Archive for February 12, 2006

Update from Coach Ross

Dear Army Football Alumni,

This letter is long overdue, and I apologize for being so long in getting it done, but I wanted to wait until recruiting was completed so that I could give you an update on where we are recruiting wise.

Let me first begin, however, by reviewing our 2005 season.  We went into it concerned about three (3) major areas:

(1) Defensively, we had ranked dead last in Division I-A in 2004 (117), giving up an average of 490.09 yards per game.  We made great improvement in this area.  In 2005, our total defense was 346.55 yards per game which ranked us 37th in the country.  We reduced the yardage per game by 143.54 yards and improved our national position by 80 places;

(2) We were most concerned about our Offensive Line.  Six of the top seven linemen in our program were all seniors, and we had to start all over again in this critical position (O.L.)  I personally feel that next to quarterback, this might be the second most difficult position to learn in our program.  Going into the season, we had only one starting lineman returning from 2004.  We were very inexperienced.  Although we weren’t as consistent on offense in 2005 as we were in 2004, we made good progress;

(3) Finally; our early season schedule was a real tough one.  In listing our first six games, three of our opponents were listed in the top 25 in the country throughout the year – Boston College, Iowa State and T.C.U.  All three were bowl participants.  As a matter of fact, six of our opponents in 2005 were bowl participants.  To our squad’s credit, they showed true grit and strength of character by coming back from a 0-6 start and putting together a four game winning streak.  Those wins included a win over Air Force at Air Force.  It was our first win over Air Force since 1996 and our first win at Air Force since 1977.  Two of the other victories were over Arkansas State, the eventual Sun Belt Conference Champion, and Akron, the eventual Mid-American Conference Champion.  Both were bowl participants.

Overall, I was pleased with our season, but somewhat disappointed in our last game versus Navy.  I do not, however, want to allow thirty-one minutes of not-so-good football to distract from the progress we made in 2005.  Our loss to Navy only strengthens our resolve to win that important game.

In summary, we made some improvements but we are still climbing the mountain.  Below is a listing of some accomplishments:

*        1st four game winning streak since 1996.
*        37th best Defense in the country.
*        10th best Pass Defense in the country.
*        Zac Dahman, QB, accomplishments:
*        All-time career total offensive leader in the history of West Point football.
*        Career passing leader in:
*        Attempts
*        Completions
*        Yardage
*        Most career 200 yard passing games.
*        Ranked 2nd in history of Army football for touchdown passes.
*        Carlton Jones, RB, accomplishments:
*        2 consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons.
*        2nd in career rushing in history of Army Football.
*        3rd in career all-purpose yards.
*        Scott Wesley, RB, became the #1 Kick-Off Return Specialist in total yards in the history of Army Football.

Now for an update on recruiting.  Up to this point, it has gone well.  We currently have twenty-eight commitments to our prep school, and twenty-nine direct commitments.  We have one more weekend of visits, and are hopeful of having around thirty-five direct commitments, and around forty prep commitments.  The numbers are good, and we are equally pleased with the quality of the student-athlete we are bringing into West Point.  You never know how any class is going to turn out until they have been here a year, but I have to say at this time, we are pleased.

Looking to 2006, our schedule is a tough one.  It includes road games with Texas A&M in San Antonio, Texas and Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.  TCU, the eleventh ranked team in the country in 2005, will visit us in October, and as always, we have our rivals, Air Force and Navy, both with good returning squads.  Offensively, we must find a new quarterback, running back and tight end. We return every offensive lineman in our program, and have a good collection of receivers returning.  There will be stiff competition in the spring at quarterback and running back.  Regardless of who wins out, we will be inexperienced. Tim Dunn should prove to be a very adequate starter at tight end since he has had extensive playing time.  Defensively, we must fill both corner spots and one defensive tackle spot.  We will be very inexperienced at corner regardless of who wins the position and we lost three key performers at defensive tackle; although junior Tony Fusco (6’00", 290) does return as a starter.

All in all, we return eight starters from 2005 on offense, and seven/eight starters on defense.  Both kickers are back (a big improvement in 2005), but we must find a return specialist.  We lost a good one in Scott Wesley.

Our off-season program is now in full swing and we are anxiously working toward our test week in March to measure our improvements.  Spring Ball begins Tuesday, March 28th, and concludes with our Black/Gold Spring Game on Saturday, April 22nd.  We are hopeful some of you can get back for our spring game.

Speaking for all of our coaches and players, we thank you for all you have done for us.  Hopefully, we can make you proud in 2006!  If we don’t see you in the spring, we look forward to seeing you at our annual golf outing in July!

Coach Bobby Ross

2006 Awards

Thayer Award:  MG (R) Bob St. Onge ’69, the Chairman of the Thayer Award Committee, has asked me to inform you that the recipient for 2006 will be Tom Brokaw.  The date for the Award events is 21 September.

Distinguished Grad Awards: 
COL (R) Seth Hudgins ’64, President of the AOG and Secretary of the Distinguished Graduate Committee, has asked me to notify you that the following graduates have been selected for this year’s Awards:
      • THOMAS B. DYER ‘67
      • WAYNE A. DOWNING ‘62
      • ARTHUR E. DEWEY ‘56
      • HOWARD T. PRINCE II ‘62
      • RICHARD G. TREFRY ‘50

John Lewis (B3) Passes

It is with great sadness that I relay the following information: Our classmate, John W. Lewis (B3) '89, passed away on the morning of January 30th at his residence that he shared with his wife, Trudy Jones Lewis (A3) '89.  John's funeral will be held on Saturday, February 4th, at 2pm at Great Branch United Church, 1140 Rawlings Rd, in Rawlings VA.  Post some of your memories of John on his Eulogy Page. "Be thou at peace".