1. Coach Jeff Monken is in his first year at Army (from Georgia Southern), what, if any, differences have you seen in his style of running the triple-option attack from former coach Rich Ellerson's style?
I feel like Jeff Monken's style is more aggressive than Rich Ellerson's triple option attack. With Ellerson, Army tried to run reverses and some fancy option plays, whereas from what we've seen with Monken, they are going to attack you head on and try to out-physical you on the offensive line. Monken's off-season weight program resulted in over 1400 pounds being added to the offensive and defensive line, so he wants to come at you and push you around.
2. With a win against Buffalo and a loss against Stanford it is hard to tell how good the Black Knights are this year. What are the expectations for Army record-wise this season?
Against Buffalo, Army played 3 quarters of tough, physical football which led to a 30 point lead with about 10 minutes to go. And then Buffalo fought back and ended up 8 points shy of coming back. That defensive let down was a sign of concern leading up to the Stanford game. The defense did well against a very physical Cardinal offense but were eventually worn down, partially due to the offense not staying on the field for more than 10 plays, save 2 drives. Looking ahead to the schedule, I feel like Army has the talent to finish the season with 7 or 8 wins, but maybe missing out on Bowl Season due to 2 of those wins coming from an FCS opponent. Also, Navy is looking really good this year, so that game might keep Army out of the post-season.
3. Who is a player that Wake Forest has to watch out for on the offensive side of the football? Defensive?
On the offensive side of the ball, Army is loaded at running back with 3 seniors carrying the ball in Larry Dixon, Terry Baggett, and Tony Giovannelli. But the offense is entirely dependent on QB Angel Santiago and his ability to make good decisions with the ball. Against Buffalo he showed the ability to make key throws and keep drives alive, so Wake needs to account for him on every play. Defensively, Army has a stud in true sophomore CB in Josh Jenkins who is a great shut-down corner with terrific hands and a knack for jumping routes when he has safety help over the top. If Wake wants to throw the ball, they need to know where he is at all times.
4. What are your expectations from Army against Wake Forest?
I actually have spent the last 2 years at Bowling Green State University, previous home of one Dave Clawson, so I know what Army is facing this weekend. Clawson likes to play smart defense and run the ball, which fits into the style that Army likes to play. I feel like Wake has a better roster on paper, which is something Army will face in every game outside their games against Yale, Fordham, Air Force, and Navy. I feel like the first half will be a slugfest up front and the conditioning of both teams will come into play in the second half.
5. What ya got, the Deacs of the Black Knights?
When previewing Army's season, this game was a toss up for me. I feel that Army will be a tough team for schools to play this year and the 35-0 loss to Stanford wasn't indicative of how hard Army fought. However, I don't know if they can handle an ACC school for 4 quarters, regardless of where that team may rank in the conference. I think Army keeps it close but comes up short, 24-17.
Many thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read his work at Underdog Dynasty and you can follow him on Twitter @TheCTExperience.