As part of ArmySports.com's continuing preview of the 2008 Army football season today we'll take a…
Key Matchups: Army vs. Temple
The first game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 128, 2007 3-9) and the Mid-American Conference East Temple Owls (Sagarin 151, 2007, 4-8.) The Cadets lead the all time series 4-1 and won last years meeting 37-21, in a game where Army made several big plays on defense and special teams. This is a significant game, simply because one of these bottom ranked teams will start the year 1-0 and will be on a path to match their pre-season expectations.
Off Season Developments
Army – The calls from the alumni for the wishbone have been answered. Army will unveil the Tim Walsh option oriented offense. In the practices that we have observed – this offense will start with a fullback and two tailbacks, however it will be much more pass oriented than the Sutton era wishbone. A more appropriate name for this offense would be a flex-bone. This offense will present problems for most defenses simply because they will not see anything similar through the course of the season. The offense has looked good in the pre-season scrimmages. Carson Williams will be the starter, but freshman Paul Macintosh will bring more athleticism to the position if necessary.
Army lost their defensive backfield, which was the strength of last year's defense. Army's defensive line, lead by Ted Bentler is good and will actually create a pass rush this year. Frank Scappaticci is the returning middle linebacker and he is really good. If the offense can help the defense by simply holding on to the ball for 30 minutes a game, they should perform fairly well.
Army lost kick returner Jeremy Trimble and punter Owen Tolson. A mediocre team heavily relied on those two last year to keep them in games and in the instance of the Temple game – were the difference.
Temple – There is a lot of optimism around this program as the Owls won three games in a row towards the end of the season and were actually contending for a bowl game. They return all of their defensive starters from last year's MAC leading team. They also return Adam DiMichele at quarterback. He is a good athletic quarterback, who can make plays. Their offensive line is mediocre and they have little depth in their wide receiver corps.
Who is favored?
Temple is favored by 7 points.
What to look for?
This is a new look offense and we expect Army to open the offense up early and try to keep the linebackers off the line of scrimmage. The strength of this offense will be Carson Williams and his arm. Expect Army to try to keep Temple off balance and use a mix of pass and rush. Army would like nothing better than to be ahead by more than a touchdown and give the ball to the full back in the fourth quarter.
Look for Temple stack the line on defense and force Army to throw – this should be a key to the game. Army's defense and Temple's offense are big question marks. Look for Temple to spread the offense and allow Adam DiMichele to run the ball.
I think that this is going to be an interesting game. I can't figure out why the home team Army is a 7 point dog.
Final Score – Army 24 – Temple 20
Game will be televised on ESPN Classic 7:00PM EST.
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