Friday, November 02, 2007

Anchors Aweigh | by Pat

Here's a quick Q&A with Adam from the always excellent Navy blog, Pitch Right.

1. It seems that Navy has had a few notable injuries this year and even QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada has been knocked around the past fewgames. Which injured players are not expected to suit up against ND and what is the impact of their absence?

Adam: Well defensively we're scraping the barrel right now. Losing FS Jeff Deliz and ILB Clint Sovie for the year against Rutgers was something of a death blow, and judging by the defensive play since then I think we can say that the team has never really recovered. These loses were compounded against Pittsburgh when Ketric Buffin, one of our multi-use defensive backs, went down. Buffin had already intercepted four passes when he broke his arm. As I wrote on Pitch Right the other day, the loss of those three guys is huge because A) They were all veterans on a very inexperienced defense B) They were the guys who knew how to line everyone up correctly and c) They actually tackled people. To make matters worse, there is still some unpleasant ambiguity in regards to backup safety Kevin Snyder, who was doing o.k. filing in after Buffin's injury but appears to have some undisclosed injury. Rashawn King, our best cornerback, did suffer a minor injury against Delaware but should be back for the game on Saturday. As far as the offense is concerned Kaipo did suffer a fairly serious "stinger" against Wake Forest that affected his play last weekend, but he should be getting back to full speed. The offense will have its full compliment of players, but guys are so banged up so I would not be surprised to see substitutions during the game, especially on the offensive line.

2. As we head into the part of the season where coaches start to get fired, what is your take on the near annual rumors about Coach Paul Johnson leaving Navy for so-called greener pastures? To your knowledge has he seriously considered any offers in the past and are there any potential opening this year that might result in him leaving Annapolis?

Adam: All we've heard up to this point is message board speculation, and I can't emphasize that enough. The rumors and out-of-town speculation have become commonplace, and despite renegotiating his contract last season it seems as though Navy fans are as worried as ever about the possibility. He has entertained jobs in the past, but that's all it's come to, entertaining. We'll see what happens. I don't think it's an imminent thing, but like I've said in the past it's tough to get a handle on where Coach Johnson is. We as Navy fans can only hope he decides to make a legacy of what he's got going here.

3. The knock on Navy has long been that they lack the athletes to keep up with the talented teams on their schedule. Knowing what you do about the desired traits for an effective option attack, if you could have a fantasy draft of current college football players, who would you pick to man the Navy offense skills positions and why?

Adam: You know this is a tough question to answer because I honestly believe that guys like Reggie Campbell, Zerb Singleton and Eric Kettani are everything you'd want from the skill players in this offense. It's not as easy as just saying "well, obviously Darren McFadden" because you know what, I don't think I guy like him could play in this offense. You've got to be fundamentally sound, and you've got to be willing to dive into someone's legs to block them. It takes an unselfish, highly motivated guy and on offense we have those guys. If I was going to have a fantasy draft pick, I'd much rather use it on defense where Navy's talent deficiencies are much more apparent. That all being said, I'd like to see what a guy like Javorski Lane would do in this system at fullback.

4. Finally, seventeen months ago you predicted that 2007 would be Navy's best shot to win against the Irish. Obviously the Irish are doing their part by putting a horrible offense out on the field, but as we noted in a previous post, you have big concerns about Navy's defense. What is your prediction for the outcome of the game on Saturday?

Adam: I think Navy can win, but the more I think about this game the more I seem to convince myself that Notre Dame is going to score 60 points and beat us in a wild shootout reminiscent of the Delaware game. I know a lot of Notre Dame fans are skeptical of their own offense, but when you put the competition level of both teams in perspective I think it's safe to say that Notre Dame will have it's highest offensive output thus far this season. The key for us is going to be to get those 2-3 stops in the game, and if the defense can do this I think the offense can take care of the rest. Normally I'd give you a prediction, but considering how close this game should be I don't want to do anything to jinx it. It will be close, it will be back-and-forth, and it will likely come down to the wire. That's the way every Navy game has been this season and I don't expect this one to be any different.