Well if nothing else
O better than Georgia Tech’s
I’m not sure if it’s more amusing or annoying to see old Paul Johnson stories get recycled now that he’s at Georgia Tech. It’s amusing because there are a lot of funny Paul Johnson stories, and I like hearing them. It’s annoying because we’ve heard them for years, but for some reason they only matter to people now that he’s at Georgia Tech.
Navy fans, or at least the ones that read this blog, were already aware of the story of Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and his brief, not-so-illustrious tenure at Georgia Southern. He made some comment about bringing Georgia Southern “into the 21st century,” Paul Johnson took it as a shot at his offense (it probably was), and four years later Navy and Georgia Southern were playing each other long after both coaches had moved on. Johnson getting mad at other coaches talking about his offense was one of the most fun things about him, although I think the media was laying it on a bit thick when playing up the rivalry between the two prior to the Yellow Jackets’ trip to South Bend last month. Still, after Notre Dame won the game and held Georgia Tech to 218 rushing yards, VanGorder was declared the winner of the spat, and a new blueprint for defending the spread option was born.
Keenan Reynolds ran for 183 yards and Chris Swain ran for two touchdowns as Navy overcame the elements to top Air Force, 33-11. The 22-point margin of victory was Navy’s largest over the Falcons since 1978 and moved Navy to 4-0, while Air Force fell to 2-2.
I’m not usually a big fan of “revenge” or “redemption” storylines when it comes to football games. What exactly are you getting revenge for? Were you wronged? Isn’t the other team supposed to try to beat you? It rarely makes sense, although I’ll make an exception for this game for a couple of reasons.
Fisher DeBerry’s tenure as Air Force’s head coach did not end well. The Falcons finished with a losing record in each of his last three seasons, including a 2-7 stretch over his last nine games. Troy Calhoun took over in 2007 and gave the program an immediate jolt, winning nine games that year and again in 2010. It was an impressive run, and Calhoun deserved credit for turning around a sliding program. Some of the praise he received was a bit over-the-top, though, reaching the point where media speculation even had Calhoun as a candidate for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching job.
It wouldn’t last. Air Force fell to 7-6 in 2011 and 6-7 in 2012, and people began to notice. The wheels completely fell off the wagon in 2013, when Air Force suffered the worst season in program history at 2-10. It led to some changes, including Calhoun shaking up his staff. After rebounding with a 10-win season in 2014, I think it’s safe to say that the changes worked.
Navy hit the road on Saturday, playing their first game of the season away from the friendly confines of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The venue was new, but the result was not, as the Mids walked away with a 28-18 win over UConn. The Mids ran for 303 yards against a strong defense, led by Keenan Reynolds, who continued his assault on the record books by running for 142 yards and three touchdowns. The win moves Navy to 3-0, including a 2-0 record in the American Athletic Conference.