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Army Football 2016 Defense Preview: Andrew King Needs Help

Army didn't have a good offense last year and their defense was even worse. Can they fix it?

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday we looked at Army's spotty offense and today we shine a light on their struggling defense.

Starters Returning: 9/11

Key Losses: NG T.J. Atimalala, CB Chris Carnegie, CB Josh Jenkins

Key Returnees: DT Jordan Smith, DE John Voit, LB Andrew Timpf, LB Andrew King, LB Alex Aukerman, LB Kevin Brinson, CB Brandon Jackson, S Rhyan England, S Xavier Moss

FEI Defense Rank: 115

S&P Defense Rank: 120

S&P Rush Rank: 104

S&P Pass Rank: 124

PPG: 27.8

Turnovers Forced: 11 (6 INT)

*****

Not Good, Bob

Army plays football at a snail's pace under Monken. In fact, they ran the fewest plays on offense last year AND defended against the fewest amount of plays, as well. That's why their total yardage given up (4,507, 29th nationally) and points per game average don't look terrible.

Everywhere else, though? Yeah, it's pretty bad. There's so little positives to talk about when they only made 15 sacks and created 59 tackles for loss--both sub-100 totals in the national rankings. Combined that with their 11 turnovers which finished tied for second-to-last in the country and it was a brutal season of lacking playmaking ability at West Point.

One Shining Star

If there's one player who is shining brightly it is rising senior Andrew King. The linebacker comes out of Flushing High School in Queens and started his career at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School in 2012 before playing sparingly for the Black Knights in 2013.

However, the past two years he's exploded on the scene and finished last year with 92 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. He's the only defender really worth getting worried about in the pre-season. Over the past two seasons he's totaled an impressive 24.5 tackles for loss.

Corner Help

Army brings back 6 players from the secondary who made starts in 2015 but with the loss of Chris Carnegie they are looking to replace a veteran at corner. They also received some bad news this off-season when Josh Jenkins left the team. He was a starter in 2013-14 but missed last year with a head injury and was expected to jump back into a major role in 2016.

Improvement in passing defense is necessary across the board. The Black Knights gave up 8.3 YPA (tied-112th) and quarterbacks completed 60.8% of their passes. They only surrendered 2,525 passing yards over the season but I already brought up the low amount of plays while their quarterback rating defense finished 99th in the country.

Outlook

There are problems everywhere, really. It's even worse when you factor in the offenses they faced last year, too. Seven of their opponents finished 87th or worse in FEI Offense and that doesn't include 2 FCS opponents.

Besides Navy and Air Force, none of their opponents offenses finished inside the Top 58 in the FEI rankings. This has the makings of one of the worst defenses Notre Dame has faced in quite some time. There isn't much else to say other than that.