Saturday, October 27, 2007

Inexcusable

I hate football. No really, I mean it this time. How in the hell do you score 52 points, compile more than 500 yards of total offense, and still lose a football game to a I-AA team?

I'm sick of playing this game where we talk up the other team, continuing to laud the opposition like masters of diplomacy. Delaware might be a good team, but to give up 59 points to them is simply ridiculous. I mean c'mon, even Division II West Chester held the Blue Hens to "only" 41 points. No, I'm not going to play that game, I refuse to acknowledge the fact that Delaware is that good.

Navy's defense is beyond bad. In fact, it's beyond horrible. I mean, with less than 50 seconds left to go in the first half, the defense surrendered a mind boggling 74 yards and a touchdown to a Delaware offense with no timeouts left. Nate Frazier, true to form, made an incredibly idiotic mistake on an offsides penalty that stopped the clock and allowed Delaware to set up for a touchdown on the very next play, as the Midshipmen surrendered whatever advantage they had going into the half. I think surrender is an appropriate word to use, because when you look at this game and others, Navy's defense has allowed the opposition to dictate the game and move as they please. I don't even know why we blitz really, as every blitz seems to be picked up with ease. Speaking of blitzing, can we please stop blitzing Ram Vela on the outside on every other play. It's an easy read for the quarterback and an easier block for the tackle, and all it's doing is giving the opposition and easy throw and catch.

Despite the incredibly poor play of the defense par usual, the turning point in this game was not the touchdown allowed right before the half, but rather Kaipo-Noa's misguided pitch on Navy's third drive of the game. Consider the fact that the Midshipmen were up 14-7 at the time, and the defense, amazingly, had just stopped Delaware's offense for a second consecutive series. With an offense that scores on nearly every series, Navy had a very good shot at taking a two possession lead against the Blue Hens, and perhaps even more importantly had a shot to give their beleaguered defense some confidence and momentum heading into the remainder of the game. But it was not to be, as Kaipo-Noa tossed a late pitch that was intercepted by Anthony Bratton deep in Navy territory. I don't know what was going on with Kaipo, but he hasn't looked as smooth or confident running the option over the past two weeks. In fact, he was very hesitant to pitch the ball early despite having several favorable pitch reads. It could be physical, but you have to wonder if the margin for error that Navy's offense has been experiencing has gotten into Kaipo's head. The point was that when he did decide to pitch it he threw it away, and with it went Navy's momentum. Even still, we must be careful not to assign the blame of this loss with the offense, which for much of the game operated flawlessly en route to it's highest scoring day of the season. Still, even as the occasional offensive miscue is to be expected, Kaipo-Noa's fumble was huge in that it changed the entire dynamic of the game, and swung momentum back to the Blue Hens.

The rest of the game was all downhill. Even as the Midshipmen scored almost at will, Delaware's offense did Navy one better, and a third quarter Eric Kettani fumbled seemed to seal the deal for the Blue Hens. Like last week, this week's loss came down to Navy turning the ball over and the opposition taking advantage. Once again, Navy's defense failed to anything to slow down the opposing offense, while the inability to force even a single turnover put the offense at a significant disadvantage. And then there was the kickoff coverage unit, which proved once again that when it comes to special teams, Navy has a long way to go.


I seriously don't even know what to say anymore. Starting on Monday I 'm suppose to do a number of interviews and question and answer segments in lead up to the Notre Dame game. The game that just a few weeks ago everyone and their mother starting saying would be the game in which Navy finally climbed that 43 year hill. Now not only do Navy's prospects for upsetting the Irish seem slim to none, but Navy's bowl prospects (which looked like a sure thing two weeks ago) seem to be doubt. I don't mean to take anything away from Delaware, but let's get real, this game had a lot more to do with Navy just being bad than Delaware being good.

Something is going to have to give, and for the Midshipmen to accomplish even some of their goals coming into the season someone is going to have to step up on defense and make a play. If not, we will continue to be subjected to shootouts with mediocre teams, with the prospects of victory hinging upon the flawless execution of an offense in a game which isn't often conducive of perfect play on any level.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Buddy Green claims that "He has never had to do so much coaching in his life." This must be what accounts for the bizarre substitution patterns and random position changes. It must be at the root of his extremely soft zone coverage and stubborn refusal to bring pressure on the quarterback by disguising blitzes and stunting. He continues to go with a "striker" (outside linebacker) who is undersized and can't tackle. His nose tackle makes stupid mistakes and takes plays off. He has a great group of sophomores that should be playing to gain experience and provide some continuity. It's like he is running a Chinese fire drill. The teams we have played are well coached and they take advantage of our defensive stupidity week in and week out. Use Haberer, Pospisil and Nechak at linebacker and Stephens, Lark and Bookhout on the defensive line and stick with them.

Anonymous said...

The defense really is terrible. I can't think of any other way to describe it or explain it. Granted we had some key injuries, but you would expect that to translate into another 7-14 points for the opposition per game. Maybe the other team scores 24 instead of 17 if we had a normal Navy defense with the injuries. But 59 to Delaware? We made them punt once and kick a field goal when then could have gone for it on fourth. I remember the last game when Wake scored the first touchdown on a crossing pattern from left to right. They showed the reply from the endzone and you could see the Navy D-Back coming to help from left side and when the ball was caught, he was terribly out of position, 5 yards behind the catch with momentum taking him the other way. The first thought that came to my mind was that it looked like Pop Warner coverage. He could easily have taken a line that put him in position to make the tackle. With better than average ability, he could have blind sided the receiver as the ball arrived. He was obviously playing the ball because he was in perfect position to make an interception if there was no reciever between him and the QB. I don't know. Could there be a structural problem? Could we have some serious problem with defensive recruiting? Dare I say coaching? It is EXTREMELY frustrating because this is the best offense we've had in decades. An average defense and we could be a 1 loss or even undefeated team. How is it possible to simply not be able to stop anyone. 2 running plays for less than 10 yards and an incomplete pass gives us a punt.

Anonymous said...

Great write up. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I don't know what you can do with this defense. They're clearly limited physically and injuries have played a large part of that but they need to get creative and do something different. It seems as if they are just doing the same old thing every snap. Instead of blitzing on the outside every play, why wouldn't they try blitzing up the middle? Not only was Navy unable to get any pressume coming from the outside, but the Delaware QB saw it coming every time and had a field day with the short out passes.

Unless something changes Navy will give up 60+ to ND this weekend (on national TV to boot).

football dad dan said...

Adam,
As devastating as Kaipo-Noa's "misguided" pitch to the Delaware DB was, ... I think that our gross "clock mismanagement" right before halftime really turned the tide of the game. I couldn't believe it that on 1st down & goal from the two, Navy snapped the ball with only a few seconds gone off the "play clock" ... thus leaving 59 seconds for Delaware to drive the field to score a tying TD. With the known weakness of our Dee, ... What were the coaches thinking??? )o: )o:
Also, ... can anyone explain to me why that on-sides KO recovery was "disallowed"??? The illegal procedure penalty called on Navy made absolutely zero sense.

Adam said...

football dad dan,
Great point regarding the clock. I too was watching the clock closely on that drive, and why the offense was snapping the ball with around 10 seconds left before each play I'm not sure. Still, it's a sad state of affairs when we're nitpicking at this. No defense should allow 74 yard in under 50 seconds.

Good point on the first comment. We have no continuity or cohesiveness on defense, and the personnel groupings seem "off" at times. I mean, did anyone else ask themselves why the Greg Thrasher - a guy who was buried on the depth chart at cornerback- got the start at free safety? I know injuries have been prevalent, but why wasn't Snyder in there? At least he can bring the wood every now and then, and at least he is a safety by nature. Greg just looked lost back there.

Gary said...

Its BRYANT time!
This kid deserves a chance to start some games and it should start with ND!
Now thats not going to result in a win since he could put up 50 points and we will give up 60- But its time.
Is it me or has Kettani sabatoged Bryants 2 potential wins with 2 key game crushing fumbles?
Enough already get Bryant and Ballard in there and let them play entire games just as Kettani and Kaipo were given without hesitation.
On D- Is there any softer 290 pounder than the one we have in our middle who cost us 4 times?
Regardless of the "coach speak" we will be subjected to this was still an AA team and it was only the 9th ranked one at that!
I fully agree with everything Adam states-this really sucks waiting all week only to get this disgusting result.
Who really thinks we will beat ND?
We will make whoever is QB look like Touchdown Jesus and suddenly ND will also find its dead running game.
I would even go as far to say that Weiss wil start his chosen Golden Boy-Claussen because he knows WE WILL MAKE ANYONE LOOK GOOD back there- so why not try and let him look good despite paying against the worst to build his confidence.
While I fully expect to hear from the "Kaipo-ites" on this blog all I can say is lets finally give JB the chance to start some games.
What really is there to lose when we will give up untold fortunes of points to anyone and that includes N-Texas-N Illinois- and ARMY.
Please tell me that this is a good experience for these new players and that it wil be a good learning experience?
Please dont tell me as many already have that- it doesnt matter because if this group truely is as bad as its played-why should we expect more?
Glsaa half full? Half empty?
Regardless the glass is cracked and leaking profusely.

Phil said...

Ok, my feeling is regardless of the turnovers, the offense put 52 on the board, that should be plenty to win. Anyways, 3 players, one of them Vela, continually played out of position and cost Navy on big downs. Vela's blitzes were too wide and, as a result, he lost containment a number of times. Second, #54 needs to learn to play assignment football. Fake handoffs up the middle when you are the strong side LB should not pull you in, you aren't going to make the tackle so stay with the TE like you're supposed to. Instead, he gets sucked in and oh, look at that, the TE is wide open for another first down. Third, #8 (I think, opposite CB from King) needs to learn what it means to play zone. It doesn't mean stay with your guy until you can shake hands with the safety. It means you hand him off. I don't know how many times Delaware ran clear out routes but each time he stayed with the deep receiver too long. Oh, and please stop biting on the pump fakes, especially when you are next to the receiver, the QB ain't going to throw it then.
Buddy needs to coach these guys and if they don't get it, throw others in there, heck throw guys in there from offense buried down on its depth chart, just do something. He did make one move earlier in the game that I though he should have also made last week as well and that's close the gaps between the DEs and NT.

Justin said...

Plain and simple: WE DON'T BLITZ ENOUGH!!! We have to start playing more aggresive instead of just dropping into zone and let people run around and through us. Look at Air Force, more aggresive, live by the blitz / die by the blitz. If we are going to get torched every play, let's at least make it friggin' exciting.

Adam said...

Gary,
With all due respect, we scored 52 points and you want to talk about the QB? Yea, Kaipo made a huge mistake on the pitch, but is that enough to bench a guy? I doubt it.

Justin,
If anything we blitz too much. We're not going to get there anyway.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me that we blitz too much? Do you consider bringing one of the outside linebackers up on the line of scrimmage (so that we now have a four-man front) a blitz? And what happened to Haberer last game? It's like he made one mistake and they pulled him. They have been doing that all year with different personnel. Nechak got to play stand-up outside linebacker for four plays in three games and then they determined "he wasn't good in space." Are you kidding me?

football dad dan said...

Adam,
It's not "nit-picking" ---> For this game it was a huge tactical blunder. Granted, no good defense should give up a 65 yard TD drive working with only 59 seconds, ... but it's already a well know fact that Navy's defense is HORRIBLE. I don't care that we didn't milk the play clock down during the course that drive, ... but when you have 1st & goal @ the 2, ... the opportunity to open up a two TD lead after your opening possession of the 3rd quarter (thus the ability to "control" the game), ... and a know bad defense, ... PJ should have coached the situation to leave nothing to chance. Navy could have easily bled the clock down to single digit seconds & still easily scored that TD before the half! If the object of this season is to win games, ... then you gotta coach/play to maximize your strengths, ... and cover up your weaknesses, ... then take advantage of every little bit of "strategic brillence" you can muster up. Fake FG --> Great call, ... 1st on-sides kick (plus the surprise one vs BC in last year's bowl game) --> Great calls, and this recent one was properly executed (What penalty???), ... but absolutely UNSAT clock management before the half. That was my point.
Gary ---> Please give it a rest. You are on the brink of losing ALL Navy football/fan credibility with this garbage. My earlier tirades on criticizing player substitution "management" were based on valid observations, ... and certainly seem to be "bearing fruit" now. Coach Johnson needs to go with the line-up on Offense that will give Navy the best chance to control the ball & score TD's --> Clearly Kaipo-Noa & Jarod each have their particular strengths/weaknesses. Maybe it's time for PJ to employ the Chris McCoy/Ben Fay "two-headed QB" system he employed in 1996 (when he was the "O"-coordinator) & Navy capped their successful season with a 48-45(?) Aloha Bowl victory over Cal???
Beat Notre Dame!!!

Anonymous said...

Gary hammers Kaipo for every mistake, but when Bryant struggles he blames it on the offensive line.

Adam said...

football dad dan,
Greg was called on the onside kick penalty because the official panicked and threw a flag in anticipation of Zerb illegally touching the football, which he did not. Knowing that he could not call a penalty for illegal touching, he decided to transfer the penalty to Greg on an offsides call, even though Greg did nothing wrong on his own account. Basically the official screwed up and scaepgoated Greg for his dumb mistake to throw the flag in the first place.

Gary said...

I think I will take a week off and try not to fall over that brink....

football dad dan said...

Adam,
Know it's no use crying over spilt milk, ... but what a shitty call/decision by that crew of referees ---> to both throw the yellow hanky, ... and then not "wave the flag off", ... rightfully awarding the ball to Navy for a well executed play.
Appreciate the response.

Cest la guerre I suppose.