This week's Q&A is brought to us by Mike from The Birddog, your premier source for news about Navy athletics.
1. With all the success Navy has enjoyed recently, a 2-5 record has to be disappointing. How would you say Navy's season is going and to what do you attribute the slow start?
The season has obviously been a disappointment. I think most people realized that Delaware and Western Kentucky were a far cry from what the Mids would face later in the season, but I doubt anyone saw five losses in a row coming. The line between success and failure is a thin one at a service academy, and this season has certainly served as a harsh reminder of that. But the season isn't over, and however unlikely it might seem, Navy still has a chance to dig themselves out of it.
I don't think the team is too much different from other recent Navy teams. With the exception of the disaster against Southern Miss, the games have been very close. Make a 3rd & long stop against South Carolina, or an extra point against Air Force, or field goals against ECU and Rutgers, and this season looks a lot different. They didn't, though, and 2-5 is the result.
2. I can't say I'm disappointed to see Ricky Dobbs and his 2-1 career record against Notre Dame graduate. Has the offense changed much with Kriss Proctor under center?
Not really. Proctor is a different kind of quarterback. He's a lot faster than Dobbs, but he isn't the passer that Ricky was. Not that you'll notice much, since I think Navy only threw two or three times against Notre Dame last year. The Navy offense is what it is. It evolves over time, but the changes over time are usually so subtle that they aren't even worth mentioning.
3. Staying on the quarterback theme, do you think Proctor's injury will have a big impact on the game? Will starting Trey Miller change Navy's gameplan much?
Well, Kriss was the starter for a reason. Miller is a sophomore who is still learning the finer points of the offense. Coach Jasper will probably have to tailor his playcalling to adjust for what Trey is comfortable with. Miller has a pretty good arm, so we'll probably see a lot more than two or three passes from Navy this year.
4. Navy's flexbone offense is what scares Notre Dame fans the most, but what are the strengths of the Navy defense? What player or players should Irish fans look out for?
Navy's defense has not played well, to put it mildly. It's hard to single out something that they do well. One bright spot is defensive end Jabaree Tuani. Tuani is one of those guys who has all the skill in the world, and would be playing for Tennessee if he was 3 inches taller. If Navy draws any holding penalties, it'll probably be from someone trying to stop Jabaree.
5. Who ya got?
I apologize for cheesing out, but I don't like to do predictions. It would be especially hard to do now considering that I don't really know how Trey Miller will handle his first start, nor do I know how the coaches will handle Trey Miller. I do think the game has the potential to be high-scoring. Notre Dame probably won't have too many problems moving the ball. If Kriss Proctor was starting, Navy wouldn't have much trouble either, assuming that the Irish would stick with the defensive game plan they used against Army and Air Force. Notre Dame used a 4-4 with the free safety playing the pitch against both teams. Navy has had most of its best offensive games against that kind of defense. The question is whether or not the Navy staff will be able to do everything it would like with Miller at the helm.
Thanks again to Mike! Be sure to check out The Birddog for all things Navy!