Welcome to another edition of the Irish Blogger Gathering. This week’s round of questioning is presented by the IBG master of ceremonies Subway Domer.
We will get right to the business of answering Subway’s questions about the 84th consecutive game between Notre Dame and Navy.
1. Notre Dame routinely gets blasted by the media and other fans for scheduling Navy every year. It gets especially out of control when Notre Dame decides they want a portion- or all of the Commander in Chief trophy when they put either Air Force and/or Army on the schedule. Would you like to see this series continue or blown up? Why? If the series was forced to end, who would you replace them with that isn't on Notre Dame's schedule in the next decade. Bonus points if you come up with someone other than Alabama or Texas.
I enlisted the help of OFD contributor Michael Collins for this question as he is on a scheduling kick.
Who routinely blasts scheduling with Navy? Make them walk the plank!! No sense of history, nor do they really care about Notre Dame. Trolls, haters and reactionaries aside, Navy epitomizes the same ideals that Notre Dame stands for - country and excellence in athletics and academics. Their offense is always the most difficult to prepare for (ask Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech foes) and fights until the end (ask Ohio State). We could replace Navy (98% graduation rate) with a football factory like Georgia (41%), Alabama (44%), Cal (44%), LSU (49%) or Florida State (52%). Make those schools stand and deliver better academics to their athletes or wait in line for a home-and-home every once in a while.
2. Before 2007 (and even still) Navy was treated like the neighbor kid with a terminally ill disease that does charity work and plays basketball against you in the driveway, by the media and fans when it came to their game against the Irish. Personally, if I was a Navy player, I would be pissed at the lack of respect given because of all of the "respect" given. Know what I mean? Seriously... answer that poorly phrased question. (I'm a pirate not a wordsmith).
I don’t think Navy suffers from any real or perceived lack of respect. I have many good friends from "the boat school" and I would guess that just about every one of them actually welcome that perceived lack of respect.
At the service academies you are dealing with players that have a completely different mental makeup than those at most other schools. These are highly intelligent players that are immersed in a process designed to equip them to serve as military officers. That continuous education is broad but I can assure you that process quickly ingrains a few things that causes them to embrace their underdog role.
- The Midshipmen are aware that any "lack of respect" or perceived weakness actually presents them with a tactical advantage in any engagement.
- Their environment presents them with a seemingly never ending series of uphill battles designed to bring them to the final realization that success is attainable in any situation no matter what the odds. The role of giant killer on the football field presents them with one more such training opportunity.
- Lastly I would submit that they are much more concerned with themselves than they are about you. They know that if they all execute and do their jobs they can win the football game. Every program attempts to instill this but it comes naturally to Navy.
3. It seems like the injury bug has really hit the Irish this year. We're not talking about leg amputations or eyes popping out of the socket, but there is a trend of frontline players getting injured. Bad luck, or is this staff pushing the envelope with some of the players? Navy is skilled in the dirty tactics art of the chop block. Do you have any special concerns this week in terms of injuries?
Bad luck. We are talking about football after all. The difference between "hurt" and "injured" can always be debated but in the modern era schools have plenty of high paid medical professionals around to assist players and coaches with those decisions.
As for the chop blocks they are just one more type of block that requires the Notre Dame defense to execute what Coach Diaco calls "Block Destruction." The risk of injury is always a concern but as long as it is legal it is tough to call it dirty. Like many other elements of the game you just have to deal with it.
BONUS: Give me your prediction for this weekend. Good. If Notre Dame continues to win, when (homonyms) will they creep back into the top 25?
ND 27 Navy 17
I think the #2 WR’s & TE’s fill in admirably and Crist continues to improve. I also like Cierre Wood to have a nice game. Most importantly I think the front seven steps up and gets it done.
I don’t think ND will jump back into the Top 25 unless they beat Navy, Tulsa AND Utah. One week at a time…..