Academies' option of choice: run

LANDOVER, Md. — In the NFL, Tim Tebow is bringing the triple option back. At Army and Navy, they figure it never went out of style.

The clock should run and run some more when the academies reconvene today (2:30, Ch. 10, 1010-AM) at FedEx Field near the nation's capital for the 112th edition of their rivalry.

Max Jenkins, one of three quarterbacks to start for the Black Knights this season, came from a high school that threw the ball 30 times a game. Now he's a triple-option convert.

"Actually being in it, you learn to appreciate what it does," Jenkins said. "It's not just trying to spread the field and throw it to the superior athlete. It really does take a team effort and all 11 guys in this offense, and if one guy messes up, we're going to get a loss of a couple of yards.

"But when everybody's working together and it's all clicking, it's pretty fun to have those 13-, 14-play touchdown drives and wear down defenses."

Army has the top rushing offense in Division I-A, averaging 350.9 yards per game. Navy is fourth at 313.7. Army has thrown 91 passes all season, by far the fewest among I-A schools. Navy is next, at 132 passes.

"Once I started to finally understand it, I think this is the coolest offense there is," Navy fullback Alexander Teich said. "You leave three guys at the point of attack unblocked, that's almost unheard of in any other kind of offense. It's a fast-hit, quick-play, quick-hit, big-play kind of offense. You look at how many plays you have over 30 yards over the course of the season."

The triple option has been a success for Navy over the years, but a porous defense means the Midshipmen (4-7) won't go to a bowl this season, ending a run of eight straight.

But the game against Army (3-8) is a bigger deal anyway, and the Mids' streak of nine consecutive wins over the Black Knights is what really counts.

"We talk about the brotherhood and not letting the tradition fall," Teich said. "You don't want to let that ball drop while it's in your hands, so this game is big for us to continue that success."

Academies' option of choice: run 12/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 9, 2011 11:24pm]

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