1974 -77 Black Knights
(Authentic Reproduction)




The lack of offense and defense and the resultant winless season of 1973, Army's first, made a coaching change imperative despite the fact that a severe lack of quality players, depth to fill positions after injury, and a general lack of interest in attending service academies due to the erosion of the national spirit and the Viet Nam War that continued without apparent resolution were the real culprits. West Point turned to Homer Smith, one of the most highly respected offensive minds in the game who had been an All East tailback at Princeton in the early 1950's. Smith gained the reputation as an offensive guru with a knack for a high octane passing offense as the head coach at Davidson College and had most recently served as UCLA's offensive coordinator where he produced a number of outstanding QB's and a potent Wishbone attack for Bruin's head coach Pepper Rodgers. Smith simplified the Cadet helmet and the old gold shell with black one-inch center stripe had the Black Knight logos removed. Leamon Hall emerged as a regular at QB although the position, like many, remained up for grabs all season and FB Brad Dodrill was the top rusher, no surprise in the new Wishbone oriented attack.The small defense was shifted to an Oklahoma 5-2, wasn't quite as porous as '73 and the year ended with a 3-8 record.
With an attempt to put the ball in the air more, the Cadets fell to 2-9 in '75 as the offense opened strongly against weak opponents but remained inconsistent and at times, anemic throughout the rest of the season. QB Hall threw for 1107 yards but this was offset by the lack of defense that resulted in a yield of 289 points in the final nine contests of the year.  For 1976 the Wishbone was shelved in an attempt to give QB Hall a chance to air the ball out in a split-back offense. A number of upperclassmen surrendered their final season of eligibility, leaving things to many younger players but All East QB Hall benefited to the tune of 2174 passing yards and fifteen TD tosses and eighteen new Academy records to his credit. TE Clennie Brundidge caught forty-seven of the aerials for 657 yards and HB Greg King handled the ground game. DE Chuck Schott and DT Chuck D'Amico were shut-down players, Schott with 101 stops and D'Amico with six sacks and one-hundred-plus tackles to his credit. The improved 5-6 record did not include a win over Navy and Smith was 0-3 against their most important rival.

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