I just finished watching the game on DVR delay, and a few things stand out to me. First of all, let me say I’ve lurked for a long time on this board and the old board before the split from scout. I just very rarely feel the need to share my thoughts, but I feel inspired after this one.
I’ve seen a post that attributes this loss to the rumors swirling around coach Herman. I can guarantee you this loss had nothing to do with that. It was a perfect storm, but we just flat out got beat. Let me explain.
The first factor that can’t be ignored is playing in the middle of a hurricane. That will always favor a running team, especially an old school triple option team. The reason being the defense already has to take a split second to make a read before reacting to the option. The strength of our run defense lies in flowing downhill to the ball without thinking too much. The option already requires some hesitation to play your read, and when you factor in a slippery field from the rain, that means the defense is playing on their heels and can’t flow like they need to. It also lead to a safety on the bad punt snap. Advantage navy.
The second factor is special teams and turnovers. Usually we’re the ones dictating that aspect of the game. But tonight, we turned the ball over three times, and gave up a huge kick return after our first touchdown which lead to their first touchdown. One of our turnovers was a pick six, so we gifted them 14 points there. We executed fairly well on offense, hence the 40 points. But it’s hard to win when you’re giving the other team points.
But I feel the number one reason we lost was because of housekeeping issues with our own players. What I’m referring to is Tyus Bowser being out because Matthew Adams punched him in the eye, and Steven Taylor missing the game because of the dreaded violation of team rules. Repeatedly through this game, Navy was able to gash us on the edge because we didn’t have anybody to play the pitch. I refuse to believe navy would have been able to set the edge like they did with a heat seeking missile like Taylor on the field. Bowser also is a very gifted pass rusher, which I think translates well into playing the run on the edge. Navy doesn’t have the success they do with those two out there.
I just want to stress that I don’t think this is a repeat of the 2011 conference championship game. The rumors around Herman did not cause us to lose this game. I hope the message he tells his guys is that even with everything going against them, we still could have won this game. I don’t know what Steven Taylor did, but whatever he did caused him to be benched for this game. Our own guys are fighting each other. I hope he tells the guys they could have taken care of their own business as the favorites, but they didn’t. For whatever reason they couldn’t handle themselves as the favorites. Now I hope he can galvanize them to come together and stop the stupid mistakes, a la Florida in 2008 after the Kentucky game and Tebow’s famous speech. We can say goodbye to the playoffs, but i think we can still make a NY6 game if we win out and beat a good Louisville team and get a little help with some navy losses.