Weekly passing blog: Monken explains why Army threw pass up 21 in fourth quarter

The play call was puzzling, considering the score and the time remaining.

Army led UTEP 35-14 with the ball at the Miners’ 45 and 5:30 left. Junior Luke Langdon, Army’s second-string quarterback, dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-8. ┬áCam Harrison, the primary receiver on the play, was covered. So, Langdon looked to his secondary receiver, slotback T.J. Wisham. The pass hit off Wisham’s hands near the right sideline and was intercepted by UTEP’s Kahani Harris for a pick six.

Why didn’t Army run the football and the clock? Coach Jeff Monken explained after his press conference Saturday.

“(UTEP) had moved the ball all the way down there (to Army’s 22 in the fourth quarter) and they were trying to throw the ball,” Monken said. “I’m not so delusional that I think we got athletes that are going to be able to cover those athletes all of the time. They start zinging and zapping and throwing the ball and scoring quick…You saw what happened, they put that onside kick team (after the pick six) out there if they get that thing, it’s a two-score game.
“I thought that if we could hit it (the pass) and make it 42-14, that was going to be it and we could put all of the young guys in and that was going to be the end of the game. It was just a route where we come in motion and they were running that safety across. We were in a squeeze set where Cam (Harrison) was real close and we just ran a switch route. Cam ran right into the play-side safety and the guy wasn’t even looking at him. He didn’t want to cover him. Cam helped him. Had he (avoided the safety) it would have been an underhand toss. It was going to be easy to score right there. And again, we wanted to finish it off.”

Maybe, Army was trying to get Langdon, who hadn’t thrown a pass this season, some game experience or it was trying to finish a positive passing day on a high note. The Black Knights entered the game a combined 4-for-18 for 36 yards in its first four games. Bradshaw’s three completions covered 80 yards.

Ahmad Bradshaw’s 42-yard pass to slotback Jordan Asberry, Army’s first passing touchdown of the season, eclipsed Army’s four-game total on one throw in the third quarter.

Army’s offense spent 30 percent of its practice snaps passing during its preparation for the UTEP game, Monken said on his weekly radio show. The practice seemed to help Bradshaw.

Army tried to catch UTEP sleeping on its first offensive snap. Bradshaw threw a ball down the right sideline to Asberry that was catchable. He would complete three out of his next four passes including a 14-yard pass to Jermaine Adams on 3rd-and-12 and a diving catch by Jeff Ejekam for 24 yards.

Bradshaw’s only other incompletion came on a perfect ball over the middle that slotback Kell Walker dropped.

 

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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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