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Army vs. Hawai’i: A Clash of Offensive Styles

Posted By Donald Lappe On Sep 7 2010 @ 5:35 pm In Army | No Comments

When and Where: 12 p.m. Saturday at Michie Stadium.

Series History: Hawai’i won the only meeting between the two schools, beating Army 59-28 in 2003.

Last Week: Hawai’i (0-1) lost 49-36 against USC. Army (1-0) defeated Eastern Michigan 31-27.

Matchup: Two very different styles of play offensively. Hawai’i used three different quarterbacks while racking up 588 yards total against USC last week. The Warriors threw for 459 yards. Army will keep the ball on the ground with their triple option attack and look to chew the clock. The Black Knights rushed for 308 yards against Eastern Michigan last Saturday. A key factor in the game will be the health of Hawai’i quarterback Bryant Moniz. Moniz left the game against USC with an apparent head injury, but judging by Rich Ellerson’s weekly press conference he is preparing as though Moniz will take the field against the Black Knights Saturday. Ellerson also spoke about the defensive scheme’s ability to adjust to different offenses, and that will certainly be necessary this week.

Player to Watch: FB Jared Hassin. Hassin was my player to watch last week and he delivered with three rushing touchdowns including the score that gave Army the lead for good against Eastern Michigan. Hassin was awarded the rivals.com Independent Player of the Week Award for his performance in his first collegiate game. Against a team like Hawai’i that can score fast and often it is important to control the pace of the game while also being productive with offensive possessions. Hassin is key here because effective inside running will open up the rest of the Army offense as it did last week.

Potential X-Factor: WR Kealoha Pilares. Slot receiver Kealoha Pilares caught five passes and racked up a career-high 176 yards receiving and scoring three touchdowns against the Trojans in week one. Pilares put his speed on display as he consistently beat the USC defensive backs. With much of the defensive attention focused on All-American Greg Salas, Pilares will have opportunities to make more big plays this Saturday.

Prediction: There will be an old school vs. new school feel to this game. Look for Army to chew the clock on offense while Hawai’i tries to strike quickly when it has the ball. It will be important for Army to keep Hawai’i off the board early because the Warriors have the ability to pile up points quickly and Army’s offense is not built to come back from multiple-score deficits. The Hawai’i defense did miss a good amount of tackles last week and if they are undisciplined in their assignments the Black Knights could hurt them on the ground. In the end I think the pure speed of Hawai’i will be too much for the Army defense. They will keep the game competitive though, despite the difference in speed. Rich Ellerson had a great quote in his weekly press conference about the resiliency Army showed last week:

“In terms of the team’s personality; their emotional resilience and the ability to hold onto their belief does not surprise me at all. I think that started last year, and it carried over to this bunch, and I would have been shocked and disappointed if that wasn’t the case. I knew they had that resilience and presence, and I knew they would fight through some adversity. We’re going to be in a fight like that every week, and if we don’t think so, we’ll get our hearts broken. But, I think our guys love that about themselves, and they like that about their teammates. We’ll always wish we were faster and stronger and smarter, but we’re not going to take a backseat to anyone in terms of competitiveness and resilience.”

Army will not back down in this game, but it will be a very tough matchup physically. Hawai’i 38, Army 21

The rest of the press conference can be found here.

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