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The West Point Society of Central Florida exists to serve alumni, ex-cadets and friends of The United States Military Academy living in Central Florida as well as those visiting the area. The purpose of the society is to provide a networking platform for those associated with the Academy, provide news, information, and to further the ideals and promote the welfare of the USMA.
What article and headline should we choose to describe the game against Michigan? There were so many great headlines after the Army's double overtime loss to Michigan. If you have an article you would like us to post about this game, let us know. Army showed a lot of grit and heart on the field and we nearly pulled it off. The following artice was written by Isaiah Hole and posted on https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com.
The Michigan fanbase is still in shock at the outcome of the Wolverines latest contest, a 24-21 2OT win over Army, but one of the team’s familiar foes is not. And not because he’s down on the maize and blue this year.
Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is now an analyst for FOX Sports and Big Ten Network, and he sat down with BTN anchor Gerry DiNardo to discuss the difficult game for the Wolverines.
When it comes down to it, Meyer says it was the style of play that Army has, with the triple-option, mixed with controlling time of possession, that kept the Black Knights within striking distance of the win, and the team success is entirely dependent on the scheme that they run at West Point.
Here is a little more detailed analysis of the Army-Rice game, courtesy of Gordy Larson:
Like most Army fans, we expected this game to be more of a tune-up than a pitched battle fought in the trenches by the defenses of both teams. Many of us were hoping that Army would build a large enough lead to provide opportunities for the some of the new back ups to get some playing experience, but the Owls of Rice had a different agenda. They came to play and just missed a couple of opportunities to upset the Black Knights and snap the home game winning streak that is now up to 14 games.
In the end it was a patented 98 yard sustained drive followed by final strong effort by the Black Knight defenders that carried the day. Army scored only twice on the day, both on drives that were 95 yards or more. Arguably, Army benefitted from two missed field goal attempts by Rice, as they were forced to go for the fourth down conversion in the fourth quarter.
Defense: Many Army fans expressed some concern as to whether defensive coordinator, John Loose would be able to sustain the defensive performances the Black Knights had under Jay Bateman. We had a preview of Loose’s tenure in the Armed Forces Bowl, when the Army defense impressed the sporting world by holding Houston to 14 points, but that one game didn’t provide enough evidence to form any firm judgements. The Rice game provided additional evidence that the defense would continue to perform well under the direction of Loose. With the exception of a lapse that resulted in Ellerbe’s 54 yard scoring run in the second quarter, the defense was consistent in stopping the Rice offense all evening. The starting cornerbacks, Jahvari Bourdeau and Elijah Riley kept a tight rein on the Rice receivers holding their passing game to 7 completions of 14 attempts for 62 yards.
Special Teams: The kickoff team performed as well as could be expected. Allan Trammel was named to the C-USA team as a kick return specialist, but the Black Knights never let him get beyond the 21 yard line on his returns. The PAT and Punt coverage teams performed admirably as well.
Time of Possession: Despite several abbreviated offensive drives, the Black Knights dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 35 minutes in the game. The two long drives accounted for about two-thirds of the possession time, but the strong defensive effort contributed by getting the Rice offense off the field quickly as well.
Inconsistent Offense: Other than the two sustained touchdown drives and the two short drives at the end of each half, Army had trouble sustaining drives all evening. They started the game with a meager 9 yards in 4 plays and continued to struggle on their next possession moving the ball only 7 yards in 4 plays. The offense finally came alive on their third possession, with the first touchdown drive of 95 yards that spanned the last 3 minutes of the first quarter and 6+ minutes of the second quarter. Just as it appeared the the offense had found its footing, they floundered again with an anemic 5 play 10 yard drive on their final possession of the first half.
We expected to see some major adjustments coming out of the locker room after the half, but the offense struggled once again, with an unimpressive 29 yards in 5 plays. The second drive of the half looked promising until Sandon McCoy fumbled the ball away on the 50, halting a 35 yard effort. The next possession was one of three that Army started inside their own 5 yard line, but unlike the other two, Army was unable to get themselves out of the hole gaining just 2 yards in 3 attempts. They finished the game on a strong note with a classic 98 yard drive for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
231 Rushing Yards: One of the big reasons for the inconsistent offense was a mediocre rushing attack. The Black Knights averaged 4.1 yards per carry, well off of their 4.9 yards per carry in the 2018 season. This is a matter of concern going forward. Particularly disturbing was the inability to convert on 3d and short and 4th and short as we saw on the opening drive. As Jeff Monken once said, if we can’t pick up a yard when they need it, we aren’t a running team.
We were a disappointed that we didn’t see more production at fullback in this game. With Connor Slomka sidelined by an injury Sandon McCoy played nearly every snap. Cade Barnard had two carries in the fourth quarter drive, but we were hoping to get a better look at Rashad Bolton who we only saw blocking on a couple of plays. The fullbacks averaged just 3.5 yards per carry, which is a big dropoff from last year’s production at that position when each of the 4 top fullbacks averaged more than 4 yards per carry.
Black Knights stumble out of the gate, but hang on to win in Week 1.
Well that wasn’t exactly the start Army fans were expecting to see coming off the historic 2018 season. Although still a win for the Black Knights (14-7), it doesn’t bode well with a top-tier opponent in Michigan on the docket for Week 2. Army struggled to find a rhythm on offense, as the Rice Owls seemed to have an answer for everything Army threw at them.
While many fans thought the departures of Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson would be the most significant to Army’s offense, Army’s struggle to control the line of scrimmage would indicate that former center Bryce Holland might have been the most critical loss. Army averaged over 350 yards of offense on the ground in 2018, yet didn’t even produce 250 yards of total offense against Rice. Senior fullback Conor Slomka’s absence due to an “undisclosed injury” certainly didn’t help; however, even Kelvin Hopkins had difficulty finding time and space to break off runs.
Luckily, Army was able to put together two scoring drives. The second scoring drive late in the game visibly wore down the Rice defense and ultimately led to the game-winning score for Army. The Black Knights did find some success in the air as well as some edge runs from Kell Walker and Artice Hobbs. Army did fumble once, which is uncharacteristic of this offense, but it did not lead to points for Rice. In a battle of defenses, Army’s ability to put together one more scoring drive together ultimately made the difference.
Army’s defense appears to be in good shape under new defensive coordinator John Loose. Despite not registering any sacks, the Black Knights brought plenty of pressure against the Owls. The Army defense did allow one big run for a touchdown, but other than that did a decent job clogging up the middle of the field against the Owls’ rushing attack.
True to form, the Black Knights stiffened in the red zone, forcing Rice to attempt two field goals both of which the Owls missed. John Loose said he wants to run the defense just as aggressively as former defensive coordinator, Jay Bateman, and it appears that Cole Christiansen and company have risen to that challenge.
Army punter Zach Potter probably had as many punts against Rice as he had all season in 2018. Conversely, the Black Knights didn’t do much in the way of returns - the Owls did well pinning Army deep in their own territory (both of Army’s scoring drives were over 95 yards).
Freshman Cole Talley was 2 for 2 on extra points for Army, which bodes well given Army’s history of poor extra point/field goal kicking in recent history. The Black Knights didn’t attempt any field goals, so Talley’s performance in that regard remains untested.
Army emerges from Week 1 with a victory, extending their home win streak as well as their 2nd-place overall win streak behind Clemson. Although not the commanding win that most Army fans likely expected, it’s certainly a better start to the season than Army’s opening loss to Duke in 2018. Rice spent a majority of their offseason preparing for Army’s triple option attack, and the preparation showed.
Army wasn’t able to dictate the game the way they’re used to, and that’s a slight concern as they head to Michigan to take on the Wolverines at home. Defensively, the Black Knights looked good, and will need to sustain the pressure and physicality they displayed against Rice. It’s hard to gauge a team off of Week 1 performance, but I think tonight’s win against Rice was a bit of a gut check for Army.
In any case, a win is a win, and the Black Knights have plenty of positives to build on as they take a 1-0 record into Week 2.
A divided University of South Carolina board of trustees voted Friday to hire retired Army Gen. Robert Caslen as the school’s next president.
After a rare contentious meeting, the board rejected protests from faculty, some students and several politicians in choosing Caslen, the former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The vote was 11-8. One board member abstained.
A crowd of roughly 128 students, alumni and faculty who had gathered in the Pastides Alumni Center, where the board met, began chanting “shame” minutes after the board voted.
Caslen was aware of the opposition to his candidacy and has pledged to meet with his critics and listen to them.
“I want to engage with my critics in the faculty and the students and take their advice,” Caslen told The State. “They’re valued members of the university and it’s important they realize that I see them that way.”
Asked how he felt to be named USC’s
WPSCF hosted a welcome reception for LTG (R) Robert L. Caslen Jr. and his wife Shelly on May 24th at the Country Club of Orlando. The reception was held to welcome the Caslen Family to Central Florida and to honor one of our most recent Distinguished Graduates.
The evening included a social hour with appetizers and drinks where the attendees got a chance to visit with the Caslens and other graduates. Pat Henson (‘05) and Caleb Brown (’04), who planned the event were pleased with the attendance and the many positive comments from all those who attended.
The evening concluded with Jim Young (’78) introducing LTG (R) Robert L. Caslen for some brief comments. After the event, many of the attendees went out to the patio for a group picture with the Caslens. Photos of the event can be found at https://wpscf.org/gallery/index.php?/category/24.
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