Thursday, October 30, 2014
How Will Brian VanGorder Attack The Navy Triple Option?
One of my favorite games every year is Navy. It is not because Notre Dame has an easy win, but because I have the utmost respect for those who serve and protect or great nation. This game is a result of a lifetime contract that begin during World War II when Navy was allowed to use Notre Dame's campus as training. This might have saved the school from going out. Kids were not going to school during that time because of the draft.
The Notre Dame-Navy game honors that every year. Historically, Notre Dame has dominated this rivalry. They won 43 straight. Navy did go on a stretch during the Charlie Weis years where they won 3 out of 4. That last win was technically Brian Kelly's first year, but it was heavily loaded with Weis recruits. Since that time, the Irish offense has completely dominated the Midshipmen defense. Navy just does not have the athletes on defense to stay with Notre Dame. I am not seeing anything to convince me that anything will be any different this year. So unless Notre Dame is super flat, they should have another big offensive day.
Where Notre Dame has had struggles is with the defense. We all remember last year when it was really a case of who had the ball last would win. When Notre Dame builds a defense each year, how to stop Navy is not at the top of the list of priorities. So the defense has to adjust for one week and that is tough considering you don't build a defense to stop Navy. Bob Diaco always had a more of a bend but don't break style and had inconsistent results with it.
Brian Van Gorder has a much different mindset. He likes to blitz, then blitz more, and then blitz some more. I am curious to see if he sits back a little more or if he just attacks it. If he attacks it, the results will be either big loss or big gain. In other words, if you go after them you better get there.
What has hurt the Irish in the past is the play of the fullback. This year it is Noah Copeland who has over 600 yards with 3 touchdowns. That is the one that I would gear to stop. I would assign Joe Schmidt to him and have him take him out on every play.
That would force QB Keenan Reynolds who has 639 yards and 11 touchdowns to match Jaylon Smith speed for speed on the outside. With all due respect to Reynolds, I don't think he can do that.
Notre Dame really should have no trouble winning this but they have a tendency to play down to the competition.