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Army Black Knights 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Season Previews – (Independant) Black Knights

The Army Black Knights have the right formula. The way service academies win is by running some form of the option. It’s worked for Air Force and it’s worked for Navy. The Knights have been able to pile up yardage on the ground, but the wins simply haven’t followed.

That was Rich Ellerson’s undoing. His hiring seemed like a perfect fit from the time he was lured away from Cal Poly, and while he was able to make the offense go, little else went right.


2014 Preview: Army Black Knights
Coach: Jeff Monken
2013 Record: 3-9
Black Knights

The Knights will now break in a new coach in Jeff Monken who comes over from Georgia Southern. Monken comes from the Paul Johnson coaching tree, and he appears to be arriving at a good time, with a lot of offensive pieces falling into place.

Monken’s Georgia Southern Eagles churned out 4,227 yards and 44 touchdowns last season, averaging 360 yards rushing per game. What separated his Eagles from last year’s Army squad is that Monken’s boys could throw the ball when needed, something that was never a threat when the Black Knights took the field. His team also pulled off an exciting upset of Florida.

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Monken’s job from day one will be to incorporate the team’s receivers into the offense – they’re better than you may think. His roster is littered with a guys that can run the ball, and the offensive line will be a strength, so it will be easy to fall into the trap of just leaning on that ground game – a trap many before him have fallen into.

Each of the team’s top five leading rushers from a year ago are back. As a team, the Knights ran for 3,717 yards and 34 touchdowns a year ago, but that wasn’t enough. Punishing cheating defenses with deep passes over the top is something that the team needs to figure out how to do.

Quarterback Angel Santiago is in the mix for the starting job, and has experience running the option, but Monken could very well turn to A.J. Schnurr, who is the better thrower of the two, in an effort to further develop that deep passing attack.

Senior running back Terry Baggett returns to lead the backfield. He routed Eastern Michigan to the tune of a 304-yard four-touchdown day last season. He’ll be the go-to guy on offense again this season.

The team’s funky defensive formations will be subbed out in favor of a more traditional 3-4 base. The unit had plenty of success against the pass a year ago, but they were helpless against the run. The team is expected to leave more linebackers on the field in an effort to see more tackles up front, rather than in the secondary.
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The unit loses two of its top performers in linebacker Thomas Holloway, who led the team in tackles a year ago, and fellow linebacker Jarrett Mackey, who was one of the team’s top defensive playmakers.

The Knights’ special teams play was lousy a year ago. The team averaged just 15.3 yards per kick return, and the long return was just 26 yards. The punt return average was just 3.4 yards per attempt with a long of 12. The team’s punting average was less than 38 yards per attempt. That means they were losing the field position game in a big way, playing with long fields on offense, then giving their opponents short fields to operate on. Any improvement there would be huge.

2014 Army gambling prediction: 4-8

Army had a miserable season last year, and fans of the program would probably just be happy to see the team stay competitive in their games this season, even if they don’t improve their record much.

The problem a year ago was the team was constantly putting itself in a position to play catchup, and they just aren’t built to come back from deficits.

As far as the schedule goes, beyond Stanford, it isn’t overly difficult. The team only gets five home contests, so they’ll need to be sure to make the most of those outings. That opener against Buffalo is big as its followed by a long three-week road trip.

2014 Army schedule:

  • 9/6 Buffalo
  • 9/13 at Stanford
  • 9/20 at Wake Forest
  • 9/27 at Yale
  • 10/4 Ball State
  • 10/11 Rice
  • 10/18 at Kent State
  • 11/1 Air Force
  • 11/8 Connecticut
  • 11/15 at Western Kentucky
  • 11/29 Fordham
  • 12/13 Navy*

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