October 1, 2012

Army Offense Drops the Ball

The Army Offense dropped the ball against the Stony Brook Seawolves this Saturday, four times to be exact. While Army fans were happy to see starting quarterback, Trent Steelman, under center Saturday, they were equally disappointed to see the Army team lose the turnover battle 4-1 against the Seawolves.
Army enthusiast, Cadet Jack Geiger, commented about Saturday's game, "It seemed that every time the [Army] offense got into the red zone they lost the focus needed to complete the drive, leading to costly errors." Army had two hurtful fumbles in the red zone that detracted from otherwise very successful drives. In the past, the Black Knights have had issues with fumbles, and they will look to ensuring these mistakes do not happen again.
Red Zone Difficulties
Fumbling the ball is worse in some instances than in others. Holding onto the ball becomes even more crucial when a team approaches the goal line. The offense needs to come out of the red zone with some points, be it a touchdown or a field goal. That is why fumbling near the goal line is so destructive during a game. The offensive unit works very hard to get within striking distance, and instead they come out with nothing to show for it.
Coach Ellerson's controversial decision to go for the fourth down conversion instead of a field goal was a risky one. When a coach makes a decision like that he's called a genius if it works out, but if it doesn't, his judgment gets questioned. Coach Ellerson's decision, while not directly paying out in the form of points, shows the faith he has in his players. The game wasn't decided by a slim margin and this fourth down attempt came early enough in the game that the outcome of this play didn't particularly affect the ending of the game. It did, however, show Coach Ellerson's fidelity in his offensive line and his backs to get the job done. It is important for a coach to show his players that he believes in them, and Coach Ellerson did just that.
Rushing Attacks Collide
The meeting between Army and Stony Brook was the first battle between the two schools, and proved to be quite the contest .... potentially. Coming in to this week, Army was number one in the BCS in rushing and Stony Brook was ranked number four in the BCS in rushing. Both of the powerhouse rushing offenses put up 273 yards this weekend, a number that is low by the Black Knights' standard, as they were averaging 399 yards per game. However, on Saturday, the difference came in the passing game, where Stony Brook managed 11-15 for 151 yards and Army spurted out 4-9 for a mere 57 yards.
Patrick Laird led the Army receivers with 2 catches for 40 yards, while Larry Dixon and Chevaughn Lawrence each had one reception. On the ground, the Army offense was very evenly distributed between Trent Steelman, 89 yards; Raymond Maples, 81 yards; Malcolm Brown, 52 yards; and Dixon, 50 yards, while sophomore running back, Terry Baggett remained out of the lineup this Saturday's contest and who won't most like not return until the latter portion of the season.
Stony Brook senior running back Miguel Maysonet ran for a career high 220 yards on 32 carries. He was supported by junior running back, Marcus Coker who ran for 53 yards.
Even against strong run defenses, these two offenses showed why they are both top 5 in the BCS for rushing yards.
Man of Steel
Even with questions surrounding his health for this game, Trent Steelman took every snap and didn't show any signs of the injury he suffered against Wake Forest. Whether his ribs were bothering him or not was unclear. But what was clear was Steelman's determination throughout Saturday's contest. He took many hard hits to the midsection against Stony Brook, none of which hindered the senior signal caller from returning to the huddle and running Army's triple option offense. In fact, Steelman was the leading rusher for the Black Knights with 89 yards, which may be an indicator on how ineffective the Army offense was on the day. Coming into the contest, junior slotback Raymond Maples had rushed for over 100 yards in each the season first three games, but finished Saturday with a mere 81 yards on 13 carries.
Starting center, Ryan Powis, was out this week and backup, Will Wilson, stepped up in his absence. Steelman and Wilson have had trouble with center-quarterback exchanges in the season opener versus SDSU, so it was relieving for many to see that those unnecessary errors had been eliminated, although as previously mentioned, Steelman and the offense had plenty of ball problems elsewhere.

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