Thursday, June 16, 2011
Army Cadets 2010 Review
2010 Record: 7-6
2010 Bowl Game: Armed Forces Bowl, Defeated SMU 16-14
I know that the Cadets only finished at 7-6 last fall, but Rich Ellerson has got to be some kind of genius. Ellerson has rebuilt the Army program, something that nobody thought possible after so many had failed to do so, including Todd Berry, Stan Brock, and others. Army went bowling last fall, and that is extraordinary.
What's great about the resurgence of the Cadets under Ellerson, is that he changed nothing schematically about army does, meaning that he stuck with the option, mostly the wishbone variety of it. That is bread and butter Army football, and Ellerson proved that it can still work for undersized military academies. Trent Steelman showed flashes as a freshman in 2009, and really turned a very nice corner last fall as a sophomore. Steelman managed to pass for 995 yards, and tossed 7 TD passes, whole only tossing 3 picks all season. Steelman was also the second leading rusher, as he has really taken the reins of this offense. Steelman rushed for 721 yards and a team leading 11 TDs on the season. I can't remember the last time when an Army QB accumulated 20 TDs in one season. Steelman will wind up being one of the best in Army history.
Sophomore Jared Hassin led the team in rushing yards, as he busted out a terrific season that saw him finishing with 1013 yards and 9 TDs. Hassin averaged 5.3 yards per carry last fall, and was good for 77.92 yards per game. Senior Patrick Mealy also carried over 100 times, and he rushed for 470 yards and two scores. Malcolm Brown added 4 more scores , while Brian Cobbs rushed for 5. Army rushed for 256 yards per game for the season.
In an option offense, receivers are not a priority, and nobody had more than 15 receptions last fall. Davyd Brooks was the leader, with a line of 15-238-1 on the season. George Jordan joined him with 15 receptions, but only piled up a meager 148 yards on those catches, and he failed to score. Austin Barr led the team with 3 TD receptions last fall.
The defense was actually quite decent as well, as the Cadets held the opposition to 190.5 yards passing per game, and 141.5 yards per game on the ground. The main issue is that the Cadets did not have many big time tacklers, as only two defenders finished with an average of 5 or more tackles per game. Senior LB Stephen Anderson led the team by far with 108 tackles, or 8.31 per game. He was followed by Steven Erzinger with 76 tackles (5.85 per game). Only donovan Travis joined themm as a defender with more than 50 tackles (60).
Army got some solid pressure up front by three major contributors to the Army defensive success. Not many players in the nation was more effective up front than Josh McNary over the last two seasons. McNary finished last fall, and his career, with 12.5 TFLs. McNary finished his last two seasons with 35 TFLs. He received many more double team blocking assignments in 2010, and was still a major force. Anderon joined McNary in double figures, as he netted 12 on the season. Mike Gann just missed out, finishing with 9 on the season. Most of McNary's backfield work came on sacks, as he was the lone double figure sack master for the Cadets with 10.
Four different defenders defended 5 passes or more last fall. Travis finished with 6 and led the team last fall, and was followed by Anderson (5), Donnie Dixon (5), and Erzinger (5). Travis was the interception leader, as he finished a solid season with 5 picks. Richard King came close to matching him, as he finished with 4 on the season, and Jordan Trimble took his only pick 42 yards for a score against VMI.
Alex Carlton was a bumpy ride at PK last season, having only hit on 15 of his 22 attempts last fall. He only misses one of his PATs, however, as he nailed 41 of his 42 tries. He returns this fall as a senior. Jonathon Bulls moved on as the punter after last fall, but he only averaged 38.88 yards per punt, and so Ellerson will seek out improvements at that position. Joshua Jackson was highly average on kick returns, averaging 20.12 yards per return, and was simply decent on punt returns, averaging 7.33 yards per return there.
Rich Ellerson may be one of the first coaches to really get what it means to run the program at West Point. His father and brother both attended the academy, and Ellerson has a real feel for what it takes to succeed here. He has this place in his blood, and that matters. Ellerson has reached tremendous levels of success at West Point, but there is still more work to be done. Just think that Steelman will be a junior, and he can be so much better.