2012 Army Black Knights Football Preview
2011 Record: 3-9
Head Coach: Rich Ellerson, fourth season (15-22 at Army) (75-63 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 16
Spring Game: March 9th (Armor 20 Infantry 14)
Notes: Of the service academies, Army has struggled the most on the gridiron. Historically, Army has been the strongest of the three programs, winning three national titles – 1944, 1945, and 1946. The Black Knights also boast three Heisman trophy winners – Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, and Pete Dawkins. But since the conclusion of the 1999 season, Army has had five coaches. While its only been one season since Army made a bowl game, 1996 was the most recent post-season appearance prior to 2010. In fact, the last time Army made back-to-back bowl games, it was 1984-1985. More importantly, Army hasn’t beaten Navy since 2001.
BVTSB Take: The service academies are often at a severe disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and their players are often undersized when compared with the competition. Still, the academies often thrive when the display deceptive offenses, such as the one Coach Ellerson employs. Coach Ellerson uses the same triple-option offense he used at Cal Poly, similar to the offense employed by Navy. The academies generally have a high turnover of players from year to year – Army is no exception. Quarterback Trent Steelman returns for his senior season – he was the team’s second leading rusher last season, averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 12 rushing touchdowns. Steelman rarely passed the ball, as evidenced by the three touchdowns, two interceptions, and 464 yards passing. Junior split back Raymond Maples also returns, as he rushed for over 1000 yards last season – he averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Split back Malcolm Brown and running back Larry Dixon also return. Because of the deemphasized value on the passing game, the wide receivers have less importance in Army’s offense. In fact, Army’s leading receiver in 2011, Davyd Brooks, only had ten catches all season! Brooks graduated. Last season, Army played seven teams that made bowl games, going 1-6 in those games. Of the team’s on this year’s schedule, six were in bowl games last season. Army plays San Diego State, Wake Forest, Eastern Michigan, and Rutgers all on the road. They play Northern Illinois, Stony Brook, Boston College, Kent State, Ball State, Air Force, and Temple at home; the Black Knights conclude the season in their annual rivalry game against Navy at Philadelphia. The Black Knights have the potential to return to the post-season after a one year absence, but it will be tough; they could open the season 0-3 and conclude the season on a four game losing streak. If that is the case, the will be home for the holidays yet again.
2012 Early Projection: 3-9
To see the 2012 Independent schedules, click here.
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