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Previewing 2009 Air Force Opponents: Army Black Knights

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Previewing 2009 Air Force Opponents: Army Black Knights
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

This is round two in the Commander-in-Chief trophy for Air Force, and the way Navy has dominated Air Force, the Falcons have done the same to the Army, with with an 18-2 record over the past twenty years.

Another fun fact is that the last time Army won two games in a row was in 1977 and 1978.

The Black Knights have not had recent success, and in 2009 they bring in a new coach, Rich Ellerson, who comes from Cal Poly from the FCS level.

The one thing that Army has going for them is that according to football czar Phil Steele, the Black Knights will be the eight most experienced team. Experience will lead to success, so we will see how much Army will improve off its three win 2008 campaign.

While at Cal Poly, Ellerson put up a record of 56-34, which included two trips to the playoffs, and seven winning seasons.

Coach Ellerson looks to be a good fit because at Cal Poly his team was a running team and averaged over 300 yards per game.

This might be able to translate to West Point, because Army is traditionally a running team, which makes Rich Ellerson a good coach for the Black Knights.

If you get a chance, check out his bio, but be sure to take a nap beforehand, because it is lengthy.

Looking at the Army depth chart there are ten spots that list the OR next to a position.

The biggest loss comes for the running back, as the Black Knights need to replace Collin Mooney who had just over 1,300 yards.

The biggest battle comes at quarterback between Chip Bowden and Carson Williams and below is their stats along with the other top returnees

Passing Com% YPG TD INT
Chip Bowden 43.1 25.64 2 3
Carson Williams 49.1 39 1 3
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Patrick Mealy 18 97 5.4 2
Chip Bowden 194 572 2.9 1
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Jameson Carter 11 157 14.2 0
Damion Hunter 11 134 12.2 1

The edge may go to Williams because he has the better arm, and in 2007 passed for 1,770 yards, but the answer will not be presented until fall camp.

So far this offseason, the Black Knights have been noticed for moving Ali Villanueva 6-10 and 283 pound offensive line to wide receiver.

The height-to-weight ratio is not common for offensive linemen, which makes him athletic enough to play wide out without having his weight be an issue.

While this move may be a head scratcher, but while at Cal Poly Ellerson had a wide out in Ramses Barden who was 6'6". Coach Ellerson hopes to catch lightning twice with Villanueva a turn him into a playmaker as a receiver.

The offense will need all the help it can get, because it must improve of its 117th rate scoring offense that put up a paltry 14.8 points per game.

The defense for the Black Knights is not pretty. Last year the defense was just above the middle of the pack, with Army being ranked 51st in points allowed at 23.7 per game.

As mentioned above, this Army team has experienced players and on this defense Army has only one sophomore listed as a started, plus another is listed as a probable starter.

Well what does this mean?

Army hopes to improve off of its turnover margin (which was a minus 14 or 1.17 per game). That puts Army at 116th in the country, with the worst teams in college football, which Army was last year.

The Black Knights can only hope that experience will win out on this team for improvement, but experience may not always welcome success.

Just because a player has experience does not mean he is good, and Army could really just have a bunch of experienced bad players on their team.

Success will not be immediate for Army, but the team's schedule is not that tough and a jump to a five-win season is not out of the question for Army in 2009.

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