Three Keys: Western Kentucky

Connecticut’s weakness in the passing game was something Army exploited last Saturday. Chris Carnegie skillfully produced his magical pick-six on a day when the Black Knights took the ball away from UConn and responded to every challenge. Western Kentucky knows how to throw the ball, though, and that's going to form the heart of the task for the Black Knights against the Hilltoppers.


THREE KEYS TO BEATING WESTERN KENTUCKY

1 – Visualization – Army can now do so with much more credibility.
It’s a basic point of sports psychology: The mind needs to be able to visualize achievement, completing positive actions and pushing past its limits. The body can then strive to actualize that visualization, putting internal concepts into outward, embodied reality. When the human person actualizes something – when athletes turn theory and hope into the reality of achievement and triumph – progress can emerge. The essential observation to be made here is that once the body succeeds in doing what the mind visualizes, a process of repetition can occur. The body and mind will believe each other more, instead of wondering if it’s all a cruel joke.

Army actualized against Connecticut. The Black Knights can now believe their aspirations a lot more. They can trust their head coach a lot more. They can take the field with confidence in everything they’re doing. Sustaining this good feeling is its own reward. How is that done, though? It’s done by continuing to practice and perform the way the team did against UConn. Can Army now begin a genuine process of repeating positive actions, of duplicating good responses and affirming good habits? This is a great opportunity for Army to cross an important psychological threshold.

2 – Scoreboard strength. This is not a new key, and it’s not any sort of original football concept – it’s merely an echo of what Army successfully did against Connecticut: Be great when you most need to be great. Army’s best football came at the start of Saturday’s game, and then in every subsequent situation when UConn threatened to tie. Army raised its game precisely when UConn made a move and applied scoreboard pressure toward the Black Knights. Being strong in tight scoreboard situations is one of the hallmarks of a good team. Can Army show that it is truly ripening into a good team?

3 – Read and respond on pass defense. Army’s defense will receive a far more daunting challenge in the passing game from Western Kentucky. During his playing days at Louisville, Hilltopper head coach Jeff Brohm learned the passing game under his predecessor at WKU, Bobby Petrino. The Hilltoppers are going to study how to expose Army’s back seven. The Black Knights must be razor-sharp in applying film-study lessons. They must know what to expect from personnel groupings and how the Hilltoppers might tweak their looks. Strong recognition of WKU’s intentions in the passing game could give Army a crucial edge.

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