Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Enemy Lines: Postscript

Before I get to UNLV, I thought I’d post two more installments of Enemy Lines with my friend Christian Swezey from The Washington Post to wrap up the Navy game. I’ll be posting his response later. To see our pregame exchanges, scroll down to parts 1-4 below.

Jake Schaller Wrote: Sweze – So that’s five in a row for the Midshipmen. And, as you pointed out in your article in Sunday’s Post, this might have been Air Force’s best shot to beat Navy for the next few years. All but 44 of Air Force’s 474 total yards on Saturday were picked up by seniors (Travis Dekker actually is now being listed as a junior, as he was given a medical turnback and has one more year of eligibility remaining). Navy, meantime, had a bunch of underclassmen making big-time contributions on both sides of the ball.

Last Saturday’s game was difficult for a lot of Air Force fans to swallow because the Falcons out-gained Navy and held the ball longer than the Midshipmen. Air Force moved the ball up and down the field but faltered in the red zone. And that leads to a lot off “what-iffing.”

-What if Shaun Carney hadn’t made a bad pitch that resulted in a loss of 11 yards deep in Navy territory on Air Force’s second drive of the game?

-What if Ryan Harrison had made that 41-yard field goal?

-What if the Falcons had stopped just one of Navy’s two fourth-down conversions on the drive during which the Midshipmen took the lead for good?

-What if Air Force hadn’t self-destructed with those three penalties that took it out of scoring range in the fourth quarter?

There are plenty more. And they all provide evidence for the “Air Force lost, Navy didn’t win” argument that many around the academy have made the last five years. But the way I see it, those arguments work for a year, maybe two. But five? It’s habit now. There’s a reason why Navy is making the big/important plays and Air Force is not.

So, why do you think it’s Navy making the plays? Confidence from winning a bunch in a row?

And, also, wanted to get your take on Air Force. Do you think the Falcons can rebound and challenge for a conference title or at least a bowl bid? I think a lot of people are starting to wonder if the first three games of the season were a bit of a mirage. Air Force beat Utah on a day when the Utes did not have their top quarterback, running back or receiver. And the Falcons beat a TCU team that was without Aaron Brown. Maybe that fast start was more emotion, surprise (with AF's new offensive and defensive philosophies) and a lot of breaks going Air Force's way. Guess we'll find out more this week.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

this weekend will be the tell tale sign of whether or not were legit

Anonymous said...

Great point about the big plays. I think it comes down to coaching. Navy seems to have simpler scheme's and just executes the hell out of them. No mistakes. Just good coaching.

Tara said...

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Ben said...

Wow. Just wow. 3 weeks ago, people were talking about Air Force being in the top 25, beating TCU, Utah, BYU, and Navy, and setting up a BCS run. It's interesting to see just how far we've fallen. Last week was a season-defining game, some called it. We'll see if we can rebound against a good UNLV team. The Seniors have to now work their tails off so that they can try to go out in a blaze of glory...

Anonymous said...

Jake...good comments....and a big KUDO for your interactive slide/audio show
http://www2.gazette.com/interactives/afaFB/2007/0929/
A great piece of work...kinda like listening to your blog w/ pictures. Keep up the good work and coverage. Go Falcons and Go Rockies. ....ltcpilot

Anonymous said...

how does the crow taste? you know, the big fat one you have to be munching on right now after Carson Bird said

“We realized Navy didn’t really beat us, and that was huge for us to realize,” senior cornerback Carson Bird said. “They really didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.”

Does it hurt to be so wrong? I mean, I guess it hurts less than if you had actually written your trash in the actual paper instead of a blog, but it's still gotta hur a little bit.

USAFA - still proving they need a trophy to get accepted by the other SA's.

jake.schaller said...

As for the last post ...

Why do I have to eat crow about anything? What exactly was I so wrong about? And what does Carson Bird's quote have to do with it? Feel free to write back and explain.
And if you're referring to the prediction that appeared in my blog, that was my dog who made that call. And I don't think you want to pick a fight with him. As you can tell from the pics on the blog, he's pretty ferocious.

T.J. said...

Regarding Carson Bird's comment, it's just another example of the kind of bulletin board material AFA players give Navy every year. Paul Johnson doesn't make this stuff up, AFA readily supplies it. Now I don't think that this neccessarily means AF doesn't respect Navy, but that doesn't matter; the perception is enough to provide plenty of locker room motivation. Troy Calhoun would do himself a favor by quieting his players down.