Football is back! That means it is time once again for us to go behind the storylines and discover the keys to Army’s success in each game this year. With a Friday night showdown against Temple just hours away we will find three areas to watch which will help determine the outcome of the game. If these keys fall in the favor of the Black Knights then Army will be looking good for victory. If the keys are not successful, however, then it is going to be a long night for Jeff Monken and company.
With all that being said here are the three keys for Army to take down the Owls and start the season with a victory:
1) Pound away with the option
By now everyone knows that one of the greatest benefits of running the option is that the defense being faced has little to no time to prepare for the onslaught of decoys, angles and fakes they are about to face. There are two exceptions to this rule though (opening day and a bowl game) and Temple has been able to work on stopping the option throughout fall camp, knowing that they will face Army on Friday night. This gives the Owls an advantage over most of the teams Army will face. The Black Knights, however, cannot let any initial Temple resistance drive them away from the game plan of pounding the ball inside and waiting for the edges to open up.
2) No turnovers from the quarterbacks
Ahmad Bradshaw will likely get the start on Friday night as his speed and athletic ability gives Army it's best chance to get the option up and running. Bradshaw has had a bizarre offseason, culminating in the August dance where it looked like he had left the program for a stretch of 24 hours. Bradshaw is a talented quarterback, but he is both injury and fumble prone. Expect backup Chris Carter to see plenty of reps as he throws a better ball and if Bradshaw is ineffective then Carter might even get the snaps for the rest of the game. Whoever is at quarterback though just cannot turn the ball over if the Black Knights are to have a chance at grabbing a victory.
3) Linebackers have to make plays
It is no secret that the strength of the Army defense this season is at the linebacker position. In middle linebackers, Jeremy Timpf and Andrew King the Black Knights have a couple of bonafide stars on the field and these two need to provide leadership and stability to a young and still learning defense. Timpf and King not only need to lead, but Army will also need a couple of big plays from their star linebackers to go along with the usual combination of dependable tackling and never ending motors.