Four days after the most amazing thing ever, fans and media members are still buzzing over Navy's 46-44 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. But as Annapolis holds parades and the yard buzzes with "OMG dude did you see that," the Navy football team is back at work preparing for what figures to be another close, edge-of-your seat type game that could go either way.
This is of course your classic "trap" game. Navy, 5-4 and coming off of an incredibly emotional win, travels to Denton, Texas to take on a 1-7 team which has shown glimpses of ability this year, but has really yet to play a complete game. We see these games all the time, and under Paul Johnson the Midshipmen have done a good job preparing for seemingly "lesser" opponents off of big wins. But then again, we have really yet to see a win as big as what we saw on Saturday, and the mindset of the team coming off of the win is anyone's guess. The biggest challenge this week for the Midshipmen is going to be staying focused. Everyone wants to talk about the Notre Dame game- and rightly so- but as far as the team is concerned the most important game of the season becomes Saturday's matchup in Denton. The Mean Green, led by first year head coach Todd Dodge, are going to be hungry after a 1-7 start, and will have plenty of incentive to beat the team that just beat Notre Dame the week before.
I don't want to talk up North Texas too much, because (as I predicted in the off-season) the reality is they aren't a very good football team at this point in time, but are still more than capable of beating a Navy team that does not show up to play. Defensively, in particular, I worry about Navy’s ability to contain North Texas’ spread offense, which averages just under 300 yards per game through the air (12th Nationally.) The Midshipmen defense is going to have to play one of it’s best games of the season if Navy is to avoid another down to the wire finish. Fortunately, if there is any coach in the country who can make a 1-7 team seem like USC, it's Paul Johnson. Don't be fooled, Navy should beat North Texas, but then again just a couple of weeks ago we were saying how Navy should beat Delaware, and we all know how that ended.
Other Stuff: Adam Ballard, despite being a legitimate pro prospect at the fullback position, says that a possible future in the Marine Corps is right now more important than any chance at making an NFL roster...Wondering where Greg Sudderth was for the Notre Dame game? So was I, until I read on Bill Wagner's blog that the senior wide receiver suffered a season ending ankle injury in practice last week. Helluva shame for a guy who had been bothered by injuries for most of his career...Five Blog Poll voters, including myself, gave Navy a 25th place vote in the most recent poll if for no other reason than it seemed like a fun thing to do after Saturday's win...Finally, North Texas game notes.