The timeout

A little puzzling why Army coach Rich Ellerson would spend his final timeout with 35 seconds left and his team leading Western Kentucky 17-14.

Ellerson’s defense had just stopped Antonio Andrews for a 1-yard to Army 2. Have confidence in the defense to make another play and force Western Kentucky call its final timeout.

Hard to get inside Western Kentucky’s Bobby Petrino’s head. He’s probably playing for the win on the road. But, a stop on 2nd-and-goal, forces Petrino to make a decision.

Army’s best chance at winning the game was on defense. It was going to be very hard for the offense to drive the length of the field in 30 seconds or less. Make another play on defense and maybe Petrino decides to kick a field goal and play for overtime.

The timeout killed any momentum from the 1st-and-goal stop and gave Western Kentucky a few minutes to talk strategy. Spoke with Army senior rover and defensive captain Thomas Holloway after the game and he said the defense was ready for the 2nd-and-goal play without the timeout being called.

From Ellerson’s perspective, he said in the post-game press conference: ““I wanted that time left. They would have run that time off the clock, and we wouldn’t have had a chance to run a play. If I had two, I would have used them both.”

Antonio Andrews scored on a 2-yard run after the timeout to give Western Kentucky 21-17 lead with 32 seconds left.

The play, which Army chose to run, is another blog topic in itself. What was the thinking behind a design lateral to tackle Momo Kime? The Black Knights had to cover 76 yards in 27 seconds. Even if Western Kentucky was fooled on the lateral, how many yards would it have picked up? The clock would only stop with a first down. Made no sense. How about taking one shot downfield to freshman wide receiver Xavier Moss?

Finally, on the topic of timeouts, Army burns too many of them too early in halves. It’s been an issue during the Ellerson era.

Sometimes, the quarterback has to get the offense in another play if he sees something he doesn’t like in a defense’s alignment. At times, it’s not the quarterback’s fault because the play is coming in late or he has to go through the progression of reading sideline cards.

In general, the defense also has to get itself right in alignment on the field so Army can have its timeouts at the end of half to get the ball back.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter @salinterdonato

 

 

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