Brock Defends Army's Offensive Approach

GoMids.com spoke with Army head football coach Stan Brock at the annual Army/Navy luncheon held last week in Baltimore. And instead of asking the routine questions about the pageantry of the game, we cut to the chase and probed the first-year coach regarding the off-season retreat, recruiting, and what he saw from the offense in the three years as the line coach for the unit.

Sure, it would be really nice to know if Coach Brock thought it would be ‘cool' to coach in the Army/Navy game, or even how this game compares to the Super Bowl, but let's be honest, that's not what fans want to know. So GoMids.com's David Ausiello decided to be an Army fan for a few moments at the luncheon to get some answers to some common questions fans have been asking in recent weeks. Here are excerpts from his conversation with Stan Brock.

GM: If you look at the Navy program are there two or three things that you look at and say, ‘You know what, Army would be helped if we do some of those things?'

BROCK: "I think scheduling is something that I would like to have - maybe follow [Navy's] model a little bit. And I think that is something that in the old days that the coaches did. Maybe have one or two challenging games and then maybe three or four you match up with, and maybe a couple that we outmatch somebody. So you know, I'd like to get into that program a little bit."

GM: How about the venue? Navy has put millions of dollars into their stadium. They have a venue that sells out most of the time. And if you look at Army's stadium…is that something you look at…

BROCK: I don't think anyone compares with the facilities we have [at Army]. Our facilities are spectacular. We now have the ability to develop kids through their whole year. I don't think that's an issue.

GM: Any other things that Navy does well?

BROCK: The recruiting – I think they do a good job, and I think the other part is that they are keeping coaches there.

GM: One of the biggest buzz words on our web sites is the word ‘retreat' – regarding the one that's going to happen in the off-season. Can you talk about coming into the season and taking the reigns after three years as offensive line coach...what you saw and the decision to go with the pro-style offense this year. Was that a temporary plan because of the timing?

BROCK: You have to be aware that when you recruit for an offense or a scheme that who we have we recruited now for four years…for a pro-style offense with a pocket quarterback…tight ends and fullbacks. And I felt like we were getting better. We were trying to get bigger offensive linemen who could handle it. And so when I became the head coach, at the end of January, I felt like the guys we had were going to be capable of running that offense because that is what we had recruited. But I did know that there are some variations to it that I'd like to incorporate…that I'd like to make changes to and then I wasn't sure because of our depth or our lack of depth how much we could handle. And injury would set us back. We knew on the offensive line if we lost one that we were going to be hurting, and we ended up losing four during the year. 

Then the hiring of an offensive coordinator and that was a big part – I wanted Tim Walsh to be on my staff because of the kids that he worked with and the teams that he competed against. I thought that would be a great match. But he didn't know…he doesn't know West Point and our offense and our personnel so it was easier for us to teach it to one then to have Coach Walsh come in with an offense and schemes that he doesn't know what personnel we have and have everyone learn it.

GM: Critics would say that you had three years as the offensive line coach – you saw the pro-style offense fail…it struggled…why not in the off-season say, ‘we need to do something drastic…we need to do something now…we can't wait a year.'  ‘We need to get a different offense going with the kids we have because it's been done in other places.' You look at Navy, Coach Johnson came in and said, ‘screw it' I'm running my offense and I'll find anybody that could run it. And now Coach Calhoun came into Air Force and said, ‘we're changing it, I don't care what kids are here…we are going to put this and that in place.' What do you say to people who say, ‘Why not do something drastic, you had three years to see that it wasn't working?'

BROCK: "I don't know if it wasn't (working). We weren't as successful as we wanted to be but you could see it building and you could see the progress that was going. I guess I would just have to tell them that they're just going to have to trust me that I'm in this to win and I want to win for the academy. And I want to win for West Point and I'm not using this as a stepping stone for going somewhere or I'm not using some experimental deal…

GM: The Army/Navy game is enormous for recruiting purposes…what do you say to a recruit…who says I'm not too sure what Army's commitment is to their offense…what will they be running and how would I play in that. Do you feel as though that is something that could be a problem?

BROCK: "No, I really don't. I think that you are going out and we're looking for the best athletes that we can find. You know the best athletes that we can recruit from an academy - it's no different than Navy. The numbers of kids we can recruit are limited and so we're going to go after the athletes that we know are there and now we have a better idea whose on our team and whose coming in."

GM: Is it fair to say your recruiting philosophy will shift because of the needs of a different offense?

"I don't think that there is any question that my recruiting philosophies are going to change. Yes."


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