Here’s your mid-week collection of service academy football news to get you through that Wednesday grind and ready for a big Saturday of action as Air Force takes on the Lane Kiffin led FAU Owls, Army hosts upstart FBS Liberty, and Navy jumps right into conference action against preseason AAC West favorite Memphis.
It appears we might begin to see a changing of the guard at the quarterback position, at least for this week’s game against FAU. Air Force beat writer Brent Briggeman reports that Arion Worthman has been limited in practice this week and that might mean that junior QB Isaiah Sanders may get an extended look this week in the final non-conference/non-CIC tilt of the season for the Falcons as they travel to Boca Raton. Sanders performed well last season in a victory against Utah State last year and provided a spark in last week’s dominant 38-0 win over Stony Brook.
The Air Force defense was clearly having some fun last weekend as they held Stony Brook to just 75 yards of offense and forced two turnovers including an interception returned for a touchdown by Kyle Johnson, our performer of the week for the Falcons. The fun seemed to continue on the sidelines as the Air Force D had its own turnover chain ready for this season, complete with a giant bolt of lightning and passed from Johnson to Dailen Sutton during the contest. For a unit that struggled mightily last season, this is a great start to getting back on track, regardless of who may or may not be the defensive coordinator.
Lane Kiffin has resorted to live-tackling during practice this week in preparation for Air Force, something the second-year head coach of the Owls doesn’t typically do during the season. After getting drubbed 63-14 by Oklahoma to start the season, Kiffin said it was “as bad of a film as you could put out there.” He refused to blame any of their struggles on adjusting to two new coordinators.
Army West Point:
The Army football team signed its newest recruit yesterday, as ten year old Gavin King pledged his commitment and broke down the huddle after practice. King became an adopted member of the Black Knights through Team Impact and appears to have made quite the impression on his new teammates:
My parents blessed me with two brothers. Football gave me a hundred more. Then life brought me a third yesterday and I couldn’t be more happy. Welcome to the brotherhood Gavin. ❤️ https://t.co/Kct12s3vFo— Christian Hayes (@JeLui96) September 5, 2018
Head coach Jeff Monken “got off on a tangent” during his weekly press conference on Tuesday in regards to the new changes to the cut blocking rule in college football. Monken indicated that their are a lot of coaches around the FBS that would like to see his offense eliminated all together.
He had this to say: “There’s a lot of people out there, I think trying to get rid of the blocking below the waist because they want to turn it into a big man’s game. And frankly I don’t think they want to face this offense I think they’d like to...eliminate this offense all together.”
He went on to say that there is no data to support the argument of increased injuries from blocking below the waist.
Maybe this is something we should look into here on AAE?
There is no rest for the weary this week as Navy traveled back from Hawaii, arriving at 0645 Monday morning and getting right to work catching up on preparation for a talented Memphis squad that was predicted to win the AAC West. With graduate transfer Brady White under center and Mike Norvell protege and wunderkind Kenny Dillingham 100% in sync in his new role as offensive coordinator, the Tigers will arrive in Annapolis ready to take on the preseason hype as they open conference play on Saturday.
Coach Niumatalolo reiterated that he did not feel like travel or fatigue was a factor in the game against Hawaii, and there would be no excuses for the Mids as they got back to practice yesterday following their travels to the Aloha State. He did indicate that there were some hiccups with shipping that resulted in them not having pads for practice on Tuesday which was another point for him to say that it doesn’t matter what’s happening with them. “Memphis doesn’t care...They are coming to pummel us on Saturday.” Here’s to hoping the pads arrive today and that everything gets as back to normal as possible for Navy the rest of the week.
The Midshipmen may want to forget the result on Saturday night, but they will long remember the trip that the team took by boat to Pearl Harbor and by the USS Arizona memorial which is currently closed. CBS Sports Network was on hand to capture the emotions and feeling and it was apparent that the Mids were in awe of the experience and understood the task and undertaking before them in just a few short years.
#NavyFootball visits Pearl Harbor via @CBSSportsNet: https://t.co/MvTDfm2vn4— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) September 5, 2018
Any question as to how much thought Memphis defense has given throughout the offseason to the triple option attack they will face this Saturday against Navy was put to bed as they indicated to the Memphis Daily News just how much they think about their division opponents:
“We work on (Navy) all the time. They’re that high-priority. We’ve got to beat this team for us to be successful in our division. So they’re always on our mind.”
As is nearly always the case, the coaching staff pointed out the need to just “do your job” and that it was impossible to replicate the speed and efficiency with which Navy runs their offense using the Tigers scout team.