Off the top, I’m concerned. I don’t want to hear about this “being Navy”, either. I can hear you now. “Jordan, it’s Navy”, “It’ll be an easy one”, “You can’t spell”…While I will cop to that final one, I refuse to believe the prior two. Haven’t we learned? Don’t you remember two out of the last three games between the two? If memory serves, even the game Notre Dame won (in M&T Bank two seasons ago) was really close. I don’t care what you Notre Dame optimists say, I am legitimately concerned about Navy and here’s why:
1. The funky offense – Call it the triple option, call it the wish bone, call it what you’d like, but I call it trouble. It plays right out of the hands of what the Notre Dame defense does well and into the hands of what they do poorly. Navy tries to create the big play through trickery on the ground. What has Notre Dame done poorly in all of their losses? Stop the run and prevent the big play.
However, it’s not been all bad. The Irish have done a good job stopping the run in the last few weeks. Even against Stanford, they didn’t do a horrible job in that aspect of the game. Last week Navy gained over 253 yards rushing. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs gained 62 of them. Not to make an outlandish comparison, but remember how much trouble the Irish had with Denard Robinson? Although he may not be as explosive as the Michigan signal caller, Dobbs can be looked at as the same type of player….uh – oh
2. Walking wounded – The injury bug is here! Out are Kyle Rudolph (obviously) and Theo Riddick. Hurt, but playing, are Michael Floyd and Armando Allen. This greatly affects the offense.
First, the running game. If history tells us anything, Armando Allen doesn’t play well when he’s not 100%. This is less of an obvious statement than it appears. Some players, when they are hurt, see a decrease in production but are ultimately still able to play at a somewhat high level. Armando disappears. Last week Allen got 0 yards on 3 carries. Don’t expect much more then that. Maybe 5 yards on 4 carries? 6 on 7? If the running game will have any success, it’ll be blog – favorite Cierre Wood having it.
Don’t be as concerned about Michael Floyd. If he is healthy enough to contribute, he’ll play well. He is coming off a three touchdown game, you know! Look for T.J Jones to get involved as well.
3. Don’t sleep on Navy’s defense – They held a June Jones offense to 21 points last week. That was SMU’s lowest output of the season. In fact, Navy has held an opponent to under twenty points three times this year. I’d be very concerned about Notre Dame winning if they are held in the teens offensively.
4. The mystique is gone – Navy isn’t afraid of Notre Dame any more. Decades upon decades of intimidation were erased in three years. This has suddenly become a winnable game. Never underestimate the power of being in teams head. One win is only that, but after last season, how can Notre Dame be in Navy’s head anymore. If anything, it might be the other way around for some of these Irish.
Sidenote: I will be at the game this afternoon. Not going to give out my seats because I don’t want anyone heckling me or my father, but I will say I’m in the upper deck and will be drinking a diet cola throughout most of the afternoon.
I’m interested to see a few things. One will be the crowd split. It’s technically a Navy home game but, although I’ve never met any, rumor has it that a lot of Irish fans live in the tri – state area. If you don’t have a rooting interest, but somehow got tickets anyway (maybe you want to see the new stadium or something), I assume you’d be rooting for Navy. Even though it’s just football, I’ve always found it strange to root against “The Navy” or “The Army.” Not that I won’t do it today, I’m just saying it’s a little strange.
Two will be the amount the crowd is into it. New York/New Jersey isn’t a college football hot bed. Will anyone else care when Armando Allen goes down at the line of scrimmage? Will anyone else be saying “where’s Dayne!” if Crist does a mid – game disappearing act? Who still thinks Charlie Weis is the coach? These are the things I wonder about.
The Pick- Navy 27 Notre Dame 19
Maybe I’m just in a negative mood, but the injuries will do that. I think the Irish have too many men out, or at least down, to get anything going offensively. Navy’s defense is underated and Notre Dame’s offense is known to go into witness protection. I don’t trust the defense’s ability to stop this offense enough to make up for what will be a different looking (and not for the better) offense.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1