The record (4-8) has been a disappointment for those who hoped for a turnaround season. Give Jeff Monken credit for his attention to detail, intensity and focus. Monken said in his inaugural press conference that “I'm anxious to get to work and get Army football back to national prominence where we belong.” The off-season conditioning program was night and day improvement over the previous regime. The season started with promise but the Black Knights have struggled on defense, special teams and been inconsistent on offense. They have failed to make the big play time and again. Monken's team exhibits many of the same flaws as Rich Ellerson's with the additional issue of committing both untimely and an excessive amount of penalties early in the year. I had issues with some of Monken's tactical decisions against Wake Forest, Yale and Kent State that probably cost at least one victory. They didn't inherit a team with a lot of talent but I believe Army should have at least one more victory if it wasn't for some game coaching decisions. He deserves credit late in the season for his pushing and prodding the team to produce wins against UCONN and Fordham. I like how Monken was aggressive on fourth down and was aggressive with trick plays and special team fakes.
Offensive coordinator Brent Davis did a nice job early in the season but his offense has struggled as he suffered injuries along the offensive line. I thought there was too much shuffling on the offensive line with up to nine linemen seeing playing time from scrimmage in the second half of the season. The problem with the Georgia Southern/Navy spread option attack that Davis employs is that it had the fullback/quarterback run the ball 75 percent of the time. It's left his best talent, the Army slotbacks of Baggett, Maples and Giovannelli, who used to carry the ball 42 percent of the time in the old scheme underutilized. i liked his use of heavy formations near the goal line in the victory over UCONN. Davis is a good coordinator who needs a more athletic quarterback and speed at slotback to maximize the effectiveness of his system. The truth is the Black Knights running game took a step back this year and wasn't as effective as it had been the previous three season.
Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman's bend but don't break defense spent more time breaking more than bending. Army allowed more points than last season, 32.9 per game, despite the fact they played four teams that were averaging less than twenty points per game. The Black Knights lack athleticism and speed on defense except for a few positions. The Black Knights defense allowed 5.3 rushing yards per carry, a 67.3 percent completion percentage and 31 passing touchdowns with the defense recording only ten sacks. The defense's only saving grace has been that it's forced 15 turnovers but other than that they have a hard time getting off the field. Bateman did have his unit well prepared to defense the other service academies.
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Army 2014 Football Review: Coaching
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