Black and Gold Game Review

On Saturday Army held its annual Black-Gold scrimmage to close the spring football season. Army also played a baseball doubleheader against Cornell at Johnson Stadium. Unfortunately for Army football fans hoping that a brighter future is on the horizon, the baseball matchup proved to be far more entertaining.

In an indecipherable and inexplicable format, the gold "team" beat the black "team" 42-32. How the gold scored that many points despite having zero offensive possessions (that's right - the gold was on defense the whole game) would take too long to explain. What did appear evident was that Army has adequate depth on defense, and Pop Warner - quality depth on offense.

The first string players on offense and defense played against each other for the first ten plays or so. It wasn't until the eighth play that starting quarterback Trent Steelman completed a pass (after missing on his first four attempts), or the first string offense got a first down. From that point on, both first string units played against second and third string units, and both starting units looked dominant against the weaker competition. Steelman threw the ball very well overall, and wide receiver Davyd Brooks, after one very bad drop on the first play from scrimmage, made three spectacular catches, including one over the shoulder catch on a fade pattern that went for a touchdown. Much of the off-season hype at USMA has surrounded stud transfer Jarred Hassin, a 6-3, 235 pound fullback, who amazingly left the Air Force Academy to come play at West Point. However, Hassin only had one carry for no gain and one catch out of the backfield for a first down. Coach Ellerson undoubtedly must have been concealing his new secret weapon from the 500 or so fans that bothered to show up to today's "event."

Even without defensive stalwarts linebacker Steven Anderson (knee reconstruction) and defensive end Josh McNary (too good and not in need of practice?), Army's first-string defense looked like it can once again be counted on to carry the team if necessary. It was hard to tell how good they were against Army's backup offensive units though, both of which had such small offensive lines that it left you thinking, "Are these guys really on the football team?"

The good news is that, unlike recent years when Army's defense would lay utter waste all over the offense in these games, this year the first string offense looked a lot sharper, crisper, and better than they usually do. Hopefully there are really good offensive players coming in from the prep school and from this past recruiting season, though, because Army's current roster apparently has nobody who can come in off the bench and help at all if any of the offensive starters go down with an injury.

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