Head Coach: Jeff Monken (24-26)
2017 Record: 10-3
Offensive Scheme: Triple Option
Defensive Scheme: 3-4 Base
Key Offensive Losses: QB Ahmad Bradshaw, WR Jermaine Adams, WR Jeff Ejekam, OL Bryce Holland, OL Joshua Boylan, OL Mike Houghton, OL Brett Toth
Key Defensive Losses: LB Alex Aukerman, DE John Voit
Riding The Wave Of Momentum
Army has only experienced a 10-win season twice in program history. The second of those times came in 2017 where the Black Knights closed out the season by edging Navy (14-13) to secure the Commander -In-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 1996. Two weeks later they defeated San Diego State (42-35), in the Armed Forces Bowl, for their second postseason win in as many years.
Army isn’t a program that is building momentum, it’s a program that is riding a wave of momentum. Head coach Jeff Monken took over the program in 2014 and won just six games in his first two seasons, losing eighteen. In the two years that followed the cadets from West Point, New York enjoyed eighteen wins to just eight losses.
|2017 Offensive Leaders|
|Ahmad Bradshaw||285||Ahmad Bradshaw||1,746||Kell Walker||111|
Finding a new quarterback and replacing four offensive linemen is at the forefront of keeping Army riding high. Ahmad Bradshaw was the heart and soul of the Black Knight offensive attack. He rushed for a service-academy-record 1,746 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, leaving a gaping hole to fill on the depth chart.
Juniors Kell Walker and Kelvin Hopkins, along with senior Luke Langdon are all competing to replace Bradshaw. Hopkins was the backup last season and Walker averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a slot back last year.
|2017 Offensive Stastics|
Army’s triple option offense gives them plenty of experience in the backfield. Even if Walker were to transition to the quarterback position the Black Knights would still have Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson in the stable. Woolfolk was the team’s second leading rusher in 2017 (812 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Davidson was fourth (627 yards, 5 touchdowns).
— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) December 23, 2017
Center Bryce Holland is lone returning starter from 2017 but he’ll most likely be joined upfront by guard Mike Johnson, who sat out last season due to an ACL injury. That will help the rebuilding project go a little smoother but there’s still three other holes that need to be filled.
|2018 Army Schedule|
|August 31||at Duke|
|September 22||at Oklahoma|
|September 29||at Buffalo|
|October 13||at San Jose State|
|October 20||Miami (OH)|
|October 27||at Eastern Michigan|
|November 3||Air Force|
|2017 Defensive Leaders|
|James Nachtigal||103||Alex Aukerman||7||Max Regan||2|
James Nachtigal returns as Army's highest-graded player pic.twitter.com/uxG8pnJVfS
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 9, 2018
The Black Knights are sitting better on defense than they are on offense in terms of returning talent. However, the few losses that they did incur are pretty huge. Linebacker Alex Aukerman was one of the top defensive playmakers and the leadership he and defensive end John Voit provided must be replaced immediately.
That said, Army is returning five of their top seven leading tacklers from last season. Linebackers James Nachtigal and Cole Christiansen will now take the reigns of leadership on the defensive side of the ball and power what should be a very solid front seven.
|2017 Defensive Stastics|
In the secondary, Army graduated safety Rhyan England who had been a four-year starter. Max Regan, who started five games last year when England was injured, is slated to take over for England and the secondary is returning six total players started at least five games last season.
Nick Schrage, and his 42.9-yard average, brought Army up from dead last in the FBS in punting to 46th nationally last season. He also had a key fake punt to seal the win against Buffalo.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 9, 2017
Should Walker take over at quarterback then Army will be looking for a new return man. That responsibility could fall on junior defensive back Glen Coates.