First off I will take full responsibility for everything that happened yesterday. It was the first time I started writing during the game. I started writing during halftime because I thought that Notre Dame had addressed the only big concern I had coming into the game which was a slow start. I was in the middle of talking about how they not allowing themselves to have a let down after an emotional win was big for this team when Navy started on their opening drive of the second half. All jokes aside I will not be doing that again but my fears were accurate, they just reared their ugly head later than I expected. I thought the noon kick could contribute to a slow start that could get us behind on possessions. The unfortunate thing is by avoiding that issue we got ourselves a comfortable lead. So while we didn’t fall into a slow start, we fell into a slow finish. And it wasn’t just a slow finish, some of the numbers from the second half are downright atrocious. Is this a sign of Notre Dame reverting back to their Marshal and Stanford ways?
The special teams showed up and did their thing. They added another blocked punt making that seven on the year. I think we all can agree that we need to hand Brian Mason a blank check. Whatever we can do to keep him needs to be done. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a team who’s special team’s unit week in and week out is a game breaker. The only thing I can think of as a comparison is the ‘06, ‘07 Bears and Devin Hester. Having the ability to block a punt at this rate has the potential to flip game momentum against any opponent and that is priceless. Defensively yesterday is a bit hard to decipher. On one hand there were multiple plays, running and passing where we allowed a weak Navy offense to move the ball in big chunks. On the other this is the first time playing Navy for this staff with this team. That by no excuses the second half performance at all. It does however give context to the fact that while Navy is below average team, they can be difficult to prepare for. The only thing that worries me coming out of this game for the defense is tackling. It has been an issue in almost every game and it was the reason that Navy’s option attack was almost able to take us down. I think it can be fixed but I am concerned that it is the second week of November and it is still happening this much
The start by the offense was going to be something I took away as a huge bright spot around halftime. Even though we knew their pass defense was one of the worst in the country I was impressed with Drew Pyne and his receivers. He was moving in the pocket, Lenzy with the catch of the year, it was all coming together. Then the second half came, and the offense totaled 2 yards. Even if you take your foot off the peddle completely you should at least fall into 10 yards in a half against Navy. With a backup QB we do not have any room to mess around, you cannot rely on your defense completely shutting down an opponents offense every week. It is not a situation we wanted to be in but it is something we have to get use to. On the bright side we know it’s possible not to gain almost any yards in a whole half of a collegiate football game and still come away with a victory. Although I would ask we never try it again.
The issue with breaking down a game against Navy is that no matter the outcome it’s really hard to determine what you should take away. Obviously due to their unique style they can make good look really good, and bad look really bad. There was plenty of both yesterday and to be honest I come out feeling about the same as I did after last week. Obviously I do not view the games themselves the same, but the way I see this team as whole is still the same. As I said this was the first time for this staff and team playing Navy together. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt this time. Especially since I think if Pyne could’ve gotten a few balls out faster in the second half this game ends up being 45-24 or something like that. I know it’s hard not to hit the panic button, but just remember the reason all of you all should want this game off the schedule. It only gives Notre Dame the opportunity to look bad, there was no scenario where they would’ve left this game with any credit other than another one for the win column, which we still were able to get.