Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Independents 2010-Army Cadets

2009 Record: 5-7
Head Coach: Rich Ellerson (2nd season, 5-7...83-17 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ian Shields (2nd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Payam Sadaat (2nd season) and Chris Smeland (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Missed the Eagle Bank Bowl by losing to Navy

Offense: QB Trent Steelman can call this his team now. He was the first freshman to ever start every game at QB for the cadets, and he led the team in rushing. Patrick Mealy and Jameson Carter return at the SB spots in the triple option offense. Mealy averaged over 6 yards per carry in 2009. Both WRs will be new, but it matters little since Army never passes the football. They ranked 120th in the nation in that category, and it won't change much this season. Jared Hassin (Air Force transfer) will start at FB. The line is solid with 4 starters returning.

Defense: 5 of the front 7 are returnees from last season, including DE Josh McNary, who was a beast in 2009. He missed spring ball with a shoulder injury, but should be back to speed for the fall. Mike Gann will be the returning NT in the 3-4 set. Stephen Anderson is the best of the LBs, but he too missed spring ball with a knee injury. He too is expected to be back in time for the first game. Andrew Rodriguez is also very solid at LB, with 85 tackles last season. Steve Erzinger is like a missile against the run. 3 members of the secondary return in CB Antuan Aaron, SS Donovan Travis, and Donnie Dixon. Army ranked 3rd against the pass.

Special Teams: Alex Carlton had a solid season, but he followed up with bad spring, and now has to fight to keep the job from Matt Campbell. Jonathon Bulls was all over the place in 2009, and needs to pull it together to give his defense a chance.

2010 Schedule

Wins: 9/4 Eastern Michigan, 9/18 North Texas, 9/25 @ Duke, 10/9 Tulane, 10/30 VMI, 11/113 @ Kent State

Toss Up Games: 9/11 Hawaii, 10/2 Temple

Losses: 10/16 @ Rutgers, 11/6 Air Force, 11/20 Notre Dame (@ New York), 12/11 Navy (@ Philadelphia)

It wasn't so long ago that you would have found nothing in the win box. Rich Ellerson is showing people that great things can happen at Michie Stadium, one of college football's coolest facilities. The Cadets have just got to win one of the toss games and they will earn a birth in the Eagle Bank Bowl, which they just missed by losing to Navy last season. Don't be surprised if Army pulls out a 7 win season.

Outlook: Things are getting better and better at West Point. Ellerson is proving to be a genius hire. He understands the West Point culture, and he knows how to win in obscure locales like West Point and San Luis Obispo. Army should see a bowl this season, and it seems evident that they are following the formula that Navy left for them to follow as to how to become a solid power as an independent and military academy. Good things are happening.

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