Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Notre Dame Football 2008
Issue 10: Navy

Navy Rush Offense vs. Notre Dame Rush Defense

As usual, Navy runs the triple option to perfection. And as usual, at least in recent years, the quarterback and fullback position are getting the bulk of the carries. 2 Jarod Bryant has taken over at quarterback following an injury to 10 Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. But both Bryant and Kaheaku-Enhada are day-to-day for Saturday's game. The two have combined with 4 Ricky Dobbs to average 25-26 carries per game and 106 yards per game.

This year's bruising fullback is 36 Eric Kettani, who is averaging 13-14 carries and 75 yards per game, and 5.5 yards per carry. Backup fullback 38 Kevin Campbell is averaging close to two carries and seven yards per game.

The slotbacks have been exceptionally effective for Navy this year. 26 Shun White is averaging 11 carries and a team-leading 92.7 yards per game, as well as 8.4 yards per carry. 33 Bobby Doyle is only averaging one carry per game, but he's making it count with a 14 yards per carry average. 29 Greg Shinego is averaging just over one carry and six yards per game.

White, Bryant, and Dobbs lead the Middies with six rushing touchdowns apiece.

Notre Dame will have its hands full with a team averaging 308 rushing yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. The good news is that the regulars on the defensive line - Pat Kuntz, Ian Williams, Justin Brown, Ethan Johnson, and Morrice Richardson - at least outweigh Navy's fullbacks. The bad news is that the linemen will have to deal with Navy's cut blocks, which they hopefully have seen a fair dose of in practice this week.

Safeties Kyle McCarthy and David Bruton lead the team in tackles, and will be looking to repeat the type of performance fellow safety Gerome Sapp had against the midshipmen a few years back. But they'll need some help from a young linebacking corps, who can hopefully stay disciplined against any misdirection plays.

Notre Dame Rush Offense vs. Navy Rush Defense

Notre Dame's rushing game has struggled its way to 115.6 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry. Armando Allen has been the best of the bunch, averaging 11 carries and 50.8 yards per game, with a 4.5 yards per carry average. Robert Hughes is averaging eight or nine carries and only 28.4 yards per game, or 3.3 yards per carry. James Aldridge is averaging seven carries and 27.4 yards per game, for a slightly better 3.9 yards per carry.

Navy's defense is giving up 116 rushing yards per game. They're lead by outside linebacker 5 Corey Johnson, who has 62 tackles on the season - 5.5 for a loss. None of Navy's linebackers come in at over 225 pounds, so it will be interesting to see if the Irish counter with Allen's athleticism or Hughes and Aldridge's size in this game.

Navy Pass Offense vs. Notre Dame Pass Defense

Predictably, Navy's QBs don't throw much, averaging only four pass attempts. But when they do pass, they have been very effective, with a 61.7% completion rate. Bobby Dobbs has been the most effective (85.7%) in the small sample size of seven passes. KNKE has completed 72% of his passes, while Jarod Bryant has completed 56.2%.

89 Tyree Barnes is Navy's leading receiver. The 6'2" wide receiver has 15 of the team's 37 receptions and two of the team's five touchdowns on the year. After Barnes, ten Middies have caught at least one pass, but no more than four. Also, no Navy player other than Barnes has multiple touchdown receptions.

All passing defense stats can be thrown out the window when it comes to the triple option. Notre Dame may be best assigning their best cover corner to Barnes and asking the other ten players to defend the run.

Notre Dame Pass Offense vs. Navy Pass Defense

Jimmy Clausen has struggled in the middle of the season. He's still averaging 22 completions on 37 attempts, 258.8 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1-2 interceptions per game. More importantly, he's still the starter.

Michael Floyd and Golden Tate are still the top two receivers and are still averaging around five catches per game. Armando Allen is averaging four catches per game, and David Grimes (when healthy) three. Kyle Rudolph is averaging over two catches per game, but as of late Clausen has been forcing the ball to Rudolph despite the coverage, especially on routes over the middle.

Navy is giving up 256 passing yards per game to the Notre Dame offense's 259. Navy's tackle for loss leaders are defensive ends 59 Matt Nechak and 63 Jabaree Tuani, with 7.5 and 6.5 respectively. Nechak, a physical specimen at 6'4", 249, also leads the team with four sacks.

Safety 8 Wyatt Middleton is second on the team with 61 tackles, while linebacker 51 Ross Pospisil and corner 18 Rashawn King lead the Midshipmen with two interceptions apiece.

Special Teams

19 Matt Harmon has been very good for Navy this year, converting 14 of 16 field goals with a long of 49. Even more impressive is that one of his misses was a block, meaning it wasn't entirely his fault. Harmon has made all six of his attempts under 30 yards. Notre Dame's Brandon Walker is still at 8 of 15 with a long of 48.

35 Kyle Delahooke has been a very serviceable punter for the Middies, averaging 40.7 yards per kick with a long of 55. He has had two punts blocked in 26 attempts, though. After a rough week at Boston College, Notre Dame's Eric Maust is now averaging 40.4 yards per punt and still has a long of 54.

Navy's kick return duties have been shared by 28 Greg Jones and 22 John Angelo. Jones, a receiver, is averaging 17.2 yards per return with a long of 25. Defensive back Angelo has had more success, with an average of 22.2 yards aided by a long of 57. Ryan Burkhart is averaging 61.1 yards per kickoff for the Irish. Couple that with a solid 16.5 yard return average given up by Notre Dame, and opponents are getting an average start on the 24.

Golden Tate recently took over kick return duty from Armando Allen. Tate is averaging 20.9 yards per return with a long of 29. 45 Jon Teague is Navy's strong-legged kickoff specialist. Teague is averaging 65.8 yards per kick, with seven of his 46 kicks going for touchbacks. Opponents are averaging 22.3 yards per return, giving them an average start on the 27.

Wide Receiver 85 Mario Washington is Navy's punt returner. He's averaging 7.9 yards per return with a long of just 16 yards. Golden Tate has also taken over punt returns from Armando Allen. Tate is averaging 8.1 yards per return with a long of 42.

Notre Dame Players to Watch

James Aldridge, Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, David Bruton, Kyle McCarthy


Notre Dame 28, Navy 24