Friday night sucked. We can all agree on this. If you were smart, like me, you probably found something fun to do while taping the game at home. This would have saved you a considerable amount of frustration and probably staved off the deducting of several months from your life expectancy. But, more than anything else, it would have given you the opportunity to see this game in perspective, which I think is the most important thing we can take out of Friday night.
Navy did not play well against Rutgers, that is unless you define "playing well" as turning the ball over three times on interceptions, giving up 476 yards of defense, and losing by seventeen points. Other than that, things were peachy. The o-line looked out of sync, tackling was conspicuously absent at times, and Kaipo was less than impressive throwing the football to the guys in the white jerseys. Not only that, our head coach, who many have long viewed as completely infallible, has gone on record of saying that he made a poor play call on a pass that was intercepted in the end zone. I also realize that the Mids lost two of their top defenders on defense early in the game, and turned the ball over in key circumstances. Kaipo-Noa's two interceptions in the endzone may not have cost the game for Navy, but they certainly made the game look a lot more ugly than it would have otherwise been. That's at least six points for Navy had those interception not occurred, and that's not even factoring in the the pick Kaipo threw deep m in his own territory. But as upset I am over Navy's performance Friday night and as disappointed I am for the players and the coaching staff, I realize that Navy lost this game to a legitimate Top 15 team.
There is no denying this. I've gone on record numerous times saying that Rutgers is overrated, a point which I am now retracting. Don't get me wrong, I still absolutely cannot stand their players, coaches, or fans, but I'm no longer letting my emotions cloud my perception of the team's standing in the college football rankings. The simple fact is that Navy fell to a much better team the other night, and had the Midshipmen played as well as they were capable of playing on offense (ie no turnovers) then we would all be gushing over the great effort of the team and how close we are to whatever indefinable quality we subject our expectations to.
I refuse to implode over this loss, and refuse to call the entire outlook of the season into question. We are still only two games in, and after a less than impressive beginning to the season we're about to learn a whole lot about this team. After playing away on Friday nights the past two weeks, the Midshipmen will finally return home for the next three weeks to face Ball State, Duke, and Air Force. While none of these games are" gimmes" they are nevertheless winnable, and will likely determine the course of the rest of the season.
Schiano and the Late Touchdown
I'm sorta torn on how I feel about Schiano going for the late touchdown with about two minutes left. Rutgers was up 34-17 at the time, and any objective individual would have deemed the extra points unnecessary, even with a late Navy touchdown engineered by Jarod Bryant. I don't like Shciano, but my reasons for this are complicated and often politically incorrect, so I won't get into them here. But even considering my intense dislike for the man and his program, I recognize that this is college football, and although it may be classy to take a knee and center the ball, it's not always expected. I think Craig James and Chris Spielman were trying to allude to this in the broadcast, and also mentioned that Schiano was trying to reward Rice. This is the part I have some trouble buying, as Rice was a little hobbled at this point and sticking him in there was just a cheap move to pad his numbers for the Heisman race. If Schiano was so insistent on getting a touchdown, he should of given it to his third string fullback or some such and let a kid who works his ass off in practice get a freaking chance.
From what I understand Jeff Deliz and Clint Sovie are both doubtfull for next week. This is going to hit us hard, especially considering how well Jeff was playing against Rutgers before he went down the other night. I like the freshman Wyatt Middleton at safety a lot, but I'm not so sure that Pospisil and Haberer can fill in opposite Irv Spencer. Speaking of Irv, this now becomes his defense with the loss of Deliz and Sovie. Irv is an emotional guy with a lot of ability, and it now falls on his shoulders to make sure the defense can bounce back on the field next week.
I didn't see this whole game due to some taping difficulties, but the penalty on Reggie Campbell for illegal motion or whatever was one of the dumbest calls I've ever seen. As coach Johnson later said, the referee who made the call had no idea what he was doing, and just panicked because he didn't recognize the formation. It was complete and utter nonsense.
I'll have more up later this evening.