PJ's Offense Solved; Army looks like Navy

For my column this week, I decided to catch-up on what was going on around the service academy football universe. It turns out that what has been a quiet summer is starting to heat up a bit. I sure hope Army's team colors are still black and gold because their football program is really starting to resemble one that wears blue and gold.

Paul Johnson's Offense Solved!


It only took one game and watching some film session in the off-season for Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor to figure out Paul Johnson's triple option offense. During the ACC's media day in Greensboro, N.C. this week, Chancellor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that based on the blocking schemes "(he) can tell run, pass, (or) who's getting the ball."


"If they keep it like that, then we're all good," continued Chancellor. 


Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer wasn't so sure.


"I can't even figure that out. So he's got me on that one. If he thinks that, we'll see when we play," said Dwyer.


To read the full article, click here.


Golf Outing Notes


I was paired with Navy coach Chris Culton and two major sponsors for the annual NAAA golf outing last week at the Naval Academy Golf Course located just across the Severn River, adjacent to the Naval Station. Our group shot an even-par 71 which was good enough for a middle-of-the-pack finish in the best-ball, scramble format. The winning score came courtesy of Navy coach Danny O'Rourke's group who finished with an impressive 63.


The event marked the unofficial end of the summer for the Navy football coaching staff as they will head back to the offices this week in full force to begin non-stop preparations for the 2009 season. For the most part it seemed as if the coaches were mildly depressed to see the summer go by so soon, but they were all more than ready to get back to full-time football duties. One coach even remarked that this would be the last time he sees his golf clubs until January – at the earliest. He put the emphasis on "seeing them" – as if they would be stashed away in a garage somewhere and there wouldn't even be time to look for them.


If the 'Shoe Fits

Of course most of the chatter amongst sponsors and members of the media (as far as I could tell) was about the Ohio State game. I think the consensus was that the game would be almost like starting the season off with a bowl game without the reward of several months off after the contest. Instead, the reward will be ten consecutive games without a break. Six of those games will be against teams (Louisiana Tech, Pittsburgh, Air Force, Rice, Wake Forest and Notre Dame) who played in a bowl in the 2007 season. A few fans remarked that the run-up (from an excitement standpoint) will probably be reminiscent of the opening game in the 2005 season when the Mids played Maryland in Baltimore. Win or lose, I don't think anyone (fans, coaches, or players) would have minded seeing a nice big bye-week following Ohio State this year. Nobody actually said that, but I'm just guessing that nobody would have complained. Maybe the next time Navy schedules a heavy-hitter in week one, they can just ask every other team to move their respective contests back a week so there would be a nice two-week break to reminisce (or forget) what just took place.


Texas Bowl Gets a Big Boost


If Navy wins seven games this season and plays in the Texas Bowl, its non-traveling fans won't have to worry about whether or not their cable company carries the NFL Network. It was announced last week that ESPN will be broadcasting the game instead of the NFL Network. The game is slated for a 2:30 p.m. kick-off on New Year's Eve. If bowl-eligible, Navy would face a Big 12 opponent. The last time Navy played a bowl game in Texas was in 2003, a 38-14 loss to Texas Tech.



Navy North


Ok that title may be a bit much, but Army is doing a pretty good job of following every facet of its rival's much more successful football program. The latest rendition comes courtesy of CBS College Sports who just signed a television contract with the Cadets that is very similar to the deal the network has with a certain service academy in Annapolis.


According to the West Point release, a major component of the agreement assures that all future Army home football games (starting in 2010) will be played on Saturday afternoons (and aired on CBS College Sports TV) beginning at either noon or 3:30 p.m., ET with all kick-off times to be set by May 1 each year.


However, according to Scott Strasemeier, Associate AD for Sports Information at Navy, the Mids are "locked in to the 3:30 start time for all home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium." So it sounds like Army fans should plan on noon kick-offs for the foreseeable future. It also sounds like CBS Sports is planning on the Ellerson era being a successful one at Army. After all it's not very often that you see a football team that has gone 15-42 in its past five seasons get what is probably a pretty lucrative television deal. I'm not so sure Army would have had as much leverage at the bargaining table if Stan Brock was still its coach. I know they are a national team with a national following, but it is not a stretch to think CBS is counting on much better results in the next few seasons from Army.


Navy, meanwhile weighed in on the deal, saying they believe it will benefit the Mids as well as the Cadets and Falcons.


"We think it is great that our longtime TV partners, CBS and CBS College Sports, are now the home of service academy football.  The fact that every Commander-In-Chief's Trophy game will be televised by either CBS or CBS College Sports is good for all three Service Academies," said Strasemeier.
In my next column, I will weigh-in on Air Force's new media policy. So far the reviews from the beat reporters who follow the team is not good. I have gotten the Academy's official comments and will share them with everyone in the coming days.

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