Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Preview: Navy at Temple

Here it is. The final preview before tomorrow night's game. Be sure to tune into Pitch Right tomorrow night for what figures to be a somewhat awkward and clumsy live blogging session. Until then, enjoy the below, and be sure to get your vote in on our "Who Wins?" poll on the sidebar.

Navy Offense Vs. Temple Defense

Analysis: Navy is going to move the ball, that's a given. The Midshipmen return almost all their skill players from last season and a revamped line which has earned some high praise this offseason. We've been hearing a lot about Temple's "new and improved" defense over the past couple of weeks but it remains to be seen what, if any, improvements were made over the offseason. I tend to think that Temple's defensive line will have some success up the middle, but I really question the ability of Temple's linebackers and defensive backs to cover their assignments against Navy's speedy offense. Despite the fact that Navy's offense may need some time to to shake off the rust coupled with the trend that defense usually dominates openers, I look for the a veteran and athletic Navy offense to overcome whatever improvements Temple has made defensively.

Edge: Navy

Temple Offense vs. Navy Defense

Analysis: Temple should be able to move the ball, and their offense should manage to score more points than the six they managed last season, but I just don't see DiMichele and com pony having the same advantages over the defense that Navy's offense has. We've all made our predictions about Navy's defense, and I think the most reasonable thing to expect is that they will bend early but should do what's necessary for the team to win. I don't buy the idea that Temple's offensive line will be that much better than last year's version, and I actually expect Navy to get to the quarterback two or three times in the course of the game. At this point I'd be more surprised to see the defense perform surprisingly horrible than surprisingly well. The biggest question is going to be can Adam DiMichele show up and see the field, and if he can will he be able to get the ball to his talented group of wide receivers? Because Buddy Green will be on the watch against the big play, Temple is going to have to earn their points, and I think that's much easier said than done.

Edge: Draw

Intangibles

Analysis: Temple's home field advantage isn't that substantial even if 60,00+ do show up (in and of itself a big if.) Temple has the odd and perhaps fortunate luck of playing Navy twice in a row, a factor which should give the team extra determination to come into the game firing. Both teams are more or less healthy, with Navy only missing third string fullback and future badass Kevin Campbell. One thing that is worth noting is while Navy may not be as experienced as Temple on the defensive side of the ball, Navy's roster and two-deep is much more upperclassman-heavy than Temple's.

Edge: Draw

Coaching

Analysis: This should be a no-brainer, and it is. Al Golden may be a charismatic guy who can rebuild this Temple team into a winner, but on the field Paul Johnson is the master. If Navy struggles early, look for his adjustments to help the Midshipmen pull away after halftime.

Edge: Navy

The Final Verdict

I think most Navy fans are looking at this game with cautious optimism, and considering how much better Temple may be, that may be a good way to look at it. It's probably unrealistic to expect Navy to come out with guns blazing and everything clicking, but it's also unrealistic to expect Temple to come out that way too. I think we're going to see a situation where Navy scores on their first series, but ends up having some growing pains in the first half. I've been an optimist on our defense all offseason and I'm not about to change that opinion, and considering just how poorly Temple's offense played at the end of last season I just can't conceive that big of an improvement. After some sloppy play early the Mids buckle down and dominate the second half. Navy wins, 34-21.

8 comments:

Football Dad Dan said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, ... but isn't 2nd string slotback (ie ... back-up to Reggie Campbell and starter on a few special teams) Greg Shinego NOT suiting up for Temple as well???

Adam said...

I don't remember that ever being confirmed by the coaching staff. I can tell you Greg's ankle injury was lingering, but the last time I spoke with him (two weeks ago) he said he'd be ready.

football dad dan said...

Injury was a lot worse than just a "sprain" ---> He hasn't been able to practice since that 11 August scrimmage. Maybe PJ's intent is to make him their "secret weapon", ... but that'll be tuff to do since he was the winner of your earlier poll ... no??? (o;
I'm hoping he can make it back to 100% for Rutgers/Ball State.

Adam said...

Your information is obviously better than mine (I've been out of the area for the better part of a week) so I’ll take your word for it.

I'm just not crazy about speculating on who's in and who's out outside of the information Coach Johnson gives out. Don’t want to do anything that could potentially help Temple, no matter how small.

Gary said...

Lets face it we can sit some of the questionable starters in this game and still win.
We need all healthy for Rutgers!
The way to cure the ailments?
Blow the agme open in the first half and let the regulars rest the second half (exactly what Rutgers will do-other than Rice who they want to get 200 yards for against those patsies).

Gary said...

If Temple has a home field advantage because they have more fans there than Navy?
Then shame on Navy fans for not showing up no matter what the excuses-Holiday/BBQ/ vacations....
This was a chance to show some large and loud support and its close to Maryland.

football dad dan said...

Say Gary, ... How about "WORK" (ie ... the job) as being a viable "excuse" for a number of fans (me being one) who can't make this FRIDAY game??? Even if one could get off earlier than normal on a Friday afternoon, ... the traffic on the 495 & 695 beltways + on I-95 is murder. Been there, ... Done that. )o:
Show a little compassion for those of us that have to pay the rent.
Beat Temple!!!

Gary said...

Ok- valid point and I do all that you say too - but while that is a valid point-I am sure the lure to see Temple play would not attract as many as a good team would have on a Friday night too.