Sunday, October 28, 2018

Quick Thoughts is Up!

You should probably just bookmark AsForFootball.Com, but in case you've not yet done that...

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

#SBRLLR: Choosing Something Real (Part 2)

I showed up to the Hoboken Running Club wearing shorts and a tank top.  I was intensely happy to have something athletic to do in the company of other people.  Though Ugly American Night had frequently been memorable, the happiest I’d been in the Army had been at PT.  I’d enjoyed running in formation all the way back to Beast Barracks, and I’d trained for SFAS with Joe for no better reason than because I enjoyed it.  I didn’t go to SFAS, and Joe didn’t need me pushing him.  I just liked running with my friend, and I knew that the feeling had been mutual.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

You're looking for this week's Army Football Preview, right?

It's not here.  As I said last week, I've taken the Army Football portion of this blog to AsForFootball.Com.  I'm pretty excited about it.  We've got a lot of great things planned, and those guys have a whole range of skillsets that I can't easily replicate on my own. 

Looks like a really good partnership.

This week's preview is up, and I think it's worth your time.  Click here to check it out.

Click here.  Click here.  Click here.
You can handle that, right?


Monday, October 22, 2018

Pics from the Weekend

It was a lot of football.  Emma played with the Stratford High School Band at Homecoming on Friday, then we went to Army's EPIC win over Miami-Ohio on Saturday.  We went hiking yesterday.  I took most of these, but Sally took a bunch of the Army shots on her actual camera.  Hence the enhanced shutter speed and closer zoom.

Pics are after the jump.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Looking for "Quick Thoughts"?

I've taken my talents, at least for the purposes of Army Football, to As For Football.  I'll be doing the same stuff you've come to expect, but over there.

The new post is already up!  Go check it out!!!

Head to As For Football right now!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

#SBRLLR: Choosing Something Real (Part 1)

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
― President Abraham Lincoln
My buddy Joe rescued me in the way that only an old Army buddy can.
Joe and I had met back at Ft. Knox.  The Armor Captain’s Career Course ended with a capstone exercise, a brigade defense fought via computer battle simulation.  The event was primarily a staff exercise for which we were divided into four notional armor battalions with me and Joe serving as the leads on the same notional staff.  I served as our battalion’s operations officer, developing tactics and drafting the bulk of our group’s tactical orders.  Joe ran the staff itself as battalion XO.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Support This Blog

For much of his life, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle truly disliked writing stories about Sherlock Holmes.  Amazing but true.  Alas, the public loved Holmes, and when Doyle attempted to end the series by killing off the famous detective, Londoners went crazy.  They simply could not accept that Holmes was dead.  More to the point, they didn't care overmuch what other projects Doyle himself looked forward to writing in the future.  In the end, Doyle bowed to the public's wishes and brought Holmes back from the dead.  That decision pigeonholed his writing forever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Army Football Preview: Miami-Ohio

After handling their business in California over the weekend, the Army Black Knights are finally back home on Saturday following a long three-game road trip.  Army faces a hungry, talented team from Miami-Ohio this week that badly needs a win.  In many ways, the Miami-Ohio RedHawks are archetypical of the kinds of teams that Army will face from here on out—strong on defense but inconsistent on offense.  This week’s contest therefore promises to be an important harbinger for the rest of the season.  
After six games, the Black Knights are 4-2 with FCS doormat Lafayette remaining on the schedule.  On top of everything else, a win this Saturday virtually assures bowl eligibility.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Really Quick Thoughts: Army Issues a BEATDOWN to San Jose State

It doesn't get much better than that, am I right?  Army wins by 50 on the road, and Navy drops a heartbreaker at home...  That's what I call a good day's work.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Quick Thoughts: A Star Is Born

Sally and I went to see A Star Is Born last night, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in which Cooper is himself making his directorial debut.  I liked the movie a lot, but I had some thoughts about it, too.

Detailed spoilers are below.  Click through at your own risk.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

#SBRLLR: Welcome to New York (Part 3)

While I was struggling to adjust to life in the big city, my father was coming unraveled back in Tennessee.  My mother had finally left him, forcing the sale of their home in Lawrenceburg and upending Dad’s his life from top to bottom.  I don’t think he even argued in his own defense.  Rather, he just let her take whatever she wanted, allowed her to set up their soon-to-be-separate finances to her own best benefit, and--at some level--accepted responsibility for destroying her life and his.  He raged, sure, when he was drunk, but he never actually defended himself nor stopped loving my mother.  For that reason, he let her take advantage of him and of the situation.
Or maybe he was just so drunk that he didn’t notice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Army Football Preview: at San Jose State

With the bye week in the rearview, Army Football turns its attention to the West Coast and San Jose State.  After five straight games against previously undefeated opponents, Saturday’s contest marks the first of the season in which the Black Knights will be clear, obvious, uncontested favorites over an ostensibly bad team.  That’s not a good thing, nor is it helpful that the game itself will take place nearly 3,000 miles from home in a distinctly unfamiliar stadium.
This is the very definition of a trap game.
It’s a good match-up, though, because it helps Army sell its brand out on the far coast, and in that, the San Jose Spartans did the Academy a favor by staging the contest at Levi Stadium.  Still, this is the kind of game that tests the focus of a young team. Army’s had a decent season so far, but they still stand just 3-2.  The Black Knights badly need a win this week to stay on the path towards bowl eligibility.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Quick Thoughts: Navy at Air Force & More

I don't know if you watched it, but Air Force beat the Holy Hell out of Navy yesterday out in Colorado Springs.  As Coach Jeff Monken would say, "It wasn't even sporting."  The Zoomies dropped a stone-cold beat-down.

Really, the game went about as we expected given Wednesday's preview, but even more so.  Much more.

The game's first quarter was some of the worst football I've ever seen.  As they were for most of the game, Navy was trapped in a nightmare version of the Malcolm Perry Show, with the Zoomies keying on Perry and hitting him repeatedly behind the line of scrimmage.  Perry either couldn't or wouldn't get the ball out to the rest of his playmakers, and that let Air Force attack him personally and thereby shut down the Squids' offense in its entirety.

Some fool is reading this and shaking his head.  It's true, though.  The problem really was Malcolm Perry.  He finished with 19 carries for 54 yards (2.8 yards/carry), including a ton of negative yardage plays.  FB Anthony Gargiulo finished with all of 4 (!) carries for 13 yards (3.3 yards/carry), while TEs Tre Walker and Nelson Smith, running mostly in the FB role, I think, finished with 6 carries collectively for 37 yards (6.1 yards/carry).  FBs Mike Martin and Nelson Smith struggled mightily, but even so, those guys collectively finished with 18 carries for 3.6 yards/carry.  That's not great, but it would've moved the chains consistently without the negative plays at quarterback.

Navy ran out of the shotgun a lot yesterday, but their O-Line wasn't getting any push, and for the most part, with the way they run the Dive, it wasn't hitting the hole fast enough.  The Zoomies were into the backfield a lot before the play had a chance to develop.  They got some decent pitches outside, but Perry cannot pass the ball, so really, they just did not have an answer for the Zoomies' D-Line.  They got behind the chains a lot, and that's why they lost.

On the other side, the Squids' defense did a decent job keeping the Zoomies in check for most of the first half.  The first quarter was literally just a long series of 3-and-outs for both squads, with the Mids slowly winning the field position battle.  That eventually gave Navy their only points, but they lost their starting middle linebacker to a targeting call late in the quarter, and their defense never recovered.  Once LB Taylor Heflin went out, we started seeing busts in Navy's pass coverage and mistakes in triple-option defense, and from there, the rout was on.

Air Force's new quarterback, Donald Hammond III, went 6/10 for 142 yards and a touchdown.  Nearly half of that came on a single busted-coverage play to WR Ronald Cleveland, who went 61 yards for the score.  Beyond that, Hammond did enough to keep the chains moving.  He carried 19 times for just 60 yards (3.2 yards/carry), but he did an excellent job distributing the football, and the Mids let RB Joseph Saucier get loose several times for long gainers off the option-pitch.  Saucier's long went 48 yards for a touchdown.  He finished with 3 carries for 62 yards (20.7 yards/carry).  

That's not a bad day at the office.

So this is how you lose: you let your quarterback get smoked behind the line of scrimmage repeatedly, have your starting middle linebacker tackle with his head down and get a targeting call, and then give up big yardage chunk plays on the outside.  Eventually, your defense loses heart, and you wind up 35-7 in a rivalry game that you badly needed.  That's what I saw.

It's no secret that I've not been a fan of the Malcolm Perry Show since its debut.  I'm still not.  If Navy starts QB Garrett Lewis and uses Perry as a slotback, I think they match Air Force's production--easily.  As it was, they tried to use their big-play threat to distribute the football, and that's just not been working.  Outside of one home game against Memphis, this Navy team has not performed as advertised.

Meanwhile, the takeaway for Army is about Air Force's D-Line.  Those guys are big and fast.  The Zoomies have given up a lot of yards passing this season, and Army has run on some teams (Hawaii) that the Mids couldn't much move, but still.  QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. will have to match Hammond's production in the passing game if Army wants to win.  Granted, Hopkins is gonna get more help from the rest of his offense than Malcolm Perry got.  Nevertheless, November's showdown in Michie Stadium may well be a game for the ages.

Army Football P(Wins) vs. 2018 Schedule: Bye Week
The good news for the Black Knights is that Hawaii and Buffalo both won their games in convincing fashion yesterday.  The Rainbow Warriors are now bowl eligible, and the Bulls still look to have the inside track on winning the MAC.  They destroyed Central Michigan, mostly on the ground.  That bodes well for Army's end-of-season ranking.

Miami (Ohio) also won yesterday.  That's a team that tends to start slow but pick up steam as the season progresses.  I don't know if they can finish fast enough to make it into the postseason, but they might.  Certainly, they'll come into Michie Stadium hungry to keep the turnaround going.

Eastern Michigan lost again, but what's amazing is that even at 2-4, they're still in plus territory on point differential.  Very surprising.  They must be the most under-performing team for their talent in all of college football.  Of note, Army's game in their building will be an absolute must-win for the Eagles.

Finally, Colgate remains unbeaten.  If you haven't noticed, Army's last home game is not a gimme.  The Black Knights will be facing one of the very best teams in all of FCS football.

* * *
Plot threads for the coming week:.

1.  Navy's season is in the toilet, and they have the hardest part of their schedule immediately on the horizon.  Temple, Houston, #6 Notre Dame, undefeated Cincinnati, and then #12 UCF.  Unless something unexpected happens, Navy's liable to be 4-7 heading into the Army-Navy game.

Wow.  The last time that happened, I think *I* was still a cadet.

2. Air Force has SDSU, UNLV, Boise State, and then Army.  They're 2-3 now and will probably be 3-5 when they hit Michie Stadium.  Maybe they shock the Aztecs, but that's not the way I would bet.  A Zoomie win would certainly help Army's strength-of-schedule rankings.  After Army, the Zoomies have New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado State.

Bottom line, the Zoomies can still salvage their season despite their slow start.  That's worth watching.  I was very impressed with the way they played yesterday.

3.  Despite their record, San Jose State is a dangerous team for Army on the road.  The Spartans are big on their D-Line and very good against the run, allowing just 3.8 yards/carry.  They have a big-play offense, but an inconsistent one, and that's why they haven't won a game.

Assuming Army can move the ball against their front, I think the Black Knights have a serious advantage in terms of style-of-play.  But this will be an interesting test against another stout rushing defense.  Having seen Air Force's D-Line, the Black Knights need those kinds of tests heading into the November showdown.

That's all I've got.

Go Army!  Beat San Jose State!!!

Friday, October 5, 2018

5 Things on a Friday: Bye Week Blues

Tough week without an Army game this Saturday.  Not that the guys don’t deserve a break or even that I and my family don’t have other things that we need to do with our time.  But still.  You wait all damned year for college football season, it’s tough to miss even a week of it.
Oh well.  There are other games, I guess.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

#SBRLLR: Welcome to New York (Part 2)

It turned out that my new company had lost two complete substations, something like five hundred million dollars’ worth of equipment, and that this had blacked out Wall Street and much of Lower Manhattan.  We had one killed-in-action, Dick Morgan, a recently retired executive who’d been at the Trade Center that morning for a meeting with the Transit Authority.  I’d never met Mr. Morgan, but he was famed for being the only “nice guy” executive in the entire company.  For months afterwards, folks said, “They got the only good one.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

C.iC. Football Preview: Navy at Air Force

This week, the nation’s #2 and #3 service academies square off in a football rivalry game for the ages.  No, I’m not talking about the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at SUNY Maritime.  No, I’m not talking about VMI at the Citadel.
It’s Navy-Air Force Week!
I know, right?  I wasn’t really expecting to be here, either.  I was planning to run another 5 Things on a Bye Week post, but when I polled the audience, you guys were a good bit more fired up about this week’s heel-on-heel matchup than you were about my random musings on Army Football’s State of the Season.  It was actually pretty even on Twitter, but my classmates on Facebook were way more interested in Navy-Air Force, and here we are.  Alas, some of them actually live out in Colorado.

I should point out that several folks on FB asked me to do both.  I do not think I’ll have the time, unfortunately.