And then there were three. For the Independents I’m going to cover it backwards. I’ll start with "The Rest" (Army, Navy) then finish up with the last of the Independents in Notre Dame. I also decided it would be fitting to end the series of Lee Corso pictures with one of that jackass crying. Without further adieu……
Army & Navy at 114 & 117.6 respectively- Talent wise all the Academies are in the same boat. These programs are built on great highly intelligent kids that are short on Division I size and speed. It all comes down to coaching and the scheme for the Academies as program health is a given. After several years of floundering in an ill advised pro set the Black Knights hired Cal Poly’s Rich Ellerson to take over and install his old school triple option offense. They need that scheme to compete. Case in point is Navy. With the exact same type of players the Middies have been the poster children for doing more with less for the last several years. Paul Johnson got it cranked up and Ken Niumatalolo has kept it going. They regularly beat more talented teams by controlling the football game with what seems like a never ending series of 4 yard runs out of a flawlessly executed triple option offense. It may look boring but it’s a highly effective equalizer.
Notre Dame at 15.4- Chances are if you aren’t a Notre Dame fan you might be surprised by this number based on the last couple of seasons. If you are a Notre Dame fan the number in of itself probably just lent credence to the last guy you saw going off on a "Fire Charlie" rant on your favorite ND Message board. But there’s always more to the story and in the case of the Irish peeling back the onion a bit reveals all kinds of interesting factoids. So many in fact I decided that the last few seasons of Notre Dame football are a great modern day example of just how big of an impact this whole talent thing can have on a program. Hence, the final post in this series will be just that, a Talent Analysis Case Study of Notre Dame during the Charlie Weis era.