Army is a 14-point favorite over the University at Buffalo in Saturday's game at UB Stadium. Given the way the Black Knights dismanted Texas-El Paso last week (66-14), that spread might be low. Army's triple-option running offense is averaging 367 yards a game on the ground.
Here is an update on Army from sports writer Sal Interdonato of the Middletown Times Herald-Record, His work can be found at @salinterdonato and http://blogs.hudsonvalley.com/west-point-army-football/
In the Youtube clip above, note how easily Army outnumbers UTEP at the point of attack - four blockers on three - to create a touchdown run.
1. Everyone expected Army to be improved this year. But this improved? What is the most impressive thing about the job Jeff Monken has done so far?
Keeping the team together and focused after a tough week following the loss of starting cornerback Brandon Jackson in a car accident on Sept. 11. The team rallied around each other for an inspiring 66-14 win at UTEP last Saturday...Army has also corrected its ball security issues from last year. The Black Knights fumbled 38 times in 2015. Army hasn't turned the ball over in its first three games this season.
2. Who are the three best players on offense and why?
Sophomore fullback Andy Davidson has emerged as a difference maker. Davidson was a linebacker, who played mostly special teams last season. Bruising, power fullbacks make Army's triple-option effective and difficult to stop and Davidson has made the transition to offense look easy. Junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw has efficiently ran the triple option, reading defenses and making the right choices. He's more confident pitching and throwing the football this season. Army may not throw it much but when it does 6-foot-4 wide receiver Edgar Poe is a mismatch against most cornerbacks.
3. Army's defense allowed 28 points a game last year. What are a few reasons for its improvement and what are the concerns or areas of vulnerability on defense?
The play of outside linebackers Alex Aukerman and Kenneth Brinson has complimented three-year starting inside linebackers Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf well. Aukerman, who was recruited as a safety, is now a 245-pound linebacker/ defensive end in Army's scheme and one of the team's best run defenders. Brinson is smart, athletic and can also rush the passer...The Black Knights are creating turnovers at a higher rate than last season. Army has picked off five passes and recovered two fumbles its first three games. The Black Knights had 11 takeaways in 2015...An area of concern would be giving up big plays. Three of the five touchdowns scored against Army this season have come from 24 yards out or more.