Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Enemy Lines Revisited

Had a reader ask if I could contact my friend who covers Navy for The Washington Post, Christian Swezey, to get his take on the Notre Dame-Navy game. “It amazes me that Navy can lose to Delaware one week and beat ND,” the reader wrote. “Is Notre Dame that bad, or is Navy bi-polar?”

Swezey and I traded e-mails on this blog prior to the Navy-Air Force game, and he was kind enough to send one more with his thoughts.

Here’s his take:

Navy matched up better against ND than it did against Delaware, for a couple reasons.

1. Delaware has a pro QB; scouts from at least 12 NFL teams have gone to watch the kid practice. It’s one thing to send scouts to a I-AA game, but these guys aren’t going to Newark, Del., on a Wednesday afternoon unless they are serious about somebody. The QB put real pressure on Navy’s depleted secondary (the Mids were down to their fifth-string safety in that game).

2. Notre Dame’s strength is its defense. The offense is very ordinary. The Irish are starting their third QB this year, i.e. their third-string guy. They have very few playmakers on offense – they ran the ball 40-plus times against a small Navy defense on Saturday, but their longest run was 14 yards. No wonder they were so desperate to get Arrelious Benn, who spurned them for Illinois.

One other thing to consider: My theory has been that Navy's defense is no different from a lot of other young defenses, especially those that have had some success in the past – namely, the players tend to pick their spots. They were a lot more lively for Air Force and the second half of Duke, i.e. name teams, than they were for Ball State and Delaware (two losses). So there’s no question they were going to show up big-time to play ND, which they did.

I’m afraid that Navy may have been like the rock band that trashes a hotel room, then leaves the bill for the next occupants. ND is going to be ready for AF. It should be an amazing game.


3 comments:

Stats Dr said...

Jake,

thanks for the email from your friend. Just the kind of info I was looking for! Am glad for your blog and looking forward to what blogdog has to say about Saturday...

jake.schaller said...

Stats -

No problem. It was pretty insightful, I thought.

I can't wait to see the BlogDog's pick either. He's on a nice hot streak.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your friend on ND playing harder against AFA, and being better prepared.

If AFA loses it will because of Matchup's...like our offense not eating near as much clock, or being as efficient in the Red Zone as Navy's.