College Football Preview: The 2014 Army Black Knights
Army looks to return the program to a competitive level.
2014 College Football Preview
Jeff Monken takes over an Army program that is searching for respectability in 2014.
Overview: Army is one of the most difficult places to recruit but Jeff Monken has the pedigree for running the option as an assistant under Paul Johnson and as HC of Georgia Southern. He will need every bit of that experience in turning around a program on the decline.
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Offense: Army threw the ball the least of any of the service academies and seldom put the ball in the air when the situation called for passing because they weren't very good at it. Angel Santiago threw for 592 yards but completed less then 50% and added another 643 yards on the ground but AJ Schurr who saw limited action in 2014 has been solid in the spring and might be the number one right now. Army doesn't have an issue running the ball with Terry Baggett (141-1113) and Larry Dixon (112-699) returning as well as a host of others that will ultimately get touches. Xavier Moss (35-463) was the only receiver with more then ten catches which might change in 2014. The O-Line returns three but experience beyond that is minimal.
Defense: The top five and eight of ten along the defensive line return so if experience counts for anything this group is well stocked. On the flip side they are very small which comes in to play when defending the run. Five of the top seven linebackers have graduated which leaves eight players with playing experience. Josh Jenkins leads the secondary in what is the Black Knights version of a shut down corner as he led the team in interceptions and passes defensed.
Special Teams: Alex Tardieu averaged 37 yards on 51 punts while Daniel Grochowski hit 8-11 field goals. However, the Black Knights averaged less then 17 yards on kick returns and less then four yards bringing back punts which is poor at best.
Outlook: This season will be something of a feeling out process but there are some very winnable games on the schedule and Army will get a few of them. Four wins might be pressing it but 2-3 seem certain.