Ideas for new Army Football study group

Army superintendent Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck recently announced the forming of a study group that will conduct a comprehensive review of the Army football program and its relationship to the total West Point experience. Translation: The Academy is sick of losing.

This is not the first time a panel has been selected to review the Army football program. Former superintendent retired Lt. Gen. William Lennox, put one together one five years ago. That panel included former Nebraska head coach and U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells.

The group came up with the ingenious idea of leaving Conference-USA. It was a no-brainer, considering Army never competed in the league, going 9-41 in seven seasons (1998-2004). Hagenbeck has put together a star-studded group of talent on the panel. The list includes retired General Tom Schwartz, retired General David Bramlett, retired Rear Adm. Tom Lynch (USN, Retired), former Army football star Pete Dawkins, his teammate on Army's 1958 undefeated team, Harry Walters, David Harkins, former Army quarterbacks Rob Healy and C."Rollie" Stichweh and Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and former Army football Bob Sutton and Jim Young.

An impressive group, indeed. But let's hope they come up with better ideas than leaving Conference-USA.

Since we are talking ideas, here are some from my own panel.

1. Start a search for a new head coach: No disrespect to Stan Brock, but after Bobby Ross left Army stranded by quiting in January, Army had no choice but to hire Brock.

Brock is a good man, but he has no head coaching experience on the college level. He's never even been a coordinator. Hey, give him a shot in 2007, but start putting together a short list on the side.

If the rumors are true that Brock has signed a four-year contract, it may be difficult to get him off the hook.

2. If Army administrators continue to give away home games (see Texas A&M last season): fire them on the spot. This Army team can't afford to give up home games. We know the athletic department is cash-strapped, but wins are more important than $$$$$.

3. Run the option or some kind of wishbone offense. There's one problem, Brock is committed to a pro style offense similar to the one Bobby Ross run. You know the one that looked so predictable with his son, Kevin, serving as offensive coordinator. Start that coaching search, fellas.

4. Lose the ESPN contract. Sure, Army made some money off the deal, but fans don't find out when games are until a week before kickoff. That's a big reason why there's usually a lot of people disguised as empty seats at Michie Stadium. It wouldn't be easy giving up ESPN, but Army usually only plays on ESPNU. It's at least worth thinking about. The team could use more support and this could get more fans in the seats.

5. Better scheduling. Army is on the right track here. After two more hellish schedules in 2007-08, we will see the likes of Temple and Yale on the docket. It wouldn't be a shame to schedule two I-AA schools per year. Throw in a Notre Dame and, maybe, a top 25 school per year. After that, keep it soft so the program can re-establish itself. Let's keep in mind the 2007-8 schedule was created a long time before Anderson got here.

6. Get some coaches on staff with real West Point experience, whether it's a former player or coach. Maybe a guy like John Simar (player/coach) or Ed Warinner (coach). Or even better, former stud Army linebacker and USMA Prep coach Ben Kotwica.

Oh yeah, we forget, Brock already dropped the ball on Kotwica and didn't hire him. But Kotwica was good enough for Eric Mangini and the Jets. He would have been a good one. What a damn shame.


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