Jeff Monken had major success with the triple option at Georgia Southern but hasn't been able to translate that winning to the plains of the Hudson River. Let's investigate their roster for 2016.
Starters Returning: 6/11
Key Losses: QB A.J. Schurr, FB Matt Giachinta, WR DeAndre Bell, TE Kelvin White, LG Justin Gilbert, C Matt Hugenberg, RT Ryan Alexander
Key Returnees: QB Ahmad Bradshaw, RB John Trainor, RB Joe Walker, FB Aaron Kemper, WR Edgar Poe, LT Rick Kurz, LG Victor Nieves, LG Jaryn Villegas, RG Mike Houghton
FEI Offense Rank: 105
S&P Offense Rank: 115
S&P Rush Rank: 90
S&P Pass Rank: 54
Turnovers: 22 (9 INT)
Co-starters After Spring
Rising junior Ahmad Bradshaw started 8 games last year and even with the loss of A.J. Schurr (3 starts) finds himself in a battle with sophomore Chris Carter coming out of spring practice.
Bradshaw wasn't terribly effective last year with just over 112 yards of total offense per game and missed a third of the season with injuries. Although he won the job coming out of camp last year it's understandable why he doesn't have a hold of the job going into the summer.
That's due in no small part to the performance of Carter who started Army's final two games of 2015 and put up nearly 477 yards of total offense in a pair of competitive losses to Rutgers and Navy. The word out of West Point seems to point to Bradshaw being the more decisive runner but Carter has a big leg up as a passer and is quickly understanding how to run the triple option.
Overall the Black Knights are ridiculous young and don't lack for options at running back where 5 players are back who logged starts in 2015. The situation at fullback is a little different.
Senior Aaron Kemper is back after leading the team with 544 yards and will surely be seeing more than the 9 rushes per game he totaled last year. With the loss of Giachinta (7 starts) and Drue Harris leaving the team there are some holes on the Army depth chart at fullback.
As is the norm at an academy, the Black Knights have spent the spring moving some players around. At fullback they have moved over a couple linebackers, including Cole Macek who performed well this spring.
Army is replacing a trio of players on the offensive line who combined for 30 starts and bring back 4 others who started a combined 21 games. Following spring, there are still plenty of questions.
A pair of key players, including Bryce Holland who is stepping up into a starter role, missed significant time during the spring with injuries which isn't helping matters.
Figuring things out will be important. Army's rushing average was solid last year (4.76, 43rd nationally) but their 24 touchdowns are ridiculously low for an option team playing their type of schedule and they were largely ineffective on the ground against the better teams they faced.
Head coach Jeff Monken is a former Paul Johnson assistant who came from a successful 4-year stint at Georgia Southern where he won 38 games. He's been known as a rising offensive coach but he's had a really tough time implementing his triple option attack at West Point.
Since the Irish are playing Army so late in the season they are bound to be a different offense than what they open 2016 with in September. It seems like Bradshaw could start at first but it might be only a matter of time before Carter takes the reigns for good.
There aren't any major pieces gone from last year that Army is going to miss greatly so that should signal improvement. It'll be year three in Monken's system and once they get some stability (and better production) from the quarterback position we should see a nice uptick in scoring by the Black Knights.