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A New Coach Brings New Blood To The Black Knights

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The Black Knights just concluded their 4-week summer camp. As the depth chart starts to take form, we will take a look back at Head Coach Jeff Monken's first months at the helm and take a look at what challenges face the men of West Point for the 2014-15 season.

Army Head Coach Jeff Monken with West Point Superintendent Lieutenant general Bob Caslen and athletic director Boo Corrigan.
Army Head Coach Jeff Monken with West Point Superintendent Lieutenant general Bob Caslen and athletic director Boo Corrigan.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In his first year at the helm of Army, head coach Jeff Monken, formerly of Georgia Southern University, has been hard at work installing his offensive scheme. The triple-option attack will continue to be the staple of the Army offense. Army has brought in former Ball State defensive coordinator Jay Bateman to fill the same role, and he will bring over a 4-3 scheme that finished 9th in the nation in turnover margin and had the third-best scoring defense in the Mid-American Conference.

Coach Monken has enjoyed some recent success with his offense, most recently upsetting the University of Florida Gators 26-20 in The Swamp, amassing 429 yards on the ground while only attempting 3 passes. He comes from a very successful line of triple-option coaches, as he is a direct branch off Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson's coaching tree.

Coming into this season, Army is bringing back its top running back from the 2013 campaign in Terry Baggett. Baggett rushed for 1,113 yards and 8 touchdowns last season and without a solid quarterback, looks to be the leader of the team at the end of preseason.

Angel Santiago took a majority of first team snaps at quarterback for Army's scrimmage and scored on a 1-yard QB keeper to open up the scoring against the first-team defense, highlighted by true sophomore defensive back Josh Jenkins and senior linebacker James Kelly.Together, Jenkins and Kelly look to improve a defense that was ranked 92nd in scoring defense last season.

Coach Monken has also wasted no time in hitting the recruiting trail. He has secured 15 commitments, according to ESPN's RecruitingNation. Those commits include ESPN three-star defensive tackle T.J. Jackson (ranked 89th overall), three-star, dual-threat quarterback Troy Smith (59th best QB-DT), and two-star dual-threat quarterback Kelvin Hopkins (62nd best QB-DT). There are seven other three-star prospects considering signing with Army, most notably the fifth best kicker in this year's class in Ian Shannon.

Coach Monken is familiar with the challenges facing a coaching staff at a service academy in terms of recruiting from his days at Navy. In an interview in December after first taking the job, Coach Monken said, "We've already begun the process of recruiting and have reached out to young men all over the country who I know will be honored to join this program and get Army football back to national prominence...We will give all of our cadets and the men and women who serve a team they can be proud of."

Army opens up the season at home against the University of Buffalo on Saturday, September 6th. This will be a good test for Army as they face a MAC school that averaged in the middle of the FBS in total offense and defense, but will obviously be without first-round pick Khalil Mack.