Army struggled through 2015 en route to a 2-10 record and that was highlighted by a season-opening loss to Fordham. With more health, the Black Knights should be able to double that win total or better. They have plenty of returning talent, it’ll just be about putting it together and beating the weak teams on the Schedule.
Army used three different quarterbacks last year due to injury. Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Carter return to the mix and both could be dueling throughout the season for the starting gig. Bradshaw played the most last year and was the more dynamic runner, going for 468 yards and five TDs, but Carter was by far more effective as a passer. Of course, Carter only appeared in two Games, but he completed a couple deep balls that Bradshaw never really did.
The backfield will be a mix of guys starting with Aaron Kemper (544 yards, 3 TDs), Jordan Asberry, Christian Drake and converted linebacker Andy Davidson. They had a ridiculous five backs with at least 200 rushing yards a year ago. Receiver isn’t a huge deal in the triple-option, but Edgar Poe (16 receptions, 441 yards, 6 TDs) is back and his size can give defenses all kinds of trouble.
However, the offensive line did lose talent across the board. A positive is that three different guys have some kind of starting experience. Bettering last year’s running attack will be at the top of the list.
Defensively, Army wasn’t terrible last year, but they weren’t good either, ultimately struggling because the offense couldn’t move the ball enough.
A linebacking core with loads of returning experience leads the defense. Starting on the inside, last year’s leading tacklers Jeremy Timph and Andrew King are both seniors, while Alex Aukerman and Kenneth Brinson are effective on the outside. Ends John Volt and Jordan Smith are also returning starting seniors. The secondary gets back a couple players that were out last year, so that should boost the group and give them some depth to go with two returning safeties.
Due to Schedule, a bowl Game isn’t completely off the table for Jeff Monken in his third season as head coach. They played in numerous close Games last year and turning a few of those into wins would see them compete for six total wins. But to get there, that may require wins against teams such as Rice, UTEP and Buffalo. At the least, meetings against LAfayette, North Texas and Morgan State are all favorable. OUtside of Notre Dame and maybe Temple, all of the Games on Army’s Schedule are winnable. Granted, that doesn’t mean it’ll happen.
Either way, the Black Knights have a lot of returning players and competed in most Games last year. Their over/under at 5 Dimes Sportsbook in mid-June was sitting at 6 wins, but the under an incredible -350. As long as the quarterbacks stay healthy and Army can find some consistency along the line, those six wins won’t be all that far-fetched, given a favorable Schedule.
2016 Army Black Knights Football Schedule
Sept. 2 at Temple
Sept. 10 vs. Rice
Sept. 17 at UTEP
Sept. 24 at Buffalo
Oct. 8 at Duke
Oct. 15 vs. LAfayette
Oct. 22 vs. North Texas
Oct. 29 at Wake Forest
Nov. 5 vs. Air Force
Nov. 12 vs. Notre Dame (Alamodome)
Nov. 19 vs. Morgan State
Dec. 10 vs. Navy (M&T Bank Stadium)