Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada was perfect throwing the football until late in the second quarter, when he threw a very, very bad pass that was picked off before the half. Other than that the guy played a great game, and made some nifty runs that put Navy in manageable third down situations. Jarod Bryant was lights out in relief, leading the offense to a fourth quarter comeback by catching a touchdown pass, running for a two point conversation, and making an incredible run to put Navy in field goal range for Bullen's game-winner. Despite whatever controversy that may or may not exist on the Internet, this is the biggest strength of the team right now.
Duke did a good job on the interior line getting to the fullback and tackling at the point of contact, but even with Vince Oghobaase and the other big bodies up front Ballard and Kettani were still able to combine for nearly 100 yards down the pipe.
We didn't see a whole lot from the slotbacks on Saturday, with Reggie Campbell leading the bunch with 47 yards on only four carries. Shun White went out early with an ankle injury, while Zerb Singleton did it all including hauling in three passes for 48 yards. Bobby Doyle did a good job coming in late and threw a absolutely perfect ball to Jarod Bryant for the game tying touchdown. Blocking was a little sketchy at times.
Wide Receivers: A-
OJ Washington, Greg Sudderth, and Tyree Barnes all got into the action on Saturday, with Washington catching a touchdown pass as well as catching a two-point conversation. Sudderth did an excellent job hauling in his touchdown, while Barnes had a nice catch coming back to the ball and nearly taking it to the endzone. If nothing else, these guys proved that they have athletic ability and sure hands, and that they're more than capable of making plays in the offense.
Offensive Line: B+
I thought the offensive line struggled early in the run game, although played well in pass protection and helped give Kaipo all kinds of time in the first half. As the defensive line started to wear down the offensive line came alive, and did a good job getting guys to the ground at the point of attack and on the second level.Defensive Line: C-
Containment is still a hug issue, as is tackling, in particular around the goal line. Nate Frazier was the lone bright spot on this unit during the game, recording six tackles including a key sack in which he showed great quickness on a stunt. The defensive ends need to show better presence and "feel" for where the quarterback is and cannot lose outside containment on third and long situations.
We've seen a lot more effort out of the linebackers over the past two weeks, and were starting to see senior leaders Irv Spencer and Matt Wimsatt step up. This unit still doesn't have the big play ability that last year's group did, and isn't as instinctive against the run. It will be interesting to see how they match up against Air Force, which doesn't have the personnel advantage that most of Navy's opponent's have.
Yikes. Ok, let me start with the positives. Ketric Buffin continues to play very well, intercepting his fourth pass of the year on Saturday which tied him for second in the nation in picks. Blake Carter, who had been conspicuously absent from the past three games, made some good plays in space and proved to be a good tackler. The bad news however is that we gave up 428 yards through the air to Duke, which, if your keeping track, is 133 more yards than we gave up to Brady Quinn and Notre Dame last season. What's really scary is that 235 of those yards came to Eron Riley, who neither Darius Terry nor Greg Thrasher could really control. I give Peter Vaas credit for calling a good game and Riley credit for making some great catches, but you have to be concerned with our ability to contain the long pass play, especially with a freshmen free safety who seemed out of position at times against Duke.
Special Teams: A+
Joey freaking Bullen. Need I say more?