Black Knights looking for first win of 2008

It's been a terrible decade of football for the Army Black Knights, and second-year head coach Stan Brock didn't get off to the best of starts in his first 15 games at the helm, leading Army to a record of 3-12 in his tenure. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at Army's season so far and this week's matchup against Texas A&M.

The Army football team may have a storied history, but their recent past has been more of a nightmare. Army has compiled a record of just 17-79 since 2000, including an 0-3 start to the 2008 season against the likes of Temple, New Hampshire and Akron.

The Black Knights have scored just 20 points in their first three games of the season, with an average loss of 28-7 in those first three games, scoring just two touchdowns in three games combined. Only once have they scored at least 10 points—against New Hampshire in a 28-10 loss.

"There's so many areas that I think we made an improvement on that aren't actually visible to you all," said second-year head coach Stan Brock, who led the Black Knights to a 3-9 record in his debut season. "There are areas we still have to get better, a lot of areas, that's evident."

One of those areas is holding onto the ball.

Army has put the ball on the ground 13 times, resulting in 10 turnovers on just 161 rush attempts—that's one fumble every 12 plays.

It's not a much better ratio through the air, where three Black Knights quarterbacks have thrown two interceptions in just 39 pass attempts combinedd.

But still, Brock says all the right things, telling his troops that they've got one goal in mind on their trip to Aggieland, and that's picking up their first win of the 2008 season. "It'll be a big challenge for us going down there to Kyle Field, but we are getting on the plane for one reason, and that's to go down there and win," Brock said. "They are a very good football team. I know that they lost to Arkansas State and then they lost last week to Miami, but they are a very big, powerful, pro-style team."

Brock said he's also concerned about preparing for two quarterbacks who bring different aspects to the Aggie offense.

"They had a quarterback who started last week for the first time and is very mobile. We're not sure which quarterback we will see."

But A&M head coach Mike Sherman said he knows what to expect from the Army defense.

"They play against a lot of one-back type teams, so they play a little more nickel, at least on tape," Sherman said. "You don't see them a lot against two-back teams in the teams they've played so far. But they're a typical Army team. This is a team that on the goal line they tell their guys to root hog and penetrate the line of scrimmage, and that's what they're going to do. They're very disciplined, very tough, very physical. They come up through those gaps and they do it exactly the way they are supposed to every single time. They give great effort. They have some good players. But overall as a defense I think they swarm to the football."

The Black Knights' triple-option attack could also present problems for the Aggies, who have struggled to stop the running game in their first three outings of 2008. A&M is ranked No. 105 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 210 yards per game. Meanwhile, Army enters this weekend as the No. 41 rushing offense in the country, averaging nearly 180 yards per contest.

Sherman said he knows the Aggies' rush defense will have to improve and they'll have to be disciplined to stop the option attack.

"The big problem is you only play that style of offense one time every couple of years," Sherman said. "When you run a triple option like they do, that's all they practice and they're pretty good at it. You have to get to a point in a very short pretty of time where you can defend that flawlessly. It's very easy to give up a big play against them, where they have a triple option threat and they get that ball pitched, and you don't take the pitch or you don't cover the quarterback or you get loaded."

Hopefully the Aggies can put an end to big plays by opponents' running backs or it could be another gut-wrenching afternoon at Kyle Field this weekend.

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