Because Navy’s offense looks different than most other offenses you see on any given Saturday, it isn’t very widely understood. Broadcasters who call Navy games are sort of forced to fall back on the same cliches and misconceptions about the spread option that have been tossed around for years. Most of the regular readers of this blog are aware of the Five Myths, but that’s hardly an all-inclusive list. There’s plenty that can be tacked on to it. Among the items that can be added is the idea that Navy’s offense isn’t a “come from behind” offense. That’s because people think that every Navy drive takes ten minutes, and that they can’t throw the ball. So in theory, that’s the game plan to beat Navy: get an early lead, and they’ll either run out of time, or be forced to pass (which they can’t do) in order to come back.

There’s a lot that we might not be sure about when it comes to the 2010 edition of the Navy offense, but if there’s one thing we can safely say it’s that they have gone out of their way this year to show that this theory is crap. The Mids have developed the unfortunate habit of falling behind, but have managed to put together more than their fair share of furious comebacks.

  • Maryland: The Terps took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but Navy tied it up by the end of the third quarter.
  • Louisiana Tech: Navy trailed 23-16 at halftime, but scored 21 unanswered points in their 37-23 win.
  • SMU: Held scoreless in the first half, Navy outscores SMU 28-7 in the second half to pull out the victory, 28-21.
  • Duke: Looking up from the bottom of a 24-0 hole at the end of the first half, the Mids scored 31 points in the second half– 24 in the 4th quarter alone– before ultimately falling short, 34-31.

Coach Niumatalolo likes to keep the clock running by putting together long drives, but that’s by choice, not because of a limitation of the offense. Since the clock stops to move the chains after each first down in the college game, there’s no need to drop the option if you get off to a slow start. If you do want to throw the ball, half of the Navy offense is based in the run & shoot; it’s a much more robust passing game than it’s usually given credit for.

This isn’t 3 yards and a cloud of dust. The spread option isn’t a “gimmick offense,” it’s a scheme that is as capable of scoring points in a hurry as any other.

15 thoughts on “ADD IT TO THE LIST

  1. GTBlogScott

    Amen to this. If I have to read another article talking about how teams “figure out” the offense, I’m going to puke (I’m a GT guy).

    Here’s one this week as we prepare to play VaTech tonight:

    The writer says Iowa’s HC was able to “figure out” the option after a month of study, and apparently is sharing his magic secret with the ACC. What the writer didn’t say was that Iowa’s talent on the DL and LB was far superior and they blew us up.

    I love the “can’t come from behind” storylines as well. I mean, tell me what offense excels at coming from behind? Which offense is designed to work at its best when playing from behind? It’s ludicris. If an option offense scores 31 points per game, it means they score 31 points per game. The stats show just as many or more “big plays” in this offense as others. If this was a grind-the-clock offense, then it would average 20 points a game.

    These stories do get old. Your “5 myths” is required reading for anyone before even talking about triple option football.

  2. GoalieLax

    put it on my tab

    too bad we couldn’t rally all the way last weekend. god, i was envisioning a miracle in a quarter filled stadium…so close

  3. Keith

    Mike – I know I’m just a fan and not a coach …. but one thing I don’t understand about Navy’s version of the TO is why do they run such long pass routes when they are trying to catch up late in a game. Take Saturday’s game against Duke. Most of the passes were way down field though I do remember one short pass to the sideline to start the last drive. Can the slots run short patterns across the middle? It seemed to me that Duke had ample time to get to Ricky because the route running was so deep. The only short routes seem to be at the sideline. Why don’t we see some short routes across the middle? Please forgive the ignorance on my part, I just want to understand this offense better. Thanks

  4. All those plays had shorter routes, too. They weren’t running four verticals on every play or anything. Some of that is on the QB, although those shorter routes weren’t necessarily open.

  5. usmc53

    The ESPN commentators did it again just last night in the VT-GT game. Georgia Tech was down by a touchdown late in the 4th quarter, and one of the geniuses in the booth said, “Keep in mind, this option offense is not a come-from-behind offense…”

    Georgia Tech then proceeded to drive the field twice in the 4th quarter and almost pull off a miracle against a better team.


  6. Eric

    I remember a while back someone posted some stats from a few years ago that showed we had more under 2 minute scoring drives than something like 80% of FBS teams…does anyone have those numbers handy?

  7. DJ

    “Come from behind” is such a vague phrase. Is Navy’s “come from behind” win against Missouri equal to their “come from behind” win against Wake this year? I think we can all admit that Navy’s TO offense is not designed to go 80 yards with a minute on the clock and no timeouts. Nobody’s offense is designed for that.

  8. Clutch Hitter

    Obviously, the Navy offense can come back. The real question is – Is Navy still playing the triple option when Dobbs throws the ball 25 yards downfield on every down, without so much as a play-action fake?

  9. 89inthehouse

    Come on Bird Dog, ,just admit it is a high school offense, and get over it already!! ;o)

    Love the victory today; wish we had a few of those points for last week!


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