Brock to Fans: Thank you for your patience

Army coach Stan Brock said on Tuesday that if quarterback Chip Bowden is healthy enough to play against Texas A&M that "probably he would start." Brock also had a message for Army fans who are waiting patiently for a winning program. Carson Williams's post-game comments regarding his in-game suggestion that Bowden could run the offense more effectively were also addressed by Brock.

Sophomore quarterback Chip Bowden on Saturday gave Army fans something they have been missing for awhile – hope.  In his most significant playing time of the season, Bowden was able to orchestrate Army's new option offense with some rhythm.  Unfortunately, the nifty Plant City, Fla. native went down with an ankle injury in the second half and didn't return.  Bowden's rushing totals for the day, 65 yards on 21 carries, may not put fear into opposing defenses quite yet, but it is an enormous improvement over what the other two Army quarterbacks have been able to do running the ball. In three games, junior Carson Williams and senior Carlo Sandiego have combined to rush for 17 net yards on 25 carries.

When asked if he had seen enough in the Akron game for Bowden to warrant a start when healthy, Brock was fairly certain that he did.

"Yeah, probably he would start, but that is a big ‘if'…I saw him last night.  He's moving around.  He's walking ok but we will have to see how he looks on the practice field."

Brock did however also say that Bowden's playing time still "depends on what the defense gives us."  That would lead one to assume that if Texas A&M dares Army to throw the football from the outset that Williams could be called upon by the coaching staff.

Either way, don't be surprised if Williams provides his input to the coaching staff as was the case during the Akron game.

According to Brock, the junior offered a suggestion on who should be playing quarterback based on what he was seeing on the field.

"When he came up to the sideline and we were talking – everyone was talking on the headphones together – [Carson] said that I think what they are trying to do is force us into a quarterback running game and Chip may be able be to execute it," said Brock.

"We have always thought that Carson is a very mature team player," continued Brock.  "He works very hard at it.  We know that from when we decided to go to the option and with him being more of a pro-style quarterback.  [He made] the decision to stay at the United States Military Academy and try to fit into this system as opposed to taking the easy road and leaving."

One thing that would definitely improve Bowden's chances of taking over the starting quarterback job outright would be a more consistent performance in between games.

"When Chip was in there [against Akron] he made some good reads which he has struggled with in practice," said Brock.

"For a quarterback to be effective in this system, he doesn't have to be the guy who breaks the 60 or 50 yard gain.  If he will just give us the six or seven yards to keep the ball moving - I think he can be effective.  Obviously you would like to have somebody who could threaten with the run as well as with the arm and really that comes down to recruiting and developing players," said Brock.

As for the offense's overall performance against Akron, after watching the film, Brock found a few areas where the unit made strides.

"There are some positives that came out of the offense.  It's not points on the board. Obviously that is what we are looking for but there was some improvement.  Our offensive line played better as a group.  I was happy to see that.  They are starting to pick up some of the secondary blocking of the option," said Brock.

One obvious negative that has plagued the Army offense in its first three games has been turnovers.  When asked about the fine line between disciplining players for turnovers by taking away playing time versus encouraging them and keeping them in the game, Brock favored the later approach.

"If you look at the majority of our turnovers, they have been the quarterback and the fullback exchange. The quarterback-fullback exchange is something that we work on everyday.  I think it is something that through time you have to get better at.  If you can put yourself in the fullback's position where he has his arms wrapped around the ball and [he's] not sure if the quarterback should be giving [the ball to him]; and the quarterback is trying to read, and he's got to make the decision to either give [the ball] or pull it.  It is something that [takes] experience and some time to do it [effectively]."

"If you look at the triple option and turnovers – there are fumbles involved.  But we are losing too many of them," said Brock.

There is no doubt that if Army can manage to win the turnover battle against a future opponent, it will give them a much greater chance of earning their first victory of the year.  When asked what he would like to say to those Army fans who have been patient as the team goes through some tough times, Brock was grateful.

"Thank you very much for patiently waiting.  This is something that we are building.  I feel good about what we are doing.  I feel good about this is still the right move to make to go to this offense.  We have to take care of the ball and get in the red zone and give ourselves an opportunity to score some points.  To have 13 and 14 play drives that are very successful and that look very promising and to come away with no points it gives you just a little bit of a good feeling and then a sour taste in your mouth."

"The Army fans aren't the only people who are frustrated.  The people who are trying to build [the program] are frustrated as well," acknowledged Brock.

When asked whether or not going on the road for the first time this season could in some way help Army get a victory, the second-year head coach was pretty blunt with his reply.

"We'll take a win wherever we can get it.  We'll play in a parking lot for a win."


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