Army football is back after 255 days, and tomorrow the Black Knights will take on Coastal Carolina. Although the game is not at Michie Stadium, the new season marks a chance to celebrate all the things that make West Point and Army Football special.
If you’re headed to the game, make sure to take part in all of the songs and traditions. If you’ll be watching on TV, make sure the Army Team can hear you from afar.
Either way, here are some things to look for in Week 1 from your Black Knights.
Keys to Victory
1. Take advantage of the experience differential.
Army is returning a LOT of starters on both sides of the ball. Yes, the Black Knights have lost a good amount of defensive production. But by and large, Army is an experienced team. Coastal Carolina, on the other hand, is returning only 3 starters on each side of the ball. That doesn’t mean the Chanticleers’ players aren’t up to snuff. But if Army can be as disciplined as they are expected to be while capitalizing on mistakes from Coastal, they have a really good chance in this one.
Prepping for the season opener this Saturday night in South Carolina.— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) August 31, 2022
Hear from @CoachJeffMonken, Marquel Broughton and Andre Carter following practice on Tuesday evening. #GoArmy pic.twitter.com/wx4OWakjtr
The obvious stat line here is turnovers. Those are always a factor. But discipline doesn’t only show up in one stat block. If Coastal’s defense misses an assignment, the offense needs to make them pay. If the Chanticleers bite too hard on LB Andre Carter II’s pass rush, NT Isaiah Filisi and DE Kwabena Bonsu need to make a play in the backfield. And in the 4th quarter when everyone is tired because they haven’t played a full 60 minutes yet, the Black Knights need to dig just a little bit deeper.
2. Get to QB Grayson McCall early.
McCall is coming off an offseason shoulder surgery. Luckily, he will be playing in this game. But Head Coach Jamey Chadwell has even admitted that while McCall is physically 100%, it’s taken him longer to get back mentally. Combine that with the fact the he’s working with largely new receivers, and you have an opportunity to rattle the opposing quarterback. But you have to do it early to prevent him from getting too comfortable.
Obviously sacks are great. Army should have plenty of weapons in the front seven to get those sacks. But you can also throw a quarterback off his game by deflecting passes. Army’s secondary will have a chance to step up and end drives as well.
If Army can force the Chants to keep the ball on the ground more than they want, the Black Knights will have a much better shot.
3. Four yards and a cloud of dust
Army’s offensive line has got to win in the trenches early. Yes, I love when Army throws a 50 yard pass as much as the next guy. But that only happens when the offense establishes the running game first. The Chanticleer’s defensive line is rather inexperienced, and there’s a lot of excitement about the experience of Army’s offensive line under the direction of Coach Mike Viti. If they can win the line of scrimmage, you will see Army move the ball efficiently down the field. Averaging 4+ yards on the Fullback Dive is the reason that Army gets to throw long, not the other way around.
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Go Army! Beat Coastal!!!
*Cover image via @ArmyWP_Football