Five keys for Rich Ellerson

Let's hear if for new Army football coach Rich Ellerson. He looks like the man who can lead the Black Knights back to a bowl game. Now, it's time for Ellerson to lead the charge. Army athletic Kevin Anderson says he wants a winner now. That might be asking too much, especially from a program which hasn't produced a winner in over a decade.

But it's clear that that Army got a coach in Ellerson, good on both sides of the ball, who likely will bring the Black Knights to a .500 season or better sooner than later.

Go get em' coach Ellerson, we're behind you 100 percent! lists five keys for Ellerson's first season:

1. His personnel: Ellerson comes in with the reputation of a triple option expert and he can also get it done one defense.

Now, it's time to see if he can get it done at Army with new personnel. Although Ellerson loses linebackers Frank Scappaticci and John Plumstead, he could still be OK, with defensive linemen Ted Bentler, Josh McNary and Victor Ugenyi looking like perfect fits for his 'Desert Storm' defense'.

On offense, it could be a little more difficult. Quarterback Chip Bowden should fit in. But Ellerson will need to find slot backs, a fullback to replace Collin Mooney and a wide receiver. Even though the triple option is a running scheme, Ellerson liked to have at least one good WR to throw to at Cal Poly.

2. The coaching staff: Expect Ellerson to surround himself with a good mix of coaches from Cal Poly, Army and other outposts. But one prospective pick might be worth questioning. The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. has reported that Ellerson will keep John Mumford on staff.

It's unclear if Mumford, who has been around for the Todd Berry, Bobby Ross and Stan Brock regimes, will be defensive coordinator. But it seems like Army needs a new mind leading the defense. Mumford's unit has had some real solid showings this season, but tired up at the end of the year, giving up mondo points to Rice, Navy and Rutgers.

3. Raise the morale of of the players: Hopefully, that was done with Ellerson's hiring. Let's hope morale increases even more as the players learn what Ellerson is all about.

But the biggest key for the team's outlook is wins, this season. Again, Kevin Anderson's win-now declaration might be too much. But it might not be too much for Ellerson.

Five wins is a real good job by Ellerson. Six and he is a hero. Either way, for the first time in a long time, the players will hold their head up high.

4. The Desert Swarm defense: Ellerson developed the scheme as defensive coordinator at Arizona from 1997-2000. It helped bring the Wildcats to success and should make Army an exciting and effective defense to watch. It needs to work.

Ellerson earned the national spotlight as the architect of the scheme. It's a pressure, gap-control defense, which often produces lots of sacks. Ellerson helped Bob Sutton install the 'Desert Swarm' at Army in 1996. The Black Knights went 10-2 that year with a nasty defense.

5. Position changes: Ellerson already expects to move some players from one spot on the field to another.

If done right, this could be key for the Black Knights. Maybe Ellerson plucks a reserve at one position and moves him to another, where he starts, and is effective. Maybe Ellerson moves a player from one side of the ball to another and he does well. One or two moves like that could be a small piece of the puzzle, but key.

Other things to think about: Senior quarterback Carson Williams likely won't have a role in Ellerson's new offense. That said, Bowden needs to improve his passing skills......It will be interesting to see how Ellerson develops the talent coming in from the prep school this year and for years to come.......If Bob Sutton gets fired as Jets defensive coordinator, which is possible, would he lead Army's defense? Sutton would likely get plenty of other offers from NFL and college teams. Top Stories