Howdy folks. I think this might be the last Dissecting the Coverage for awhile. With Spring Football behind us and graduation coming up, we’re getting close to the summer–and what passes for summer football coverage. There’s not going to be a lot of news.
I have some ideas for summer offseason articles, but if any of you have anything you’d like to talk about, now is the time to let us know.
Quick Thoughts: The Army Spring Game (As For Football)
Army’s offensive squads generally looked better than they have in past scrimmages. The defense tends to be ahead of the offense at this time of year, and especially with the style of offense that Army runs, putting the quarterbacks in red no-contact jerseys significantly degrades the team’s offensive effectiveness. Starting quarterback Kelvin Hopkins was the only guy in red this particular Friday, but you could tell that it hurt him. They were calling him down every time a defender so much as laid a hand on him. Even so, we arrived just as SB Kell Walker took a pitch 80 yards for a touchdown for the Gold team. That came about ten minutes into the first quarter, and from there, the game featured quite a bit of scoring. Throughout most of the game, two of Army’s younger quarterbacks, Tyhier Tyler and Jabari Laws, led their respective teams a series of mostly good-looking scoring drives.
AFF had by far the best coverage of the #ArmySpringGame, so if you missed it, definitely go back and check it out.
The team named captains after the game. It’s exactly not a surprise, but your captains for next year are QB Kelvin Hopkins, LB Cole Christiansen, and CB Elijah Riley.
@FindingExcuses went from scout team to QB1. Working relentlessly on his craft and leading the Army team to unprecedented success. Now he is Team Captain! Couldn’t be prouder! The Brotherhood is in good hands!
— Andrew King (@andrewcking_) April 15, 2019
College football rankings: SN’s pre-preseason top 25 for 2019 (Sporting News)
The Black Knights won a record-11 games in 2018, and have a 21-5 record the last two seasons under Jeff Monken. Star quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. returns on a team that has experience on both sides. Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman’s departure to North Carolina is the only downer heading into next season. The Black Knights gave Oklahoma a scare in 2018; if they can do the same at Michigan on Sept. 7, this independent team could work into the New Year’s Day Six conversation.
17th? Wow, folks. That’s rare air.
No. 25 Army: Defensive lineman Jacob Covington
With two starters gone off the defensive line, Covington brings much needed experience up front. An expected starter this season, Covington was Army’s top reserve lineman last year, and he is capable of playing any position along the line. — [Jake] Trotter
Black Knights Rising in National Polls (Go Army West Point)
The Army West Point men’s lacrosse team rose to 17th in this week’s national rankings after topping service academy rival Navy, 9-8, in overtime on Saturday…
Army is now 9-3 on the year with two wins against nationally ranked teams.
— Army M.Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 14, 2019
If you missed it, you missed one Hell of a contest. The Black Knights got down early but came back and dominated most of the first half. They held a three point lead at the break with Navy struggling even to get shots on goal against a smothering Army defense.
However, as is wont to happen in these games, the Mids came back in the second half, tying the game and forcing overtime. Army’s attack and defense were both better for most of the game, but Navy won far more faceoffs, with the result that they had more offensive opportunities, especially after halftime.
Army won the faceoff in overtime, however, and that led to this:
— Army M.Lacrosse (@ArmyWP_MLax) April 13, 2019
That gave the cadets victory and the star in these teams’ iconic 100th meeting.
Army faces #8 Loyola this week at Michie in an event that offers free admission to Army Football season ticket holders. With a win, the Black Knights will earn a bye in the Patriot League Championship Tournament.
Faceoff is at 2:30 pm on the CBS Sports Network.
Go Army! Beat Loyola!!!
Baseball’s star series concludes this weekend in Annapolis. Saturday’s doubleheader start at 3:00 pm on the Patriot League Network. Sunday’s conclusion will be broadcast on CBS Sports, starting at noon. The series is currently tied following a double-header split at Doubleday Field back in March.
Fantastic convos w/@NavyBaseball & @ArmyWP_Baseball today The world's greatest rivalry renews. On @CBSSportsNet call w/@coffeytime60 for Sun. series finale at 12:30p ET. @PatriotLeague powers, Navy's pop (1st PL SLG/HR) vs. Army's speed (1st PL SB) and PL's top two staff ERAs. pic.twitter.com/dO50M9el7A
— John Sadak (@johnsadak) April 16, 2019
Below the Fold: College Football Roundtable
Navy flashes new defensive philosophy during scrimmage (Capital Gazette)
Navy spent almost two hours engaged in an intra-squad scrimmage and the defense flashed the aggressive, attacking style that new coordinator Brian Newberry is installing. Inside linebacker Diego Fagot and outside linebacker Jake Springer led the way as the unit was unpredictable and disruptive…
Newberry was hired away from Kennesaw State, a Football Championship Subdivision school located in the suburbs of Atlanta. He started working at Navy in January and spent two months watching last season’s game film to evaluate the returning personnel.
The article goes on to note that Navy will run a 4-2-5 defense with elements of the 3-4, presumably via some variable blitz packages coming out of that base nickel look. Should be an interesting experiment.
That said, it sounds like the Mids are going to extensively on a 6-foot-1, 198-pound inside linebacker. That’s kind of a tough ask.
It sounds like we’re in for another year of the Malcolm Perry Show, too.
Michigan football film study: First glimpse at Josh Gattis’ offense (Detroit Free Press)
Michigan senior tight end Sean McKeon summed up Michigan’s new philosophy pretty well Saturday night.
“This (offense) just gives Shea (Patterson) options,” he said. “And we’re never in a bad look with an RPO.”
This article makes Michigan’s new offense sound like a Big 10 version of the Run-and-Shoot predicated on finding or creating talent-based mismatches in order to create explosive plays. It sounds schematically interesting, but it’s putting a Hell of a lot of weight on Patterson’s ability to read defenses and make plays in a compressed time-window.
But hey, that’s what the kids are doing these days. For what it’s worth, ESPN has Michigan making it into the CFB Playoff.
"With that addition to the program, it's definitely exciting."
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) April 15, 2019
LSU transfer Justin McMillan took over for incumbent quarterback Jonathan Banks halfway through the year, and the offense improved a tad. Still, Fritz replaced coordinator and longtime assistant Doug Ruse with Memphis tight ends coach Will Hall. The former West Alabama and West Georgia head coach and UL Lafayette coordinator will be raising the tempo.
Defensively, it’s hard not to get excited. Almost everybody on the line returns, and while a couple of key DBs depart, coordinator Jack Curtis played a lot of guys back there.
This article comes from Bill Connelly’s 130-team preview of FBS college football. I’ll disagree with Connelly about how much McMillan helped the Green Wave. Personally, I thought he was significantly better than Banks.
That said, Connelly’s definitely right that it’s the offense that needs improvement for Tulane. I wouldn’t have said that adding tempo was the missing piece, but I do think the Green Wave will continue to build on their recent success. As I’ve said repeatedly this offseason, this year’s matchup at Michie Stadium ought to be a good one.
Quarterback Josh Love does return, but the Spartans have to replace four of their five or six best defenders, including key run-stuffing linemen Bryson Bridges and Boogie Roberts. The experience is still pretty good on defense, but from an overall returning production standpoint, this appears to be a lineup destined to hold steady, not improve, and definitely not improve enough to catch up to [an improving Mountain-West conference].
Another from the Connelly series. After the whuppin’ Army laid on these guys in 2018, I’ve no idea how you call this rush defense “good,” and I think Love is massively overrated considering that his completion percentage was ~52% in a massively pass-happy offense. But yeah, these guys could improve quite a bit and still not get anywhere in an otherwise talented Mountain-West.
San Jose State is the only college on Earth where they care more about water polo than football, and really, that tells you all that you need to know.
2019 Spring Game?
— San José State Football ? (@SanJoseStateFB) April 17, 2019
By Hawaii standards, 2018 was pretty straightforward. Looking at the progression of wins and losses — a 6-1 start, followed by an 0-4 lull (average score: Opp 50, UH 21), then two more wins after finally encountering a bye week — you get the impression of a team that started out hot, then ran out of steam.
This team definitely seemed to deal with fatigue in October and early November. But the quality of the opponents told as much of a story… An extremely back-loaded schedule created impressions of a cold finish. Really, Hawaii was good against bad teams and pretty bad against good ones.
This is our final piece from the Connelly series this week and by far the most interesting. Bottom line, the Rainbow Warriors retain almost everyone save WR John Ursua, meaning that they will probably be at least as good on offense next season and perhaps much, much improved on defense. If nothing else, Hawaii ought to benefit from a year of legitimate continuity on both sides of the ball. That should count for a lot.
Army fans better to hope it does, at any rate. In strength-of-schedule terms, the Black Knights badly need bounce-back years from teams like Hawaii, Air Force, and Western Kentucky in order to balance out some of potential also-rans that are also on this year’s schedule. Teams like Rice, VMI, and Morgan State aren’t exactly scaring anybody.
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) April 16, 2019
That’s all for now, but we’re shooting a new edition of the As For Football College Football Podcast later tonight. Look for it.