap close that much?

Ridge – W

Lommer - L

 

 

Army needs to win six of the first 11 to make the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.   At first sight, it will take a big effort from Army to get there.  Their offense will have to execute and they will need to find some speed to outscore their opponents.  With no defensive lineman over 265 pounds, we just don't think that this team will be able to slow down the big teams. 

 

However, for the first time in many years, Army begins the season as a winner.  This coaching staff is good and they are getting better – they may just surprise us.

 


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