If you’re anything like me, last week you were nervous. Hell, I’m always nervous when Army plays. I’ve seen entirely too many sure-fire victories fall apart in the last minutes of a game.
But last week was different.
We dominated on both sides of the football for 60 full minutes.
It was impressive. It was more than impressive, it was everything we knew this Army team can and should be on a weekly basis. It felt good to see the Black Knights play a complete game, and it felt good to finally have something to look forward to in 2020.
This week, we have another game and hopefully another victory to look forward to. Let’s get into the Keys to Victory.
Army has four possessions and five touchdowns…is that good? pic.twitter.com/Ox0wClrn4N
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 5, 2020
Run the Damn Ball
Run the Ball = Win Football Games
It’s a simple equation. Last week we ran the ball inside, outside, and every which way for a total of 340 yards on the ground. That gave us an average of 5.5 yards per carry. We saw effective inside runs from the fullbacks and some serious speed on the outside by the slotbacks. Our ability to run the ball was impressive, and the offensive line looked great when it came to moving the defense off the line scrimmage.
ULM struggled last season against the run, giving up an astounding 5.7 yards per carry and 250 yards rushing per game. If we run the ball as well as we did last week, we should have no problem finding the end zone.
Oh yeah. Don’t drop the football.
A reason to celebrate.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) September 9, 2020
Play Option Football
The triple option is tricky, and that’s why we run it. So few teams run the option that it is difficult for opponents to see it in a live environment often enough to get good at defending it. Plus, QB Christian Anderson has proven to be really good at running the option, especially the pitch outside.
MTSU didn’t have an answer for the outside option, and I don’t expect ULM to have one, either. I’m not just saying that because ULM’s defensive coordinator resigned a few weeks ago, or because the last option team ULM played, Georgia Southern, blew them out, 51-29.
The option is legit, and if we run it effectively, we win this game.
It’s not often that Army has a serious advantage coming into a game. However, this week is different. ULM has not played a game this season, and indeed, they only held one scrimmage all summer. The team recently shut down football operations for 10 days due to a COVID outbreak and have not spent a lot of time in pads since then. We all know there is a big difference between practice speed and game speed, and that hitting in practice is actually really important.
*cough* Navy *cough*
Army demonstrated last week that our defense and offense both have legit speed. We must use that to our advantage this weekend.
Stay Hungry on Defense
If you listened to the podcast this week, you already know that we at As For Football were super-impressed with the defense on Saturday. Defensive Coordinator Nate Woody somehow pieced together an aggressive, physical, well-disciplined defense in the time of COVID — with no spring practice. Woody’s defense held MTSU under 200 yards of total offense and forced 4 turnovers!
They need to do more of the same this week. ULM’s expected starting quarterback, Colby Suits, has not started a game, ever. Worse, Suits has thrown just one career touchdown against two picks! Army’s defense needs to play fast and physical football in order to overwhelm the new guy and force mistakes.
ULM’s best player is RB Josh Johnson. The defensive line will need to do their job to prevent big holes from opening up. If ULM can sustain drives with the run, then their receivers and tight ends can make plays. Overwhelm the quarterback and stop the run, however, and we might just pitch another shutout.
The first @MaxwellFootball Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week in 2020 is Cedrick Cunningham Jr.‼️
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) September 10, 2020
This should be a big win for us. At the time of writing, Army is a 20-point favorite. I can’t tell you the last time we were that big of a favorite against an FBS team. That said, anything can happen. There is no way that we shouldn’t win this game, but I would hate to see a loss at home because the team went in overconfident.
Stay humble, stay hungry, and get the win.
That’s all I have, folks. It should be a great game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM Eastern on CBS Sports. If you’re like me, you’ll be nervous as all Hell right before kickoff. Hopefully the boys can come out early, get a lead, and control the game.