2 Reasons Army Football will be Better

It has been 15 years since Army has won the coveted Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. After a ray of light in a 7-6 2010 season (their first winning season since 1996,) the team lost its luster in 2011 to the tune of a 3-9 record. Still, there is cause for hope—or at least cautious optimism—in 2012.

1. Home field advantage

In 2012, Army faces a favorable schedule in terms of location. They place seven home games, four away games, and one game at a "neutral" location (vs. Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.) This is a marked difference from 2011, a season in which the team played five home games, and seven away (assuming you count playing at FedEx field in Maryland a home game for Navy.)

The difference between five away games and seven away games is significant, and this home-heavy schedule gives the 2012 team an instant advantage over their 2011 counterparts.

2. Upgrades to the defensive line

The defensive line emerged from 2011 bruised and battered, with liability written all over its face. The line will look different in 2012, as injured players return and plebes add depth. The interior of the line was especially concerning in 2011, and this year Junior Robert Kough returns after missing the 2011 season due to injury. Sophomore Rich Glover also projects to have a strong season, along with fellow sophomore Joe Drummond, who earned playing time in his plebe season before being sidelined by injury.

The line also adds potential in sophomore Derek Sanchez, who is new to the Varsity team, but has played well with the ones this preseason. Meanwhile, junior Holt Zalneraitis will be able to move over to his natural position at defensive end after spending 2011 on the interior due to injuries. Add to the equation some depth added by the products of a talented 2011 USMAPS D-line, and Army's defensive line has a very different outlook this year.

Army's defensive line is still undersized, and a favorable schedule won't save them if they fumble 22 times. However, there is reason to believe that 2012 Army football will take a definitive step forward.

ArmySports.com Top Stories