At last, friends, our long national nightmare is coming to a close. We’re just two weeks out from the start of college football and three weeks from 2021’s first Army game. The Black Knights broke camp this past weekend following their first summer scrimmage, and now they’re busy preparing for the season opener at Georgia State. I’m psyched.
Let’s see what folks are saying.
Season Preview Videos
We start this week with a pair of season preview videos. These popped up randomly on my YouTube feed. The first asks a question that I’ve been asking myself all summer, and it’s this: “Is this Jeff Monken’s best team at Army?”
It might be. Last year’s team was hungry and talented but very, very young. They still won 9 games and had every chance to beat West Virginia in the bowl game. Now we come to 2021, and the team is at least as talented, but they’re also a lot more experienced, too.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t even going to do this next one, but wait for it. These guys got me at about the halfway mark.
This is exactly the way every Army fan is feeling right now.
Tyhier Tyler took the first snaps under center. Tyler started the last four games of the 2020 season. Army won three of those games including victories over service-academy rivals Navy and Air Force in back-to-back weeks…Junior Jemel Jones was under center for the second drive followed by junior Maurice Bellan. After a series by Simeon Evans, Laws received snaps followed by Christian Anderson and Cade Ballard.
I don’t know that there’s anything necessarily surprising there, but it’s interesting to note that the offense seems to be a little bit ahead of the defense right now. That’s not unusual on the whole for a college football team for this time in the season, but it has been a little bit unusual at Army the past few years. This year, though, the starting offense seems to have had more success against the starting defense than they’ve had early over the past few camps.
That’s a good sign, especially for a team that needs to get a little more explosive on offense.
I don’t know how much I think the Black Knights are necessarily going to pitch to the slotbacks this fall, but it’s interesting to see how often they’re throwing to them — at least during camp. It’s not a secret that Army needs to find a way to get the ball to their playmakers in space. Occasionally hitting some of those slots out of the backfield might just be the key to getting that done.
Beat writer Sal Interdonato also posted some photos from the scrimmage right here. We then got a video interview from QB Jabari Laws after the scrimmage ended. It’s great to see him back out on the field.
Mark your calendars for November 27th when Army travels to Lynchburg, Virginia, to play the Liberty Flames. That has ‘game of the year’ written all over it. Army has all the ability in the world to get their 10 wins, but they have to earn them.
Four of their first five games could go either way. A lot depends on the stability at quarterback and how well the new-look offensive line plays.
That would be a Hell of a season.
The Black Knights have 11 quarterbacks on the roster, with half having seen action behind center over the past two seasons. While Monken has made it known that he plans on employing multiple quarterbacks during games this season, he said it would be a shame to leave so much talent on the sidelines. Jabari Laws has lined up in the backfield and Maurice Bellan has played in the slot. He could envision utilizing Jemel Jones as a running back and perhaps Christian Anderson at wide receiver.
“They might be able to play other places; they’re good athletes,’’ Monken said. “Right now they are quarterbacks so we want to try to play them at quarterback and prepare them to be quarterbacks – we feel like they need to be there in order to make our team the best it can be.’’
Or maybe they’ll all play at quarterback. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Anderson split wide to catch some passes.
That’s the news for this week. We’ll close out with one more Twitter video from the scrimmage. Enjoy!
Go Army! Beat Georgia State!!!
* Cover image via Army Football on Twitter.