There are 128 teams gearing up to take part in FBS play this fall. According to Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel there are exactly three teams in the entire country that will be worse than the Black Knights this year. Just for a reference at the end of the season, those three teams are UMass (128), North Texas (127), and Tulane (126).
Before getting into the specifics of the article it has to be said that this seems very low. Yes, the Black Knights finished last season with a 2-10 record, but the youth of the team and the number of close losses would seem to suggest that Army should be more competitive in 2016 by default. This feeling is only enhanced by the fact that Army returns nine defensive starters.
This is another article that picks out the offensive line and the defense as a whole as the Black Knights biggest strengths. The lack of sacks and number of tackles returning, especially at the linebacker position, are noted, as is the fact that the Black Knights are a top five team in the country in terms of penalties conceded per game.
The weaknesses given are also ones leveled at the program often over this offseason. Murschel points out that the Black Knights had the programs lowest rushing output per game since 2009 last season, while asking where any improvement in this area will come from. Army will also have to prove on their awful turnover margin from last year.
The outlook given is just as bleak with perhaps the most damning point being that, “Monken's arrival was supposed to usher in a new era for the Black Knights, but the team hasn't significantly improved yet.” It goes on to look at the Black Knights abysmal road record since 2010 and the poor performances against the other academies.
Army is going to get a lot of reviews like this over the offseason. Columnists and reporters will look at the Army skill positions and not see anything on paper that looks like an improvement from 2015. The offensive line will take care of itself and if either Chris Carter or Ahmad Bradshaw can stay healthy it is hard to imagine Army being as bad as projected here.
To read the article in full click here.