In my mind, Army’s biggest problem is Temple.
About a month ago, I thought Army had problems.
Yesterday gave me some perspective in the form an unrestrained pit bull.
I got bit minding my own business on my walk in the park in Huntingdon Valley on an otherwise great Tuesday afternoon. Said a friendly hello to a stranger who looks like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski and the next thing I know is that the dog that should have been on a short leash was on a longer one and my right arm was spouting blood. Just got back from Holy Redeemer Hospital and eschewed the five rabies shots offered me. If I start frothing at the mouth on Friday night, it won’t be because of Temple’s vanilla play-calling as so beautifully chronicled by Fizzy in this January post.
That just goes to show you how problems change in a month. I will take Army’s over mine right now because the Army looked like it had major problems a month ago.
Their leading rusher, Aaron Kemper, and one of their bigger playmakers on defense, cornerback Josh Jenkins, have left the team between spring and summer camp. Additionally, a fullback and a slot back as well as a starting lineman, all of whom were expected to contribute, have departed, meaning the Black Knights have lost five potential starters since May. Army only returns about a dozen seniors to a team that only had one FBS win last year.
Add Army’s starting QB from last season — Ahmad Bradshaw — to the list of key players that have left the team. The next guy up, Chris Carter, is a sophomore who started two games last year. He has not practiced since the first day due to a hamstring injury. Behind Carter are four freshmen. If you don’t think that’s a problem against this speedy Temple defense, you have not been paying attention.
Let’s go with the most important player, Bradshaw, first. He’s not only back, but head coach Jeff Monken has said all is forgiven and he will be the starter for the Cadets on Friday night (Lincoln Financial Field, 7 p.m., 2 p.m. tailgate).
Well, that changes a lot of things because Carter is the quarterback who brought Army to within four points of an upset over a team all of us respect, Navy, and its great head coach Ken Niumatalolo and Monken figures Bradshaw is the better player. Still, only 16 seniors on a roster of 142 players has to mean something. Jenkins is also gone, but does that mean new Temple offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas will use play-action passes to suck in the linebackers and safeties and go over the top to people like Marshall Ellick to attack the new guy replacing him?
Hell, yes, I hope so.
Or I will be frothing at the mouth. If the score is 0-0 and I’m frothing, call the EMTs.
Friday: Depth Chart Thoughts