Army-Rhode Island Game Review

Anyone walking around Highland Falls yesterday would have found it hard to believe it was game day. None of the usual hustle and bustle in town, no lines getting into the gates, not as many tailgaters in the parking lots, and no excitement around the ballpark.

Inside Michie Stadium there were no lines at the concession stands, a minitron that didn't work all day, and a malfunctioning scoreboard that appropriately enough didn't show the score on Army's side. Yep, many folks didn't think it was worth the effort to show up.

These folks were proven correct, missing a tedious 14-7 Army win in overtime Saturday over Rhode Island.

The Rams came in to the game with a simple plan. They were going to run their usual option offense and dare their opponent to stop them, the type of plan that used to gladden the hearts of Army fans. Even though their lack of speed was noticeable the offense was still effective. FB Joe Casey gained 108 yards for a solid 4.0 average. QB Derek Cassidy was a very efficient 11-13 for 145 yards.

The Black Knights did a decent job keeping the Rams off the scoreboard most of the game. The defense sacked Cassidy 5 times, almost half of the number of sacks Army had for the entire season last year (11). They allowed no big plays and were ferocious in overtime with the Rams having a first down at the 4 yard line and shutting them down from there.

The negative remains the absolute lack of speed in the Army secondary. The DB's didn't get their hands on a throw all day, which allowed for Cassidy's high percentage of completions. This does not bode well for the next 2 weeks in playing Wake Forest and Boston College.

Army's biggest problem is once again their inept offense. To allow a I-AA team to shut you out in the first half and allow only one score during regulation is almost hard to believe. The Knights continue to use a one-back running attack, which clearly does not work. Mike Viti's lack of use is head scratching to say the least. The ultra conservative passing game allowed a slow defense to effectively shut down Army's wide receivers, forcing them to go back to the dink and dunk to gain any yards whatsoever. Only in overtime did a pass get thrown downfield. Our offensive line's poor pass blocking contributes mightily to our passing problems; leaving one to wonder why we've thrown over 70 passes in 2 games. These schemes just do not work.

Yet you would think that things were just peachy after Coach Stan Brock's post game news conference. He congratulated OC Tim Walsh on his effective play calling (????) and didn't seem at all concerned that his offense performed so poorly all day. He once again made a timid decision by punting inside the RI 40. It makes it harder to instill a winning spirit if you show your team you're not willing to take a chance.

If the coach wanted to change his team's struggles on offense, he could start by looking at the film of Saturday's game and see what Rhode Island accomplished against his defense. Rhode Island was able to hang around by playing a scheme that matched their player's abilities. Army needs to do the same to break this 11 year cycle of dismal, losing football.


ArmySports.com Top Stories