Saturday, September 01, 2007

Navy Downs Temple 30-19

The headline on says "Navy tramples Temple," but for Navy fans in attendance or watching on television, last night's 30-19 win didn't seem so simple. In fact, Paul Johnson's historic night was overshadowed by a feisty Temple offense that just wouldn't quit, even after burying itself in a 14-0 hole during the first half.

Just a nine months removed from a a 42-6 drudging at the hands of Navy last season in Annapolis, Temple Head Coach Al Golden sure showed his worth last night, calling a game that was a lot closer to defeating the Navy defense than even the final score indicates. There will be a lot written about this game, both on this website and others, but while we continue to let it soak in and digest what we saw last night, I think it's important to give Temple credit. There may be those in the national media (in particular those covering a certain team in New Jersey) who will point to this game and say "how can Navy be any good this year, they barely got past Temple?" While there may be credence in this argument in regards to a highly ranked team like the Scarlet Knight, recent history has taught us not to push the panic button in these situations. After barely getting past UMass by a single point last season, how many of us indicated that the season may be in jeopardy? The answer, of course, is many of us, but then again UMass went on to win the rest of their games before losing the National Championship to Appalachian State. Looking back on that game, many Navy fans pointed to it as a tangible reminder to just how far this program has come. After all, if Navy could still win a game while failing to execute the offense and bending on every conceivable situation of defense, then the team had to better if for no other reason than you don't play your worst game of the season on a week-in, week-out basis.

I'm not necessarily saying this Temple game will equate to the 2006 UMass game, but I'm trying to echo what both Clint Sovie and Kaipo-Noa said in their post game interviews. They know the team played poorly, they know they can improve, and they know they have to improve. But I think they also realize that we were not playing the 2006 Temple Owls, and for all those who asked "what has changed," I think the simplest answer would be to say "everything." You could just feel a renewed energy in Temple, a certain swagger I guess you could say. Adam DiMichele, who seemed to be sacked every other play last season, showed incredible elusiveness in the pocket and single-handily kept several drives going with his ability to elude the rush. His offensive line, so entrenched in criticism last year, literally played it's best game ever, and manhandled Navy's linebackers on every screen pass. And then their was Golden, who anticipated the weaknesses of Navy's defense, and called a game to exploit them. The use of frequent screen passes and off tackle runs took advantage of Navy's penetration up front, while his energy and enthusiasm gave his team life when it looked like they may quit, as they had done so many times before.

In short, this was the first game of the season. We will analyze it, probably over analyze it, but it's important to keep it in perspective. I think we can expect more than one win out of Temple this season, and I think it goes without saying that Navy's offense will improve. The question know moves to the Navy defense, and whether or not Temple's offense was really that good, or if we should be concerned about Coach Buddy Green's unit. There were some bright spots last night, which we will get to, but I think it goes without saying that David Mahoney is irreplaceable, and that we're going to miss the tenacity and ability at which he played.

But, as they say, we'll take it. A win is a win and now the most important game becomes next Friday's matchup with Rutgers. I would, however, be remiss if I did not mention and congratulate Coach Paul Johnson, who quietly received his 100th career victory last night. Phelix has an excellent movie over at the Bird Dog chronicling Johnson's days at Hawaii, Georgia Southern, and both stints at the Naval Academy. Here's to another hundred wins for Coach, hopefully all of them coming at Navy.


Gary said...

I was there and it was far-far from a rout!
We were very-very lucky to have made enough plays to win the game.
I think the D was very disappointing and their line did handle ours most of the game.
Their offense moved too easily by the pass and we had little pressure until maybe the end of the game.
This does not bode well for the Rutgers game.
Yes I too thought back to the slow start vs UMASS but none of us in attendance (thanks Fouler for not having the strong Brigade support there!)were thinking too confidently about this Friday vs Rutgers when we step into the big boys.
I am worried about our size and the Rutgers O line- they may well score 40 points and Rice will get 200 yards-there is no denying the worry for an embarrasement.
There was not 1 Navy/Temple fan that came out impressed with Navy in any way.
While Campbell ran well to the outside-our inside game with Ballard was non existent (this was Temple-not Rutgers too).
We opened up with some passing and while Kaipo was ok- there was no fear on Temples part and we never really set up our running game with the pass (which we will need vs Rutgers/Wake/Pitt/ND- the Big Boys.
Yes Appalachian State upset Michigan and things happen so that may be the best hope we have-things happen.
Kaipo had some serious lack of confidence moments and again reverted to many "turtle" like moments instead of breaking free and looking strong.
Yes there were moments we wre wondering how JB would have done and really felt there were good chances to insert him to change the pace-but overall Kaipo played just well enough to win.
That stops this week when playing just well enough will not do.
This was no rout- it was life and death in many instances.
The lack of support from the Brigade was apalling and a bit embarrasing as to what we had expected too.
Well we did win-that much is good.

Adam said...

I don't think JB would have exactly lit Temple up. Kaipo didn't fumble the ball twice and didn’t miss blocking assignments. Aside from a few questionable pitches, he played very well.

Anonymous said...

I watched the whole game and have a slightly different perspective. First of all, I knew Temple would be a much improved team and they were. And you're right, Gary, Golden called a great game. The offense seemed to move the ball at will but the two turnovers led directly to 10 of Temple's points. The defense struggled but that was to be expected for such an inexperienced unit. I was disappointed in the tackling. The middle linebackers, strongside (fieldside) outside linebacker, and secondary didn't tackle very well at all. They never seemed to be going downhill. The defensive line held their own but didn't get a lot of support. We are undersized and will have to bring a stronger rush against passing teams. I'm sure Green will make adjustments via blitzing/stunting schemes and some personnel changes. Remember that this was the first game and they should make great strides every game. I also saw a lot of holding that wasn't called. I'm not saying we got homered, but we certainly didn't get many calls (with the exception of the completion they gave us on the pass that Singleton trapped). Again, I was impressed with our offense. Kaipo's pitches were sometimes sloppy but we blocked well--especially the wide receivers. We very easily could have won that game by a score of 37-13 or better.

Adam said...

You know, the holding is something I've been hearing a lot about today. I saw some of it too but because I was watching via TV, I must have missed some of the downfield stuff (I kept asking myself where our linebackers were on screens.)

I agree with your assessment though. There is no reason to press the panic button. We'll get better.

Football Dad Dan said...

Except for some "rustiness" in execution, and "self-destructing" a number of times in the 2nd half, the offense pretty much was successful in moving the ball. (Strange, but this sort of mirrored the 2nd half of last November's Temple game as well???). Temple seemed to clog up the middle to take away the FB ... and paided for it on the option/pitch. Kaipo's pitches were indeed sloppy, ... and he also seemed to revert back to the bad mechanics in passing the ball downfield (After looking so good in the scrimmages).
Defense was horrible ---> Way too many missed assignments & tackles. Navy was lucky that Temple stopped themselves with 3rd down penalties those 1st two drives, ... otherwise this might have turned into a really unhappy day for the Big Blue. Rutgers game will become "Ugly" early for Navy if the "O" can't maintain drives, ... and the "Dee" doesn't rachet up their play. Of course to be fair, ... with 9 new starters (many who had little if any quality PT in the past), ... it's was not a shock to see the defense struggle ... especially when one considers that they have only really played against Navy's offense until Friday night ---> Just like it is tuff to take on Navy's triple option "O" for other schools, ... likewise the inexperienced Navy defense needs to learn how to play/react to other styles of offenses.