Thursday, November 06, 2003

ND/Navy analysis from a guy who's been woken up to "Anchors Aweigh" every August morning for the past 22 years:

This is going to be a disciplined football team. Craig Candeto joins Jared Lorenzen as the only D-IA players with 9th year senior status. The leading rusher is fullback Kyle Eckel. I've heard that Navy has instituted a bit of a spread offense, so I'm assuming most of Eckel's carries come between tackles out of shotgun and flexbone sets. I'm confident Ced, Darrell, and the other tackles will have a decent game against him. They'll give up a few yards but overall get it done. The defensive ends need to get in the backfield to disrupt the option, even if it means just pushing your guy backwards. Kyle B will be missed. As witnessed in last year's Air Force game, the strong safety will have to be huge. Can Bolen do it? Will Bible, or even Freddie Parrish, be able to help? Derek Curry is often seen out in coverage, can he help? Candeto throws for about 100 yards a game, so the corners can't be caught napping. Navy likes to score early, outscoring opponents 81-16 in the first quarter, then playing fairly evenly the rest of the way. Against the option, all of last week's gang tackling (that this column lauded last week) might hurt this week. Know your man, cover your man, tackle your man.
On the other side of the ball, establish the run. If we don't get behind early, we can stay on the ground and bully the Midshipmen. Navy only gives up 150 yards passing a game, but they haven't faced a real threat yet. They do, however, have 12 picks. This game will be won on the ground with a few big "gamebreaker" passes. Our offense, in theory at least, is bigger, stronger, and faster. Now, act like it.
On special teams, Navy has neither gained or given up a high amount of return yards. Once again, discipline is key. They've employed two fairly accurate kickers, and have had 3 kicks blocked.

Look for a big game from: Darrell (a la Pittsburgh), Ced, Landry and/or Pauly, VA, Freddie Parrish, Vontez as a returner, the O-Line, Julius (the bruiser), Omar, and Quinn as a leader.

ND 31, Navy 21. These are never easy.

Now I'm signing off to look up the correct spelling of "discipline" in the dictionary.