First Look: Rich Ellerson Interview writer Adam Nettina recently sat down to speak with Army head coach Rich Ellerson, discussing a variety of topics to include the Double Eagle Flex defense, the state of Army football recruiting, and the strength of Army's 2009 schedule.

Over the next month will be running a series of articles based off of Adam's interview with the former Cal Poly headman, concluding with the eventual release of the full 30-minute transcript. Here's a sneak peek of just one of the topics which coach covered...

Adam Nettina (AN): There was a stretch of 7 games in the middle of last season where this team went 3-4, with all four losses coming by nine points or less. Does that tell you that this team is close to where it needs to be, and that your job is just to "get them over the hump" so to speak? Or do you think the problems are much deeper than just teaching this group of players how to finish and how to win?

Rich Ellerson (RE): I don't know what it tells me to be honest. What I think I have seen – and what I think what you have pointed out – is that there was some good work being done here, and I am determined in the way we staff this thing and in the way we come out of the gate in making sure we take advantage of that good work. At the same time it is going to be a unique offense, and it is going to be a unique defense. We are going to establish a ‘team culture' that is different. We are going to have a way of operating which is efficient and we are going to ultimately be efficient with our cadets and their time, because the cadets' time is under such pressure. We need to give them a chance to develop physically and in every other realm of their experience here at West Point. So there are certainly some things that are changing, and there was some good work that was being done here and we are trying to capitalize on that, and we are trying to be able to take a step forward without taking a step back. I think you alluded to that earlier…and if we can do that - and if you look at the scores from a year ago and do that - than you can say [improving the program this year] is not unrealistic. If you look at our schedule and how we played last year - as I say if we can take a couple of steps forward without having to take one back - than we will have a great chance, but that is a mouthful. If you talk about a unique offense or a unique defense than you are talking about a different culture on your team internally, a different voice on your team…something that your guys have responded to or embraced - but that is not the same as making it your own. So we have work to do…Don't misunderstand me – we still have an uphill fight – but it is not as steep maybe as some people would assume.

For all the latest in Army football coverage this summer, be sure to check back to and to sign up for Premium membership! Top Stories