What’s the saying…
“Hater’s gonna hate?”
We get it. After Army football went 11-2 last season, earned the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy (again), won its third-straight rivalry game against Navy and third consecutive bowl win, and finished the season ranked 19th in the Associated Press poll - 2018 was the year for Army football. In fact, it was the best season performance for the team since 1958.
So why would Army stop now when the team is on a high? 2019 is only going to be a continuation of last year’s success.
Here is why:
Many could credit the simplicity of the Black Knights play-calling as their potential downfall; but for Army fans, this just means Coach Monken *gasp* actually knows what he’s doing. We would call that efficiency.
In fact, because of Army’s simplicity in their scheme, it allows them to plug and play various fullbacks, slotbacks, and receivers. Having experienced offensive lineman is a plus and as long as there’s a reasonably athletic and decisive quarterback at the helm (not much to ask from a future Army officer), then Army should have no issue shoving the ball down the opponents throats at will.
It hearkens back to a system and mindset not unlike that of legendary former Green Bay Packers (and former Army!) head coach, Vince Lombardi. Lombardi embraced a mentality of “perfect practice makes perfect” and instead of attacking an opponents’ weakness, he would attack their strengths just to further demoralize them. You knew what was coming with Lombardi, and you couldn’t stop it anyway.
That’s the philosophy that not only Jeff Monken has adopted, but his players have embraced. It doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup or who the lining up on the other side. Army is going to stick to their game plan and march along to victory.
Monken has transformed this team since arriving at West Point in 2013, rebuilding this program from the bottom up and what you’re seeing are the fruits of his labor. Army football has been known to go for it on the fourth down. So much so that Army is ranked first in the country for fourth and third-down conversions; boasting an 86 percent it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.conversion rate, that’s 31 of 36 conversions exactly for you math whizzes--it’s definitely something to brag about. Some call it simple, but it’s a winning strategy that records tell us thus far if conversion rate. That’s 31 out of 36 times for you math whizzes. Sure people know it’s coming, but they can’t stop it.
And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Some would argue that complacency will creep in and derail Army’s season in 2019. At a glance, that criticism seems to come from folks who’ve enjoyed 15 years success (looking at you Navy) and are now getting a taste of their own medicine. No, this 2019 Army team very much has a chip on its shoulder. They have plenty of critics and naysayers about how they won’t be able to top the success of 2018. If anything, that’s just fuel for the fire to prove them all wrong. Furthermore, if you’ve ever heard the privilege of hearing head coach Jeff Monken speak, you’d know he’s a man that doesn’t tolerate complacency.
The Black Knights aren’t overlooking anyone in 2019. They’re taking it one game at a time, which is how the best teams approach their seasons to achieve success.
While Army lost some big-name seniors in the likes of Darnell Woolfolk, Jordan Asberry, and others; we still have a squad full of depth and a quarterback who led the Black Knights in rushing yards (1,017) and touchdowns (17). Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has continued to make a name for himself after capping 2018 with more than 1,000 yards in a season, more than any Army QB since 2007. His skill puts Army fans in a position to add them to the national conversation. When will Air Force and Navy be able to do the same?
Army still has a host of seniors on the depth chart like Cole Christiansen who, Kell Walker, Jaylon McClinton, and Elijah Riley.
The Black Knights schedule sets them up nicely for another well-performing season and another sure-fire victory to keep the CIC trophy back on the Hudson. Sure, playing Michigan in The Big House is arguably the most exciting game on this year’s ballet aside from rivalry games against Navy and Air Force, but after heading to the Midwest in week 2, it’s smooth sailing until the end of the fall and you can bet another double-digit victory coming from America’s team at the end of 2019.