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Offline CoachDP

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Army Football
« on: November 20, 2018, 11:37:36 AM »
I've been watching Army football this season and came across this article on Coach Monken:

How did Army go from 2-10 to 10-3 in a 2-year span? Jeff Monken explains

By Zach Barnett - January 16, 2018

In eight seasons as a head coach, Jeff Monken has lived through two losing campaigns — his first two years at Army. Upon taking over a program that had one winning season between 1997 and his 2014 arrival, Monken went 4-8 in ’14 and 2-10 in ’15. Two years later, the Black Knights went 10-3, won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 1996 and beat a 10-win team in San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl. Of Army’s three losses, one came to Ohio State and the other two came by a combined seven points.

What changed? Well, nothing changed. That’s the entire point of the triple option attack. Everyone knows what’s coming, but the opponent is so disciplined, so sound and good at what it does you still can’t stop it.

To go from 2-10 to 10-3 in a 24-month span, Army didn’t change what it does, it just got better at doing it.

But how did they do that? How does Monken build his team? He explained how at the AFCA Convention last week in Charlotte.

Every Monken-led team starts with six key values:

1. Be the tougher team. “Being mentally tough means you handle success and you handle adversity,” he said. “If you’re mentally tough, you’re physically tough.”

2. Be the most fundamentally sound team. “We spend an enormous amount of time on blocking, tackling and taking care of the football,” he said.

3. Follow the seven commandments. Those seven commandments break down as follows:

A) Win the turnover margin. “Of the top 50 teams this year in FBS football in turnover margin, 44 of those were bowl-eligible teams,” Monken said. Monken said Army was No. 3 nationally in giveaways this season (they actually tied for second, with 10). Two years ago? Army gave the ball away 22 times, good for 80th nationally. Monken pointed out Army tossed six interceptions this season in 65 total pass attempts.

B) Run the ball and stop the run. Monken said that teams that run the ball for more yards than their opponent win 54.5 percent of the time, while teams that throw for more yards are only marginally better than a coin flip — 50.1 percent.

In 2015, Army’s rushing differential was plus-79.08 yards per game. For a team that throws the ball as little as possible, that number isn’t good enough to win. Two years later, that differential grew to plus-189.39. That’ll do.

Army head coach: "People ask if we're going to throw the ball more. We're trying to throw it less."

C) Win the kicking game. “Your winning percentage goes up when your field position after kickoffs is better than your opponent’s,” Monken said. The punt, he said, is the only play in which 40 yards of field position consistently change hands.

D) Win on third down. “For the top 50 third down conversion percentage defensive teams this year, 44 were bowl eligible,” Monken said. “On offense, 38 of those were bowl eligible.” In 2015, Army won 165 of a total of 321 third downs, good for 51.4 percent. Two years later, that percentage jumped to 57.3 (173-of-302).

E) Create big plays and limit negative yardage plays. Monken said 41 of the top 50 teams at tackling their opponents behind the line of scrimmage made bowl games, while 35 of the top 50 at limiting TFLs reached the postseason. Army cut its TFLs allowed in half from 2015 to ’17.

F) Win on the goal line. Army’s red zone touchdown percentage leaped from 64.5 percent in 2015 to a national-best 82.4 percent this fall. Defensively, Army cut that same number down from 62.8 percent to 55.9 percent, a difference of 40 spots nationally.

G) Eliminate foolish penalties and missed assignments. “We can control not lining up offsides, jumping in the neutral zone, having a false start, having 12 guys in the huddle or taking a delay of game. We control knowing our plays, knowing the calls, seeing the signals, we control all of that,” Monken said. “At West Point, those are things we’ve still got to coach.”

4. Play together. In the Army, this goes without saying.

5. Play with superior effort. You might think Monken takes it easier on his players, considering all they endure outside of football. (Part of every cadet’s summer regiment is sleeping in a sleeping back for two straight weeks, subsisting only on MREs.) You would be wrong. Incredibly wrong. “I try to make football practice the toughest part of their day,” Monken said.

6. Don’t flinch. In short, this means trusting in the team’s training and executing the plan.

“We find when we’ve fallen short it’s because we didn’t execute in one of these areas of the plan,” Monken said. “When we follow the plan, we win. It’s infallible.”



I've highlighted in red what I thought needed particular attention at the youth level:

Army didn’t change what it does, it just got better at doing it. This is why I advocate staying with the same scheme, season after season.  So you can hone and sharpen the axe, instead of having to get out the instruction book to figure out how to charge the batteries in your new battery-powered chain saw.  I'll already have chopped down the tree, while you're still learning where the electronic brake is located.

Be the tougher team. If you are tougher physically, then you are tougher mentally.  And vice versa.  This is our P.A.I.N! Program in full effect.

Be the most fundamentally sound team. This is who we are.  We don't look to out-innovate, or even innovate.  That's why no one ever asks me about our Double Wing.  Time spent on "innovation" is time away from fundamentals.  If you can block and tackle, it won't matter what you run, you will be successful.  If you can't block and tackle, it won't matter what you run, you won't be successful.

Win the turnover margin. This, along with P.A.I.N! are the two biggest reasons we win football games (at youth and high school).  The turnover margin is more important than scheme in youth ball, and simpler to implement.

Run the ball and stop the run. It's just amazing how many youth teams emphasize the passing game in their practice scheme, yet use it in less than 20% of the plays in the game and are less than 20% successful with it.

Win the kicking game. Especially at levels that have a "free kick" rule.  Take advantage of what the rules give you.  I remember us defeating the Virginia Beach Mustangs in the 2007 regionals.  We scored 3 TDs to their 2 TDs.  Yet we kicked our XPs (+2), while they ran theirs in (+1).  The result was a comfortable 24-14 win in game whose margin should have been razor-thin.  I also remember winning the 2006 conference title by 3 TDs in a game where we punted 6 times.  It's a huge advantage if you're willing to spend any time looking at it.

41 of the top 50 teams at tackling their opponents behind the line of scrimmage made bowl games. How many coaches emphasize playing on their opponent's side of the LOS?  We do.  As a matter of fact, we'll start our defensive line there.  When the offense can't even get a play executed, the defense learns how effective they can be if they can simply play ball on the opponent's side of the line.  Simplistic?  Yes.  Effective?  Absolutely.

Eliminate foolish penalties and missed assignments. You would be surprised at how many coaches consider that this falls under the title of "luck" or "what their players did" as opposed to understanding that these are coaching mistakes.

Play with superior effort. “I try to make football practice the toughest part of their day” Our players have no choice but to play with superior effort because we make practice the toughest part of their day.  Practice should be coached like it's the Super Bowl, instead of Game Day being coached like it's the Super Bowl.

“When we follow the plan, we win. It’s infallible.” Yep.

--Dave
« Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 11:40:39 AM by CoachDP »
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline ZACH

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 06:05:36 PM »
This a great write up Dave, great insight
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Offline CoachDavidP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 06:40:35 PM »
Great find Dave.  Thanks for sharing.  It is amazing how much of this seems like common sense, but its something I would probably benefit from reading at the beginning, middle and end of every season.
David (Fizzlife)

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Offline CoachCalande

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 07:04:20 PM »
This might sound painfully obvious....

Bad teams are bad at tackling and bad at blocking.
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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 10:09:51 PM »
It is amazing how much of this seems like common sense

I dunno.  It's not so common because most coaches I see and deal with manage to overlook these things.

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline CoachDP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2018, 10:19:59 AM »
This might sound painfully obvious....

Bad teams are bad at tackling and bad at blocking.

True.  And many of these are the ones complaining that, "We've just got to get better athletes!"  ::)

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
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Offline CoachCalande

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2018, 11:18:27 AM »
True.  And many of these are the ones complaining that, "We've just got to get better athletes!"  ::)

--Dave


We are lousy tacklers...34 missed tackles in our last game. The good news is that we did record TEN tackles for loss in that game. Several Sophs and a freshman missed 14 tackles between them....so there’s room to improve with experience.
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Go to WWW.COACHCALANDE.COM  for Double Wing DVDs, Playbook, Drills Manuals, Practice footage and emagazines. Ask me about our new 38 special dvds!

Offline CoachDP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2018, 11:47:39 AM »
34 missed tackles in our last game.

Steve, define "missed" and what do you attribute it to?

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline CoachCalande

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 12:28:13 PM »
Steve, define "missed" and what do you attribute it to?

--Dave

If the player is in position to make a tackle and does not...it’s a miss. Could be effort, athleticism, lack of fundamentals or back makes him miss ....to me, 34 times we SHOULD have made a tackle, sometimes several misses on a single play. Reaching and grabbing, whiffs....getting trucked or hurdled or stiff armed or giving up a cutback.,,,etc.

Lack of experience does play into it....we currently start four guys who are Sophs and are in their second season of football EVER.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 12:30:09 PM by CoachCalande »
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Offline Vince148

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 02:59:00 PM »
Great!

Offline CoachDP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2018, 10:45:59 AM »
If the player is in position to make a tackle and does not...it’s a miss. Could be effort, athleticism, lack of fundamentals or back makes him miss ....to me, 34 times we SHOULD have made a tackle, sometimes several misses on a single play. Reaching and grabbing, whiffs....getting trucked or hurdled or stiff armed or giving up a cutback.,,,etc.

Lack of experience does play into it....we currently start four guys who are Sophs and are in their second season of football EVER.

I didn't know if you were referring to a "whiff" (complete miss, no contact), or a broken tackle (contact made, but ball-carrier shakes him off).

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline CoachCalande

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2018, 11:11:05 AM »
We really struggle with shifty athletes who cut and double cut against flow, we over pursue a lot.....a lot....
MOJO    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtcRmKnRcsA

Go to WWW.COACHCALANDE.COM  for Double Wing DVDs, Playbook, Drills Manuals, Practice footage and emagazines. Ask me about our new 38 special dvds!

Offline lunchbox

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2018, 09:12:02 AM »
Nice write up. Thanks DP. If thats not the whole article could you link it please?

Offline CoachDP

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2018, 10:07:42 AM »
Tim, that is the entire article.  :)

—Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Army Football
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2018, 10:53:59 AM »
This might sound painfully obvious....

Bad teams are bad at tackling and bad at blocking.

Exactly, but the thing is that those bad teams don't want to be bad at tackling and bad at blocking.

They just usually don't know how to teach, rep, or fix it.

When they try to scheme around the idea that they're just going to be bad at tackling and bad at blocking, that's when they go from "bad" to "embarrassing."