Pregame blog: Stanford

Asked Army coach Jeff Monken earlier in the week how he picks his travel roster.

Monken told me he takes 70 players, who give Army the best chance to win and he takes a scout team player of the week on offense and defense.

Army has 21 players, who hail from the state of California.

The Black Knights brought nine of those players on the trip to Stanford – senior quarterback Angel Santiago, sophomore cornerback Josh Jenkins, senior safety Hayden Pierce, junior cornerback Chris Carnegie, tackle Todd McDonald, guard Lofi Tamasese; senior defensive end Bobby Kough; tackle Corey Hobbs and junior wide receiver Mike Parros.

Pierce, who didn’t practice earlier in the week, participated in Thursday’s practice. The four-year starter is expected to play.

Army brought three quarterbacks – Santiago, junior A.J. Schurr and freshman Ahmad Bradshaw.

The Black Knights will dress 11 freshmen: Bradshaw, linebacker Alex Aukerman, linebacker Scott Washle; tackle Mike Houghton; defensive end Andrew McLean; linebacker John Voit; center Bryce Holland; guard Jaryn Villegas; tackle Trey Ratliff; tackle Brett Toth and wide receiver John Trainor.

Sophomore running back Joe Walker, who missed Army’s season opener last week, is dressing today. Junior cornerback Jared Rogers will miss his second straight game due to injury.

If you have the Pac-12 Network, you can follow me on Twitter @salinterdonato or check here on the Black Knight Blog for live updates.

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Prediction time: Stanford

Army is a 28-point road underdog for Saturday’s game at No. 15 Stanford.

Kickoff is 5 p.m. EST.

Army was a 30-point home underdog in last year’s game. The Black Knights trailed by seven at halftime and lost 31-17. Of note, Army did score a touchdown in the final moments of the game to make it closer.

Some trends working against Army: Army has not defeated a ranked team since Air Force in 1972. Stanford has won 11 straight games over non-conference opponents.

Stanford committed eight penalties and lost two fumbles in a 13-10 loss to USC last week. Are the Cardinal capable of playing a sloppy game two weeks in a row?

Army’s offense is coming off a 341-yard, seven-touchdown rushing performance against Buffalo in its opener. Stanford has allowed one touchdown (rushing) in its first two games.

Stanford piled up 413 total yards but scored just one touchdown against USC.

Army’s defense allowed 22 points and 208 yards in the fourth quarter last week.

Sal Interdonato (Times Herald-Record Army football beat writer: Stanford 38, Army 21. Army will have to play near perfect to be competitive. Stanford is 7-0 following a loss under David Shaw. The Cardinal are just too talented to have a second straight off game.
Will Montgomery (Times Herald-Record sports reporter): Stanford 49, Army 14

Predictions from around the college football universe
Kevin Gemmell, Ted Miller, Chantel Jennings, Kyle Bonagura ( Stanford
Jon Wilner (San Jose Mercury Times): Army +27.5
Dennis Dodd, Jon Solomon, Jerry Palm, Tom Fornelli, Jerry Hinnan ( Stanford – 30.5
Jeremy Fowler, Chip Patterson ( Army + 30.5
Berry Tramel (The Oklahoman): Stanford 38, Army 10
Brian Pedersen (Bleacher Report): Stanford 38, Army 19
Michael Peterson (Stanford Daily): Stanford 51, Army 10
Ashley Westhem (Stanford Daily): Stanford 45, Army 13
Vihan Lakshman (Stanford Daily): Stanford 34, Army 7
George Chen (Stanford Daily): Stanford 41, Army 10
Do-Hyoung Park (Stanford Daily): Stanford 48, Army 14



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Who played on defense: Buffalo

Cornerbacks Josh Jenkins and Chris Carnegie were the only Army defenders to play all 79 snaps.

Junior T.J. Atimalala got the start at nose guard but senior Richard Glover played more snaps (51-28).

Four freshmen saw action – linebacker Scott Washle (12 snaps); defensive end Andrew McLean (4); linebacker John Voit (3) and linebacker Alex Aukerman (2).

Here’s my unofficial breakdown of participation for Army’s defense:

*CB Chris Carnegie 79 snaps (6 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup)
*CB Josh Jenkins 79 snaps (7 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 pass breakup)
*S Geoff Bacon 77 snaps (5 tackles)
*LB Steve Ricciardi 75 snaps (4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss)
*LB James Kelly 69 snaps (3 tackles)
*MLB Andrew King 67 snaps (7 tackles, 1 pass breakup)
*ILB Jeremy Timpf 64 snaps (11 tackles, 1 for loss)
*DE Joe Drummond 60 snaps (2 tackles, 1 for loss
*DE Mike Ugenyi 58 snaps (3 tackles, 1 for loss)
*S Hayden Pierce 57 snaps (6 tackles)
NG Richard Glover 51 snaps (1 tackle)
*NG T.J. Atimalala 28 snaps (1 tackle)
S Steven Johnson 26 snaps (2 tackles, pass breakup)
DE Bobby Kough 21 snaps (1 tackle)
DE Ryan Alexander 18 snaps (0 tackles)
LB Justin Fahn 13 snaps (1 tackle)
LB Scott Washle 12 snaps (1 tackle)
DE Andrew McLean 4 snaps (0 tackles)
S Luke Proulx 4 snaps (1 tackle)
LB John Voit 3 snaps (0 tackles)
LB Alex Aukerman 2 snaps (0 tackles)

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

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Who played on offense: Buffalo

Army’s offense ran 61 snaps in a 47-39 win over Buffalo.

Thirty two of those snaps were from under center, 29 from the shotgun.

Senior offensive lineman Todd McDonald was the only Army player on offense to take all 61 snaps. McDonald started at right tackle and played 59 snaps. He also had two snaps as the second-string center.

Junior center Matt Hugenberg didn’t have one of his 59 snaps hit the turf. Hugenberg was playing his first college game at center.

Junior tight end Kelvin White played more snaps (54) than any Army wide receiver.

Sophomore Xavier Moss, Army’s leading receiver last season, did not have a pass thrown his way.

Left tackle Brett Toth was the only freshman to see action on offense, playing two snaps.

Here’s my unofficial breakdown of participation for Army’s offense:
*RT-C Todd McDonald (61 plays)
*C Matt Hugenberg (59 plays)
*QB Angel Santiago (58 plays, 12 carries, 29 yards, 1 TD, 6-for-6, 96 yards, 2 fumbles lost)
*LT Drew Hennessy (55 plays)
*RB Tony Giovannelli (55 plays, 3 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, 12 yards)
*RG Stefan Moreau (54 plays)
TE Kelvin White (54 snaps, 3 targets, 3 catches, 15 yards)
*LG Steve Shumaker (44 plays)
*FB Larry Dixon (40 plays, 20 carries, 174 yards, 2 TD)
*RB Terry Baggett (36 plays, 6 carries, 74 yards, 1 TD)
*WR Xavier Moss (31 plays, 0 targets)
RB Raymond Maples (30 plays, 6 carries, 19, yards, 1 TD, 2 targets, 2 catches, 69 yards)
*WR Edgar Poe (30 plays, 1 target, 1 catch,29 yards)
LG Lofi Tamasese (27 snaps)
FB Matt Giachinta (21 snaps, 7 carries, 15 yards, 1 TD)
WR Chevaughn Lawrence (6 snaps, 0 targets)
T Corey Hobbs (5 snaps)
QB A.J. Schurr (3 snaps, 1-for-1, 29 yards)
LT Brett Toth (2 snaps)
TE Eddy Ruzga (1 snap)

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VIDEO: Raymond Maples

Raymond Maples was one of the last players to leave practice Tuesday.

Maples was assigned extra conditioning work. Running backs coach Lamont Seward was pushing Maples every yard.

One of the top running backs in academy history has started anew this season after missing most of 2013 season with a groin injury.

Last Saturday, Maples was back where he belonged.

Maples, a two-time, 1,000-yard rusher, scored his first rushing touchdown since 2012 and had 88 all-purpose yards in a 47-39 win over Buffalo.

Maples’ 2013 season was shortened to three games when he went down against Stanford at Michie Stadium last September.

Maples, who ranks sixth in all-time rushing yards in academy history, was granted a fifth-year of eligibility.

Now, Maples has one more shot at Stanford Saturday.

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Inside the numbers: Penalties

Most of us in Hoffman Press Box couldn’t believe the score of Saturday’s Army-Buffalo game under the circumstances.

Army had committed 12 penalties and was still leading Buffalo by 30 points (47-17) with 11 minutes left in the game. The Black Knights held on to a 47-39 win.

The last time Army committed 10 or more penalties and won was its 2009 season opener against Eastern Michigan. The Black Knights were whistled 11 times in a 27-14 victory on Sept. 5, 2009.

The stat wasn’t easy to find considering Army is one of nation’s least penalized team year in and year out.

Since I’ve been on the beat in 2007, the most penalties Army has committed in a game was 14 against Temple on Oct. 17, 2009. Something was fishy with the MAC officiating that Saturday in Philadelphia. Army was called for eight penalties in the first quarter, four offside infractions – two by sack specialist Josh McNary. I think then Temple coach Al Golden briefed the officials on McNary prior to the game. McNary, who is now a linebacker for the Colts, still set an academy single-game record with four sacks.

Back to present day Army football, here’s what coach Jeff Monken had to say about the penalties after his Tuesday press conference:

“It disappoints me but it doesn’t surprise me. They are no different than any other college football players in that regard. Sometimes, they make mistakes and sometimes, they screw it up. Some of those penalties… Josh Jenkins had the one late where he tossed the guy out of bounds. You just have to hold off. You got to be smart enough to hold off.

“(Geoff) Bacon retaliated. I was most disappointed in that one out of all the 15-yard penalties. (Linebacker) Andrew King, hands to the face. He’s trying play a block. The kid came out on him. He used his hands to play the block. He got up under there and kind of knocked the kid’s helmet back and he got a 15-yard hands to the face. It’s an aggressive penalty. I’d like for him to strike his hands lower. He’s taught to do that, not in the face. But sometimes, they get up there.  At least he was playing physical. The lining up in the wrong formation and jumping offside and the procedure penalties, those are disappointing. Those can be corrected. T.J. Atimalala playing nose, he’s the one who jumped. He’s trying to make a play. He’s trying to get off on that snap count and be aggressive but he’s got to play his man on cue and he’s got to play the ball. He’s lined up right in front of the ball. He shouldn’t jump offside there. We can correct it. We have guys who are lined up in their stance and they start to lean before the ball is snapped and they are going to get you.

“You got to be disciplined enough to hold that line. Again, they are wanting to make a play. It’s not one of those things they are just not trying or are real lackadiasical about it. They are disappointed when they screw it up.”

On Bacon throwing a punch at a Buffalo offensive lineman: “We talk about it all of the time. I don’t tolerate fighting ever, at all, any time in the program. Not on the practice  field not on the game field. Fighting is not tolerated. It is not part of the game. All it does is get your team hurt. I’ve told him that. He knows that. It’s just one of those things where the guy gave him a shove or did something to him and he retaliates back and it’s always the guy that retaliates that gets caught. I tell him the best thing to do is walk away as much as your own self pride might get hurt. What does it help to punch the guy and get a 15-yard penalty? Your self pride is even further in the tank. I tell him is takes more of a man to work away from it and help his teammate than it does to retaliate and get 15 yards. He’ll learn.”

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

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September 9 practice blog

Army may be without one of its most experienced defensive players at No. 15 Stanford Saturday.

Senior safety Hayden Pierce watched practice with his right arm in a sling.

The status of Pierce, who has started 24 games in his career, may not be determined until Thursday. Army coach Jeff Monken said Pierce, “probably wouldn’t practice Wednesday.”

If Pierce practices Thursday, he’ll play against Stanford, Monken said. If he doesn’t, sophomore Steven Johnson will get his first college start.

Johnson’s toughness impressed Monken in Army’s 47-39 win over Buffalo last Saturday. Johnson was Army’s fifth defensive back until he left the game with a quadriceps contusion. After Pierce was hurt in the second half, Johnson returned to the field, playing through the injury.

Senior Tunde Akinniyi also saw some action at strong safety and laid a big hit on fullback Larry Dixon near the sideline.

Holloway return: It’s been a long road back to field for senior linebacker Julian Holloway. Holloway broke his leg at Air Force last November. He has not been cleared to practice until Tuesday. Holloway was wearing a blue (limited) jersey and participated in group work with the linebackers.

“Today was the first day that he’s ever practice with us since I’ve been here,” Monken said. “So, we’ll see. He’s been injured..I’m not counting on anything. I want to see (how he does) first.”

Holloway started four games at middle linebacker and made 42 tackles. He has moved to outside linebacker.

Rhoden update: Monken said sophomore fullback PaulAndrew Rhoden’s season is over after suffering an left knee injury while covering a kickoff Saturday. Rhoden had knee surgery Tuesday.

Sights and sounds: Monken gave junior Dan Grochowski a high five after the kicker made a 50-yard field goal. The field goal got the team out of up-downs after an offensive-defensive period…Sophomore running back Joe Walker practiced fully after missing the season opener due to injury. Walker laid a punishing block on the outside on a run by Raymond Maples. Senior fullback Larry Dixon was wearing the only player at practice wearing a Ranger jersey. In the past, players have worn Ranger jerseys for their effort in the previous game. Dixon had 174 yards and two touchdowns in Army’s season-opening win over Buffalo.

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

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Stanford week: Jeff Monken Tuesday presser

Here’s video of Army coach Jeff Monken’s opening comments heading into his team’s game at No. 16 Stanford Saturday:

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Depth chart: Stanford

Here’s Army’s official depth chart for its road game against No. 16 Stanford Saturday:

No real changes from last week.

A couple of notes: Sophomore RB Joe Walker and junior CB Jared Rogers did not dress for Buffalo game due to injury. Unsure of their status for Saturday.

QB: Angel Santiago, Sr.; A.J. Schurr, Jr.
FB: Larry Dixon, Sr.; Matt Giachinta, Jr.
RB: Terry Baggett, Sr.; Raymond Maples, Sr.; Trenton Turrentine, Sr.
RB: Tony Giovannelli, Sr.; Joe Walker, Soph.
WR: Xavier Moss, Soph.; DeAndre Bell, Jr.
WR: Edgar Poe, Soph.; Chevaughn Lawrence, Sr.
TE: Kelvin White, Jr.; Eddy Ruzga, Soph.
LT: Drew Hennessy, Jr.; Brett Toth, Fr.
LG: Steve Shumaker, Sr.; Lofi Tamasese, Soph.
C: Matt Hugenberg, Jr.; Bryce Holland, Fr.
RG: Stefan Moreau, Soph.; Colby Enegren, Soph. or Jaryn Villegas, Fr.
RT: Todd McDonald, Sr.; Corey Hobbs, Jr.

DE: Mike Ugenyi, Sr.; Ryan Alexander, Jr.
NG: T.J. Atimalala, Jr.; Richard Glover, Sr.
T: Joe Drummond, Sr.; Bobby Kough, Sr. or Andrew McLean, Fr.
SAM LB: Steve Ricciardi, Sr.; Alex Aukerman, Fr.
Rush End: James Kelly, Sr.; John Voit, Fr.
MLB: Andrew King, Soph.; Sean McBryde, Soph.
WILL LB: Jeremy Timpf, Soph.; Justin Fahn, Jr.
CB: Josh Jenkins, Soph.; Jared Rogers, Jr.
CB: Chris Carnegie, Jr.; Tevin Long, Soph.
FS: Geoff Bacon, Sr.; Steven Johnson, Soph.
SS: Hayden Pierce, Sr.; Luke Proulx, Jr.

Special teams
K: Dan Grochowski, Jr.; Cale Brewer, Jr.
P: Alex Tardieu, Jr.; Tim Garner, Fr.
LS: Connor Farley, Jr.; Clay Barton, Fr.
KR: Josh Jenkins, Soph.; Chris Carnegie, Soph.
PR: Josh Jenkins, Soph.; Xavier Moss, Soph.

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

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Quick thoughts: Buffalo

Briefly spoke with Mike Monken as he was walking out of the postgame press conference following a 47-39 victory in his son, Jeff’s debut as Army coach.

“A win is a win,” Mike Monken said.

The Black Knights made it a little too interesting for the coaching staff and Army’s fans.

Definitely thought the game was over after Matt Giachinta’s 4-yard run gave Army a 47-17 with 11:10 left. Was even thinking Army would stop Buffalo and maybe add another touchdown.

But, Army’s failure to recover an onside kick, a lost fumble by quarterback Angel Santiago on a pitch he shouldn’t have made and some prevent defense allowed the game to come down to the final minute and a fourth-down stop by the Black Knights’ defense.

Buffalo’s comeback and 12 penalties give coach Monken and his staff plenty to work on this week in preparation for Saturday’s game at No. 15 Stanford. Stanford is coming off a 13-10 loss to USC. The Cardinal are 30-point favorite over the Black Knights.

Captain Obvious statement: Army can’t play as sloppy as it did in its season opener and expect to compete on the road at Stanford.

Monken called some of Army’s penalties, “foolish.” Including on the laundry list were four defensive personal foul penalties. One each by senior safeties Geoff Bacon and Hayden Pierce, who are both four-year starters.

“You get in those football games and all the fundamentals that we taught sometimes it looks like they’ve gone right out the window,” Monken said after his first win. “The guys get so excited. They get charged up to play. When you get in the heat of battle, you got to play fundamental football and we didn’t do that at times. We made some mistakes and we talked to them about that at halftime and went out there and tried to execute better.”

At least six of Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata’s 18 fourth-quarter completions came on check downs to the running backs. Surprised Army didn’t assign a defender to the back.

Coming into the season, Army’s secondary was thought to be the defense’s and one of the team’s strengths. Cornerbacks Josh Jenkins and Chris Carnegie lived up to that Saturday. If Jenkins continues to progress, the sophomore has all the skills to be an all-American. He just had instincts that can’t be taught at the position. Jenkins also was a physical tackler. Carnegie was steady, had an interception, which set up a late Army touchdown in the first half, and played solid one-on-one coverage on Ron Willoughby, which caused an incomplete deep pass on Buffalo’s second-to-last play of the game.

Sophomore safety Steven Johnson looked pretty good in passing situations. Wonder if Johnson continues to improve, could he start at free safety? Senior free safety Geoff Bacon could move to an outside linebacker spot where his strengths as a tackler and hitter could be used.

Monken’s enthusiasm was interesting to watch from the press box. At one point, a line judge had to politely ask Monken to move back  off the playing field. When Monken is pacing the sideline, it almost feels like he’s in the huddle with the team. Monken took senior safety Geoff Bacon immediately out of the game after the senior co-captain swung at a Buffalo offensive lineman for a personal-foul penalty. He gave Bacon a tongue lashing on the sideline. When Bacon thought he was ready to go back into the game, Monken told him to get behind the white line almost if to say, “You’ll go back in when I tell you you can go back in.”

After a shaky start, senior quarterback Angel Santiago kept his composure and ran the offense pretty well. Santiago looked comfortable out of the shotgun and when he had to throw he was accurate. There are still a few times when Santiago keeps the ball instead of pitching it outside but I’ve never heard of any option quarterback, who is 100 percent with his read during the game.

Thought Army’s offensive line play was solid. In his first game at center, Matt Hugenberg didn’t have any issues snapping to Army’s quarterbacks under center or in the shotgun. Hugenberg help negate Buffalo nose guard Kristjen Sokoli, who was limited to one tackle. Guards Steve Shumaker and Stefan Moreau did a good job helping Hugenberg with Sokoli.

Army’s 7-for-7 passing was the product of good play-calling. Twice, Raymond Maples was wide open in the flat. Sophomore Xavier Moss, Army’s leading receiver in 2013, was not targeted in the game. Moss did throw a nice downfield block on a 57-yard run by Larry Dixon.

Liked the way Monken rotated in players especially at the skilled positions on offense. Not one running back, wide receiver or tight end played every snap. Don’t think this was a product of the heat Saturday. Think Monken likes to keep his running backs fresh and rotating will continue this week.

Army’s alignment of three gunners, two on the left side, on its first punt caught me by surprise. The formation worked as Jenkins, one of the gunners, downed the punt at Buffalo’s 1-yard line. Special teams looked improved by 1 billion percent compared to units of the past. Monken is a special-teams guru. It seems like Monken had a wrinkle for almost every kickoff.  There were some short kicks, which took tricky hops, and some squibs. Army’s kick-coverage team was more physical than I can remember in a long time. Linebackers Addison Holstein and Justin Fahn each had big hits on tackles. The only downside to the special teams was two extra-point misses by junior Dan Grochowski, who was perfect at PATs going back to 2012.

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

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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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