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Week 3 Service Academy Football Press Conference Recap: Monken says Army will need to play better to beat Hawaii

All three Service Academy football programs are 1-1 as we head into week three of the season.

Navy defeated Memphis 22-21

Memphis v Navy Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo had a lot of positive things to say about the Lehigh football program, Navy’s opponent this weekend, citing their back-to-back Patriot League Championships in 2016 and 2017. Niumatalolo also noted how no program experiences that level of success without establishing a winning culture. Lehigh coach Andy Coen has certainly established that in his 11 years as the head man of the Mountain Hawks program.

Niumatalolo discussed how Navy has yet to play a game this season in which all three phases of the game are hitting on all cylinders. He cited how the offense and special teams stepped up against Hawaii, in that losing effort. He then mentioned how Navy’s defense deserved the credit for last week’s victory over Memphis, in a critical match up with the AAC West opponent. The Mids are looking to put it all together this weekend against Lehigh.

Injuries at kick off specialist were discussed as well. J.R. Osborn was recovering from an injury last week and Owen White took his place, in lieu of Bennett Moehring. Niumatalolo cited White’s place as the back-up kick off specialist for the move. Osborn’s status against Lehigh is still questionable.

Navy traditionally practices in pads on Tuesdays but didn’t last week because their equipment still hadn’t made it back from Hawaii. Niumatalolo was happy with the pace and effort of the practice this week and felt like it had a lot to do with Navy’s performance against Memphis, so he decided to do it again this week after a tough and physical game weekend to cut down on the players wear and tear.

Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper discussed Memphis’ success in taking away the fullback all afternoon, and their tough, physical play made it difficult get anything going until the forth quarter. He cited the stellar effort of the defense in forcing turnovers and getting the offense the ball back as the reason the offense was eventually able to wear down the Tiger defenders. Jasper was very pleased with Malcolm Perry’s performance running the triple option, but wants to build up his confidence as a passer in order to be more balanced on offense. Jasper also discussed how huge an impact having both Zach Abey and Malcolm Perry on the field at the same time has been for the team, especially as it relates forcing opposing defenses to prepare to defend against those packages.

Moehring broke the Navy all-time extra point record this past weekend, but he wasn’t interested in taking any credit. Instead he chose to highlight how effective the Navy offense has been at getting the ball in the end zone as the reason for his achievement.

Army defeated Liberty 38-14

Head Coach Jeff Monken expressed how pleased he was with his team’s improvement from week 1 to week 2, but was also clear how large the next jump needs to be if they want to have success against Hawaii this weekend. He has been particularly impressed with how tough and physical Hawaii has been thus far this season.

Monken was not shy about admitting the advantage Army has in getting to see how Hawaii’s defense matched up against service academy rival Navy. He cited how Army’s structure on offense and defense, while not identical, is very similar to Navy’s. Their key to victory this week will be limiting Hawaii’s time of possession by controlling the clock and being efficient with the ball on offense, because Hawaii will be very tough to stop.

“We’re going to need to perform a lot better than we did in Week Two though to beat Hawai’i,” Monken said. “This is a team that everyone is talking about. They’re 3-0 and have scored a bunch of points. I can’t say enough about how hard I think this Hawai’i team plays and how physical they play the game. That’s really impressed me. It’s in every phase. The way they rush kicks, cover kicks, play defense and run with the ball after they catch it. It playing the game really hard with a lot of passion. And certainly that’s a credit to Nick (Rolovich) and the job he’s done, he and his staff, of getting those guys to play that way.”

When asked what his team’s focus of effort will be this week Monken said “…fundamentals. To block, to sustain blocks, to get off blocks, to tackle well and to take care of the football. Those are the most important things to us every day. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing because if we do those things poorly, we’re not going to have a chance to win. So, that remains the focus.”

Air Force falls to Florida Atlantic 33-27

Air Force mounted a late surge in attempting to come back against FAU, but the margin was too large for the Falcons to overcome.

Coach Calhoun said the Owls just simply out played the Falcons. He cited offensive efficiency and open field tackles on defense as the two primary areas of focus for improvement.

The Falcons have week three off. They will travel to face Utah State next weekend. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 2015 MST.