TEMPLE 27, NAVY 24

Something that is frequently discussed among Navy fans– at least those of you unfortunate enough to have wandered onto this dark and confused slice of the internet– is the idea of a “complete game.” Navy has done a whole lot of winning over the last several years, but sometimes it seems as if one particular unit carried the others to victory. Perhaps the defense won the game in a low-scoring slugfest. Maybe the offense would win a shootout. Then again, there are games like Air Force last year where Navy’s special teams kicked four field goals and blocked two punts to lead the Mids to the win. Rare is the glorious afternoon where all three units play at the top of their respective games, making the Mids look as if they could give the Washington Redskins a run for their money. Those are the games we live for.

The corollary to that, of course, is that sometimes we’re going to see complete losses— games where something goes wrong in all three phases. Saturday’s 27-24 loss to Temple could be described in such a way. Not that you can’t point to good things on both sides of the ball. Vince Murray rushed for 115 yards. The defense finally forced a couple of turnovers. Special teams almost had a banner day, with Joe Buckley nailing his lone field goal attempt, David Wright scooping up a botched punt for a touchdown, and Craig Schaefer recovering a fumbled punt return to set up another Navy touchdown. But as they giveth, they also taketh away, and in the end the game that people remember will look a lot different from the picture painted by those superlatives.

We’ll start with special teams. Things were looking good after Wright’s touchdown gave the Mids the lead with 1:55 left in the second quarter. After a stagnant first half, a little momentum going into the break can do wonders for a team’s attitude. Any momentum gained on that play, however, was lost almost immediately. Temple’s James Nixon returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, turning a 10-7 Navy lead into a 14-10 advantage for the Owls as the teams headed into their locker rooms. Navy had only given up two shaky kickoff returns all season; one to open the Ohio State game, the other at the beginning of the game against Rice. Both were returned to about midfield. Other than that, kickoff coverage hasn’t been much of an issue. In fact, the Mids have given up 20 yards or less per return in the majority of their games thus far. Obviously, that wasn’t the case on Saturday. Temple is particularly strong on kickoff returns, having led the nation with 26.6 yards per return last year. They haven’t slowed down in 2009, ranking 6th with 28.45 yards. Navy, on the other hand, entered the game short-handed on special teams. Ricky Dobbs, Marcus Curry, and Jordan Stephens might have been the names that caught your eye on the injury list, but another pair of names probably flew under your radar: Jordan Eddington and Tra’ves Bush. Eddington and Bush happen to be the team’s two leading tacklers on kickoff coverage, and their absence was felt last week. Does that excuse giving up a 100-yard KO return? No, but it does suggest something other than a systemic problem for the coverage unit. It also demonstrates just how valuable every member of the team really is, and how you can’t take any player’s contributions for granted.

As momentum-killing as Nixon’s return was, though, the Mids were still able to fight back to take the lead at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, the kickoff return was only the beginning of Navy’s problems. First and foremost was the utter collapse of what had been a very stout run defense. Temple superfrosh Bernard Pierce rewrote the record book, running for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Pierce was the Temple offense. Looking back at the game preview, we got two things right. One, Vaughn Charlton’s arm isn’t going to lead anyone to the promised land. Temple’s beleaguered quarterback completed only 5 of 17 passes for 37 yards and two interceptions. That’s not the kind of stat line that usually accompanies victory. It wouldn’t have on Saturday, either, except for the other thing we got right from the preview: Navy has problems defending zone blocking schemes.

What on earth is it with zone blocking that makes it the kryptonite to what has otherwise been a super run defense this year? Shoot, why limit the scope to only this year? Navy has always had problems defending against it. I’d be lying if I said I knew the reason why, although I have a hypothesis. Take a moment, if you will, to consider THE GRAPHIC:

Yes, there it is in all of its master-of-the-obvious splendor– the weekly reminder that Navy is indeed a small team. With reliability that makes Old Faithful jealous, it appears at least once during every Navy broadcast. If you’re like me, you usually just roll your eyes whenever you see it and mumble something along the lines of  “same as every other week.” And that’s true; with the exception of the other service academies, the Mids don’t have the bulk of their opponents. While the tendency is for us to dismiss the size difference as simply business as usual, there are occasions where it might be a bit more significant– specifically, with teams that like to run the zone stretch. Lining up across from someone and pushing him backwards isn’t that easy; even smaller players can dig in and get leverage. To really be able to push them around, you need to get them moving laterally. That’s exactly what the zone stretch play does; the line moves together in one direction, while the running back runs to the hip of the playside tackle. A patient ballcarrier will be able to make a cut toward any hole in the defense that might open up. If no running lane develops, his “cut” is to keep running off tackle. As the defensive line is getting manhandled, linebackers are unable to fly to the ball the way they usually would. Doing so would open up the cutback lanes that the running back is looking for. It’s usually a moot point when the Mids take on the zone stretch anyway, since the d-line is unable to draw the double teams to keep blocks off the LBs in the first place.

Even if I’m right– and I could very easily be full of crap– it still doesn’t fully explain 267 yards. My first question was why the safeties weren’t more active in run support. Against Pitt and their freshman phenom Dion Lewis, Wyatt Middleton was second on the team with 9 tackles. Emmett Merchant and Kwesi Mitchell combined for 17 tackles against Western Kentucky, who also relied heavily on zone blocking. Against Temple, the safeties combined for only 5 tackles, and spent most of the game lined up fairly deep. That seems ridiculous when there’s a running back having a record day against you… Or does it? Perhaps the correct statement is that it seems ridiculous after a running back had a record day against you. In this case, hindsight might need to be corrected a bit to get to 20/20. While Pierce did run for 267 yards, 109 of those yards came on two plays. Temple never actually put together an extended touchdown drive; both of their TDs were on runs of 40+ yards. In fact, having the safeties play deep almost won the game for Navy, with Wyatt Middleton finding himself in position to grab two interceptions. Both of those INTs were in the second half, with one leading to a Navy touchdown while the other probably should have assured a win, coming with 6:30 left in the game. This tells me that the Mids’ defensive problems weren’t because of scheme, but rather the result of individual breakdowns on Pierce’s two big runs.

That was certainly the case with Pierce’s game-winner, a 41-yard rambler down the left sideline. Before the play, there appeared to be a bit of confusion between Tyler Simmons and Tony Haberer. After the snap, the source of that confusion was revealed– both players ended up covering the same gap. As a result, neither took the outside lane, and there were enough blockers to handle what few defenders were left out there.

A rare, but costly, mistake.

There were times when a safety was brought down in run support. Whenever Temple would line up with two tight ends and a split end on the same side of the formation, either Wyatt or Emmett would line up closer to the line of scrimmage. Temple would either try to throw deep to take advantage of 1-on-1 coverage with no safety help, or just run the other way, making the safety a non-factor in the play.

I don’t think that anyone would argue that Navy’s defense performed well on Saturday, but upon closer inspection, maybe it wasn’t quite as bad as we first thought. On the other hand, WTF 267 YARDS! There’s a finite amount of space between my ears, and if this game knocked out some fond childhood memory of my dog or Legos or something, I’m going to be really pissed.

Finally, we come to the offense. Vince Murray shouldered the load for the Mids once again, carrying the ball 33 times for 115 yards. To many fans, though, that’s not a good thing. At the beginning of the year, everyone said the problem with the Navy offense was that they weren’t getting any production out of the fullback. They said that the fullbacks were too small and couldn’t “move the pile.” That has apparently been tossed out the window. Now, the complaint is that the fullback is getting the ball too much, that Ivin Jasper is too conservative, and that this would never happen if Paul Johnson was still here.

Shouldn’t we have advanced past this point by now? Apparently “conservative” is defined as “not getting the ball to the slotbacks enough.” Sometimes I wonder what on earth people have been watching for the last eight years. Shouldn’t we all know by now how the offense works? If not the specific Xs & Os, at least the general concepts? Haven’t we been told over and over again that it’s the defense that determines who carries the ball ? Of course we have. On Saturday, the fullbacks and quarterbacks combined for 87% of Navy’s carries. That would never happen in a Paul Johnson team! Really? Against Maryland in 2005, they combined for 81% of Navy’s carries. Against Air Force that same year, it was 82%. Against UMass in 2006, it was 86%. Tulsa? 94%! In these games, was Paul Johnson being “conservative,” or do you think that maybe it was a result of what the defense was giving up?

There is a reason why Vince Murray carried the ball so many times against Temple, too. The Owls lined up with 4 men on the line of scrimmage. In doing so, they frequently left the center uncovered. Coach Jasper just gave the ball to the fullback straight up the middle. The fullback hits the hole so quickly that the guards could pass inside of the defensive tackles to get to the second level.

Maybe “conservative” means that Coach Jasper didn’t pass enough. Well, did you see Kriss Proctor’s passes? Did you really want to see more of them? Thank goodness Mario Washington was wide open on the first pass Proctor threw, because even that wasn’t exactly pretty. On the first play of the game, the corner covering Mario blitzed. The safety on the other side of the field followed the tail motion in the direction of the play. When the Mids came out to start their second drive, Coach Jasper had Mario run a crossing pattern to the area that the tail motion safety vacated. With Temple firing the corner again, nobody was around to cover him:

Proctor’s other passes were underthrown pretty badly. One actually ended up drawing a pass interference penalty. The other was intercepted.

You’d think that running up the middle on almost every play would open up the toss sweep, but it never really did. Remember, the toss sweep is sort of like a screen play; the object is to suck defenders into the backfield while getting the ball behind them and into the hands of a fast runner in space. The linebackers never lined up on the line of scrimmage, though. That, plus safeties creeping up with the knowledge that the Mids probably didn’t want to risk passing again, meant that they’d probably be able to stuff the toss.

The toss isn’t the only way to get the ball outside, though. Another way is to show a triple option look, but use the fullback as a blocker. Use the guard to block the would-be dive key, then option off of the same pitch key. After being unable to convert on a few 3rd and short-yardage situations, Coach Jasper tried this. Unfortunately, the guard couldn’t maintain his block, and the defensive end blew up the play.

Navy moved the ball well enough for most of the game. In the end, though, the inability to convert on these 3rd & 4th downs were what made all the difference. Coach Jasper tried running the quarterback sneak, but it didn’t work. He tried handing to the fullback off tackle. Didn’t work. He tried the midline. Didn’t work. He tried the triple so that the QB could read his way outside, and that didn’t work. He tried to force the ball outside on a double option, and THAT didn’t work. In every instance, there was either a bad block or a missed assignment. There wasn’t much else to try. Convert on any one of these plays, and the Mids probably win the game.

Extra Points

— Clock management has been a bit confusing to me at times this season, although I’m not nearly as critical of it as some of the things I’ve read. Most of the complaints this week have centered around the use of timeouts. Now, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I think timeouts are THAT valuable, especially in the first half. So if Coach Niumat wants to call timeout to get his team on the same page before a big 3rd down play, that sounds like a fine idea to me. In the second half, one timeout was spent when Kriss Proctor had trouble checking to the right play. That’s a good use of a timeout. Another was used when Proctor was sacked with 2:29 left in the game. Again, that’s a good time to call timeout. The second timeout was spent when as Coach Niumat tried to run down the clock before punting with 4:19 to play. That’s the only one I didn’t really like.

The problem for me wasn’t the idea that Coach Niumatalolo would let the play clock run down just to call a timeout before punting. That’s a common tactic. The only problem I had with it is that he did it with more than 4 minutes left to play. That is a LOT of time, especially in the college game. At that point, running the clock down actually hurts the Mids. With their drive starting with 4:13 remaining, Temple didn’t even need to run a hurry-up offense. If running the clock down before punting doesn’t put the other team in extremis, then there’s really no value in doing it. Think of it like basketball. If you get the ball in a tie game with about a minute left, you want to shoot the ball as soon as possible so that you’ll have time for another possession if your opponent uses the full :35 on the shot clock. It’s the same concept here.

Of course, none of the timeouts really affected the outcome of the game, so this is all just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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49 Responses

  1. Mike I believe the defense didn’t play terribly and only allowed 20 points of offense. The offense’s inability to move the ball during the 4th quarter and all the 3rd and shorts that were left on the field seemed to doom the mids. The fullback dive for 5-6 yards on first down was the norm, but then the offense would self destruct on 2nd and 3rd down. That being said, no side of the ball played well. Something good to take from this game is that Navy, although playing poorly, still had the chances late in the game to beat a 5-2 team.

  2. A++ would read again

  3. I always enjoy your post game reports. Been involved/coached football a long time and am impressed with your insights. I am relatively new to Navy football as my son just started there recently. Hope your readers appreciate the analysis you provide. Judging from what I read they sure seem too. On a coaching note, with such a weak pass threat at some point I’m BRINGING it against that run attack with lb stunts every play usually to the presumed run play inside the tackles. The outside backers accounted for only 3 tackles in the game. At least one of those came after a stunt by Vela pursuing from the back side. Anyways, what do I know, I wasnt there. Thanks for the time you take to keep us informed.

  4. Mike – respectfully disagree on the timeouts. Navy called their 1st timeout after a first down run, and their second was called because Coach Ken thought mistook the D as the Steel Curtain. If Navy gets the ball with 2:41 and 3 timeouts needing 45 yards to get a FG attempt, they are not forced to drop back to pass with a QB who has completed as many passes in his career to the other team as his own team.

    I don’t think this lost the game for Navy. As you mentioned, this was a complete loss. But Coach Ken did the same thing with 4 minutes left against Wake and was saved by a monsoon. Not so fortunate this time.

  5. The first timeout was called when there was confusion at the line of scrimmage. You’re supposed to call a timeout then whether it’s first down or third. If Navy snaps the ball there, chances are that it’d be a busted play, losing yards and killing the drive. Keeping the drive alive is far more important than saving a timeout.

    I don’t know what you mean by the “steel curtain” comment. I do agree that running down the clock before the punt wasn’t a good idea with so much time remaining.

  6. Great anaylsis each and every week! I enjoy your insight and tell every navy fan I know about the site. Do you know if we have ever run a toss sweep pass in the current offense? Do we have a slot that can throw the ball? With pursuit committing, we should have a receiver open or at a minimum slow down the prursuit.

  7. Bobby Doyle was recruited as a quarterback. Actually, the first play of the Wake Forest game was supposed to be a pass off of the toss sweep, but it was sort of blown up in the backfield.

  8. “Things are never as bad as they seem, or as good as they seem.” Seems to me I’ve heard that (or something similar) somewhere in the past. When we lose, we uneducated fans want to know why so we focus on some things that caught our attention and offer our wonderful insight to the coaching staff so they can win next week. I’m glad they don’t take our advice. Instead, they go over the films, determine what when wrong and why, and make what adjustments we can based upon our system and our players. The last seven years is proof that their adjustments generally work much better than anything we can suggest. Still, it’s good that there are a lot of people out here that really care about Navy football.

    Let’s hope we have that perfect game this week! I think Ohio State was/is a better team than ND and we came very close then. ND CAN BE BEAT.

    Thanks again for educating us with another excellent post.

  9. Mike,
    Concur with just about everything you brought to light here, … including the conclusions.

    Even with all the “negative” things that happened (which includes the “WTF???” questionable decision to bring in RD on that early 4th and 1 play … which quickly evolved into a “bad” decision when Navy then ran the play that EVERYBODY in NMCMS knew was coming … imo), … Navy still was in position to win that game if Proctor makes the correct read and pitches the ball to Doyle on that 3rd &2 TO play with 5 minutes left. –> The play was right in front of him (as were the defenders), and pitching was the proper decision. No guarentees that everything would have gone “smoothly” after that, … but Doyle had a sure1st down on that play. It was shades of JB on numerous occasions in 2008 again.

    Beat da Irish!!!

  10. I don’t think that pitch is as open as you think. Proctor wasn’t tackled by his pitch key. He was tackled by a DE that was supposed to have been blocked. Proctor would’ve had to pitch pretty early to avoid being tackled, giving the pitch key the opportunity to adjust.

    I also don’t understand why people are griping about bringing in Dobbs for the QB sneak. The sneak is always run in situations when the defense knows it’s coming.

  11. Good job as always, especially on the LB confusion taking the same gaps. Looked like it was happening more than the one time you noted which really opened up the cut back runs by Pierce. KP had alot of mis-reads and the O line the same which really hampered the O on the short stuff.
    Toss sweep got us 8 yds the one time we ran it, don’t remember if we ran it more?
    Correct on the QB being bad, so you stunt the LB’s all day. As a former DB, looks our guys are slow on their reads of run vs pass. Way too late in this game of getting run support.
    Thanks again

  12. “Let’s hope we have that perfect game this week! I think Ohio State was/is a better team than ND and we came very close then.”

    Dave 69 –> I agree that on any given Saturday Navy is capable of beating Notre Dame, … but let’s please put your above statement into proper perspective.

    Yes we “came close” to tying OSU @ the end, … and played them tuff all of the game, … but realistically the Buckeyes had the contest “well in-hand”: Up by 15, driving deep in Navy territory with 6 minutes left to go in the 4th quarter. Then 4th down stop on the 15 yard line, next play surprise/unlikely 85 yard TD pass, “unforced” INT by Pryor a couple of plays later, … then on the 3rd play after that, Dobbs bolts 30-something yards to bring the Mids to within 2 points on the scoreboard. More of a testiment to Navy never giving up & that in today’s college football environment, one can never let down their focus because no lead is safe when talent exists on both teams.

    Kinda familiar to what happened in last season’s Navy-ND game with a little over 5 minutes left & the Irish “going in” for another score to cap off a seemingly lopsided win (by final scoreboard accounts).

    GO NAVY!!!

  13. Mike,
    Watched it again a couple three times –> Sure looked like the pitch was open enough??? Seemed like KP decided to “tuck it in” and try to bull over the defenders to get the yardage. I understand that insitu “real time speed” changes the perspective on everything.

    Dobbs hadn’t played (nor practiced much) in over a week, was cold coming off the bench, … and up to that point Proctor was running the offense adequately. Defense keyed directly on RD running a QB keeper, … and when they have the considerable size advantage on the DL, … make executing an effect push/block that much more difficult. That’s my point.

  14. 921, that was the only toss sweep. It was a pretty remarkable run by GGG, actually. With a clutch block by Bobby Doyle on a blitzing cornerback.

  15. I agree that Dobbs was cold and that it wasn’t necessarily a good idea to bring him in. I just don’t think that calling a QB sneak is cause for outrage. The defense would’ve keyed on Proctor there, too. Navy always runs the QB in these short-yardage situations. Defenses know this. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

  16. Mike – I’ll give you the first timeout. I guess it’s just frustrating when the play gets in late and the guys pretty much know what we’re going to run. But, we have a bunch of backups and this stuff happens in the NFL often, so I guess I can’t be too upset.

    By “steel curtain” I feel like Coach has so much confidence in the D that he honestly felt that if they milked the clock and had a decent punt, there was no way that Temple could drive on their D. While I like the confidence, there was no reason they could not have snapped the punt with 5 seconds on the play clock and saved the timeout.

    It didn’t matter in the end, but if there had been a KO return or a completed pass, it would have come back to bite him.

  17. Like a lot of you, I learned that “No excuse, Sir” was one of 5 basic responses. Having said that I think there was a real fatigue factor Saturday. Navy has played 9 straight weeks. Look at the last 5. Emotional win over AF, fly Houston, fly to Dallas, emotional OT comeback win in front of the former CinC, hard fought emotional win over Wake. Then you draw a good and motivated Temple with a chip on their shoulder. ND on the horizon and 9 weeks of physical and mental fatigue, to say noyhing of nagging injuries with no time to heal. How did Navy stay that close should be the question.

  18. My problem with the timeout calls is this… If you are going to run the clock down on 4th down and less than 5 yards, why not line up and at least try to draw them offsides instead of just standing around waiting for the play clock to go down to 1?

  19. Mike:
    Thanks for the excellent commentary.

    I view the issue from last Saturday, that will impact this Saturday, is Navy’s ability to make those 3rd and 4th down conversions…..Specifically, they need to be able to maintain drives. If they can’t sustain drives and keep the ND QB on the bench, it will be a long afternoon. With RB and Curry back, we have a shot and I don’t think RB will have an issue getting up to game speed.
    The other issue that shows up after you watch the game again for the 3rd or 4th time is missed tackles and blocks. Navy can’t whiff as much against ND and expect to win.

  20. Sure Navy did well going up the middle numerous times – particularly on first downs; however, QB and theOffensive coach in thepress box should have recognized early on the Temple defense ran a different defense along their front on short yardage situations to include pinching the tackles and scraping the LBers. Seemed like our offense never adjusted to this – something we used to do on the fly very well.
    Instead – we predictably ran the same play – we never adjusted to Temple’s defensive alignment on short yardage situations.
    It was Admirable that we were still in the driver’s seat with the ball, the lead and 6′ left in the game…yet – we still predictably did the same thing on short yardage…very frustrating.

  21. They didn’t run the same play.

  22. Thanks for the analysis. Yes, at least this reader appreciates your insight. You’ve been my prof of fb for 6 years. The loss was complex, as you aptly point out. But when they started running down the play clock and took the TO in the 4th quarter, with only a 3 point lead, I told my husband “Temple is going to win.”

    Temple hadn’t needed four minutes to put points on the board since the first quarter when AG, bless his heart, had the quarterback trying to pass.

    Leaving for the airport right now, headed to South Bend. I will behave in the stands (have a ND son now) unless Navy pulls it off. Then all bets are off.

  23. I agree with armchairsailor that fatigue is/will become more and more of an issue.

    These kids dig deep consistently in an incredible manner… Playing higher and heavier than the gameday program details.

    But at a certain point, I think that the deep fatigue doesn’t enable that extra burst/push… Or it causes confusion… Etc

    While I have nothing but incredible respect for the AD and coaching staff… I hope that our future scheduling enables some better recoup time during the season.

  24. Thanks, Mike. You are always spot on, and clearly separate facts from your opinions.

    I don’t like getting into coaching decisions but I beg to differ on going in a shell and not continuing to try some passes in this game. His first pass was obviously a good outcome- man wide open. He then made two bad decisions. The interception was particularly egregious because he threw into multiple coverage when he had a clear field in front of him when he stepped forward and could have gained 15 or 20 yards, minimum. As is turned out, I think the bad Temple punt nixed that dumb move, and the pass interference call bailed him out of the other one. Simple guidance from his boss to not throw too deep or into coverage would have sufficed. Lamar Owens was IMO a very efficient and SMART passer for Navy because he seemed to know his limitations and was not asked to throw the ball farther than he could. Owens rarely seemed to force a ball and chose to throw most often to wide open receivers. Chris McCoy was very similar. Anyway, shutting down Proctor disappointed me. Proctor is obviously no RD passing, but he strikes me as savvy, quick learner, and I think he was muzzled too soon.

  25. I decided to look at stats from the 2005 instead of my rosey memory and learned that Owens was 63 for 122, 1299 yds (51.6%), with 6 TDs and 8 INT. 8 picks does not sound like he made as many good decisions as I thought he did. I still think the plug got pulled too early on Proctor last Saturday.

  26. You call it pulling the plug, I call it not setting your quarterback up for failure.

  27. In retrospect, … I’m glad that he never actually released a forward pass in that Wake Forest game.

    Beat Notre Dame!!!

  28. We should have run the toss sweep on that 4th down play when RD was brought into the game. That would have gotten the first down.

  29. My hats off to the coaching staff for what they have done since PJ has left….but I think they need to be more agressive and willing to take risks with their play calling as they are getting a little too predictable. This is what PJ started to do after starting to get some success with the program, where he really started to loosen up more with the playcalling. I do sense that KN and staff are a little too conservative with their game time adjustments and need to consider some strategies to open up the offense more, with or without RD in the game.

  30. The year that Navy broke loose with all their offense was the year that PJ really opened up his play calling and took some risks and let his offense fly.

  31. I should just quit.

  32. The other piece that I would have liked to have seen in the game, especially when Navy put RD in at the end to try a final drive, would have been some rollout and pass plays. RD is almost always effective when he rolls out to pass vs. just back in the pocket. He also can maintain that run option as well. If KP can handle it from a technique standpoint, then they should have him do that more as well.

  33. There is no question to me that we are calling plays or making adjustments too conservatively this season…..

  34. You should spread the news!

    http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=240&f=2434

  35. I agree with Hardcore on that pitch. Bobby D picks up that first down and maybe more. But KP is young.
    Agree with you both on bringing in RD, cold, and with no notice that this was the emergency situation. If they bring him in and don’t run the sneak, I probably like it better. But I don’t bring him in cuz KP was doing fine. As KN acknowledged that was a big let down for the team.
    KP is not a passer. He is fine running the TO, but he needs a lot of work passing, even though he has made strides. Turning Mike’s words around, set him up to succeed. Short passes maybe, but not going downfield. Mario did a nice acting job to get the interference call, and the last pass was so short.

  36. KP took the snap on that play and promptly ran 5 yards backwards. He had no pitch relationship with BD because he was running right next to him. The pitch key could basically play them both at the same time. I really think that making that pitch would be a lot harder than it looks.

    Regardless, obviously Coach Jasper didn’t call the same play in that situation every time as some are contending.

  37. We’ll never know what would have happened if Proctor pitched because he didn’t. It could have ended up like BC in 06 and we’d all be bitching about that.

  38. It looks like many of Temple’s big runs were in a unbalanced line formation where the ball ran back to the weak or lite side. I am just curious and I don’t know the Navy D’s linebackers keys but were they just regularly blowing assignments on those formations. After review, the Temple running back doesn’t look to be that great but there is a lot of real estate open when both the pulling guard and lead blocker are running through the whole untouched. On several others where it seems that the D has shifted properly for the unbalanced, the play seems to go nowhere.

  39. sheesh – temple needed a FG at the end of the game to beat a (now) 1-9 Miami (OH) team tonight. Sigh – we just had a really bad game.

  40. I stand by some of my earlier claims. Temple is just an OK football team.

    Navy as always has a small margin of error. If Navy converts on just two of the short yardage situations, we probably win 35-17.

  41. Amoungst all this negativity, how about GGG becoming the next GGG? He has the speed and will have the experience to become on one of the greatest slot backs in Navy history. Maybe in a year he’ll become a kickoff/punt return threat.

  42. I’d like to see GGG run north and south without all the dancing. No doubt he is quick / fast, and maybe that worked in high school, but it has not worked a single time this year. I can see why IJ wanted GGG on the field with Curry out and Stukel still at QB – we need his speed. But he has the potential to do a lot more than he has so far. In any case, I think we have a great set of slots for the future – GGG, Stukel, Curry, and a few we have not seen yet.

    As for Proctor, I recall that Kaipo was not much of a passer in 2006, but got a lot better each year. I suspect we will see the same from KP.

  43. Temple-Miami score did not surprise me. Short week for Temple, they thought they had finally arrived. They were up 19 points at the end of the third quarter and then quit playing (I watched it on-line). People forget that this game is played by kids and they make mistakes.

  44. “Apples & oranges” navyrugger –> That was a 3rd and 16 yards to go play (at about midfield) in the bowl game vs BC, … with I’m fairly certain the Eagles out of time-outs. Taking a chance in pitching the ball not a smart call (by PJ) nor execution (by Kaipo).
    This was a 3rd and 2, … where imho the QB failed to make the correct read on the play, … thus getting stopped short of the 1st down resulting in the coach’s decision to punt. Assuming BD catches the pitch & doesn’t immediately slip, he probably makes the 1st down, … and perhaps Navy runs out the clock for the “W”.

    My sentiments side with pipehunter on the earlier 4th & 1 call. Not “outraged”, .. just scratching my head in confusion.

    Beat da Fightn’ Irish!!!

  45. Mike – Does this offense have any short pass plays over the middle? I don’t remember seeing any in the last few years. I know we have short passes to the sidelines and deep passes over the middle but can this offense run a slotback down and in for say 5-9 yds like a tightend? The reason I ask is that late in the Temple game it seemed to take the receivers a long time to run their patterns and Dobbs got sacked or flushed waiting for them to come open. I realize Temple was looking for the pass in that situation and I realize that Navy’s money is with the run but what would it hurt to throw short over the middle once in a while?

  46. 24 it doesn’t matter what the down and distance was. I’m just talking about the play, not criticizing the play call, which was fine. The reason we did not make it was execution. We agree on that.

    As the play worked out, KP could have pitched it, but he did not. I agree that if Doyle received the ball in stride, he should have gotten the first. But the pitch relationship was crap…..KP was too deep or BD was too shallow. So who knows what happens if he pitches? If we fumble, we hear complaining about not keeping it up the middle and punting and making their O beat our D. Perfect situation – no matter what happens complaints are sage and insightful.

  47. Pitch relationship was not good, but I put my money on Bobby Doyle to make it work.

    Agree 83 that KP will get better. Gotta deal with the here and now.

  48. rugger,
    Don’t totally disagree with your point, … and in reality not “complaining”. My original post was just to say that even with all the “bad stuff” that went down for Navy that game, … execution on that one play (given when it occurred) could have very well meant the difference in Navy winning, or losing.
    Looked like (to me) that KP chose to take on the two defenders vice attempt to pitch to BD (who wasn’t covered), … but hind sight & a camera view from above almost always “20-20”.
    GO NAVY!!!

  49. Just once on 3rd and 2 or even 4th and 1 (on the enemy’s side of the field) I’d like to see a play action pass!

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