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Army Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/12/2008
No. 116 Army Black Knights
2007 Record ~ 3-9 SU ~ 3-8 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (4) Defense (4)
Army finished with three wins for a second straight season but things are not necessarily better or even equal for that matter. Two of those wins came in overtime and one of those was against FCS Rhode Island. The third victory was against lowly Temple. With only eight starters returning across the entire team, it is a huge question if this team actually improves under second year coach Stan Brock or if it takes another step backward. I will likely come down to efficiency as Army was 107th in the nation in turnover margin.
You would think a military school would be able to keep its spring practices secret but that was not the case with Army. The Black Knights kept their doors closed to the public and the media but it was leaked that they are going back to the wishbone this upcoming season. The rushing offense was a horrid 111th in the season in 2007, averaging just 87.4 ypg so there really is no way to go but up. Quarterback Carson Williams is back and while his numbers were not earth shattering, they at least shown production.
The defense improved in scoring allowed for four straight seasons but that has gone the other way the last two years. The 30.2 ppg allowed last season was 82nd but closing with 41, 49 and 38 points given up over the last three games does not instill a lot of confidence. The rushing defense finished 117th, allowing 233.5 ypg on 4.8 ypc. The good news is that of the four starters back, all four are in the front seven. The bad news is that the entire secondary, including NFL draftee Caleb Campbell, needs to be replaced.
The schedule was tough last season but there is some breathing room in 2008. Five of the first six games are winnable with the first three taking place at home for the first time since 2003. In order to actually win those games, this team needs to gel quickly as lack of experience can catch up quickly. The wallets were left bare a season ago with only three spread wins. With a lot of uncertainties heading into this year, do not count on a turnaround against the number. Wait out the first few games and go from there.