Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Debrief

The Sunday Debrief is our weekly recap of the week that was in Navy football, as well as a look at what I found particularly interesting from a host of national games.

We Can Pass Protect (at least for now)

While the downfield blocking may have been suspect at times during Friday's game, did anyone else notice that the pass protection was, for the most part, very good? I know we weren't going against Georgia Tech's front seven, but hats off to the offensive line for giving Kaipo the time he needed. I thought the O-line did a decent job overall Friday night, although the perimeter blocking was wildly inconsistent and in need of serious improvement. On the bright side Greg Sudderth did a great job blocking downfield, and should be a real asset at wideout this year.

Shun Continues to Shine

Shun White picked up where he left off at the end of last season, running the ball eight times for 122 yards (15.2 ypc.) Shun, like Reggie, is so dangerous on the option because he has the speed to blow up the angle of the first defender, and the shiftiness to pick up extra yardage at the end of plays. Reggie had a somewhat quiet game, but I'm sure he'll be utilized more extensively next Friday.

Penalties and Bad Calls
Can I just start by saying that our linebacker were getting mauled all night in what we in the industry typically like to refer to as "holding." As Paul Johnson indicated in his most recent press transcript, some of the no-calls were complete BS, and indicated that he may even need to get Clint Sovie a "new jersey" because of how torn up it was from being held. I'm not saying Temple didn't get their fair share of bad calls, but the refs seemed to zero in and really break up some good Navy drives with questionable calls. All you ask is for consistency, and to call back an OJ Washington touchdown because of a border-line holding call while calling nothing on Temple's offensive line is asinine. That being said there were some clearly dumb penalties committed by the Midshipmen, including a needless clip by Ketric Buffin on a punt return. We may be able to get away with those kinds of mistakes against the Temple's of the world, but against the Rutgers' and Wake Forests' of the world it's just not gonna cut it.

Big Nate and the Boys

There weren't a ton of great plays made by the defensive line, but overall this unit got good penetration and fought hard even in the face of being held much of the night. Nate Frazier managed to get penetration on numerous instances, and even showed some great athleticism dropping back into coverage. Chris Kahur-Pitters had a fine game as well. Speaking of dropping back, Navy utilized a max protect zone a few times, rushing the ends while dropping everyone back. Aside from lulling the offensive line asleep and giving a delayed blitz a chance to work, these kinds of looks also play havoc with the quarterback, whose throwing lanes are cut off. It worked against DiMichele, as he was forced into a horrible pass that was picked up by Ketric Buffin in the third quarter.

Special Teams Shine
It isn't Beamer Ball yet, but I thought the special teams units played consistently and with purpose the other night. The new kickoff rules didn't equate to much, as the kick coverage team kept Travis Shelton and his alleged "4.2 speed" from getting past the thirty. Matt Harmon continued to impress, going 3-3 including a 43-yarder that gave the Midshipmen some extra breathing room. Plebe Wyatt Middleton is going to be an awesome special teams ace for us this season.

It's Fixable
You can't fix just sucking, but you can fix miscues, turnovers, and missed blocks. We all know the Midshipmen did not perform as well as they could against Temple, but to be fair this was the first team of the season, and unless your a team like Louisville playing a team like Murray State, chances are your not going to be lights out. I have confidence in coach Johnson, his staff, and the players to take the appropriate steps to rectify some of the mistakes we saw Friday night, and to put a better team on the field next Friday night. If we don't, well, we're going to be in some serious trouble for not just next week, but maybe the rest of the season.

And now for some national notes...

This is not that Surprising (ok, it is)

No, I didn't predict that Appalachian State would upset Michigan, but like many other fans of the FCS I did expect a closer games than the Bruce Feldmen's and Mark May's of the world. The reality is that Appalachian State is the USC of the FCS, and if they played in say, Conference USA or the MAC, they'd be going bowling on a yearly basis. I really hope people recognize this game for what it is, and come to learn that their are not only solid FCS teams out there, but very good programs in the mid-major ranks. As the popularity of college football expands we're going to start to see more parody in the game, and while an upset of this magnitude may never happen again in the foreseeable future, this won't be the last time a "name" team will lose to an FCS team.

Don't Sleep on the Pokes

While most of the country was plugged in (not figuratively of course, that would require you actually had the Big 10 Network) to the Appalachian Stat upset, I was watching a very good Wyoming squad pound Virginia in the death zone of Laramie. Ok, so it may not be Camp 4 on Everest, but east coast teams literally fade by the second quarter up there. But it's not just the altitude, and despite whatever your local Wahoo fans tell you about Jameel Sewell (who by the way is not the answer down there,) you've got to give the Pokes some credit. Readers may remember that I predicted this "upset" months ago, and pegged Wyoming as my surprise team in the Mountain West Conference. With Utah experiencing a plethora of injury concerns, look for the Pokes to contend with Colorado State for the third spot in the conference, and possibly even challenge BYU for second.

The Other FCS Upset

You probably missed it, but Rice dropped their opener to Nicholls State 16-14 in the wee hours of Saturday night. If your keeping count at home, that means FCS teams have taken a grand total of two games from FBS teams.

It's Not As Bad as you Think

If your the kind of person who is steaming because we "only" beat Temple by eleven, just consider the fact that fourth ranked Texas "only" beat Arkansas State by eight. As long as we can get better and not kill ourselves with dumb mistakes, who cares if we "only" beat a much improved Temple team by eleven.
Tommarow: Position Grades


jeremy said...

I saw the Wyoming game and they were much more impressive then I thought. The MWC looks strong this year overall and Wyoming might sneak up into the top 2 or 3 spots this year.

Huck Finn said...

Adam, can't we all just boycott the FBS/FCS nomenclature? I'm all for change, but this new way of describing Div-1A/Div-1AA adds neither value nor substance.

Adam said...

I like using FCS and FBS. It may not make a ton of sense, but I like being official. Maybe we'll make a poll out of it in an off week.