Ok, so this shouldn’t be too much of a game to talk about. Notre Dame and Navy is about tradition. It’s about to programs who exemplify honor in different ways, but they both do so at the highest caliber. I will definitely trash on as many ND opponents as I can, but I won’t do that to Navy. While the goal is always to win, the mindset and post-college goals of Notre Dame players, just like every other major Division I team, are so much different than those that Navy players have. And it goes without saying that Navy’s boys of fall are setting themselves up for a mission that is so much more important than anything football can offer.
Now I’m done being sappy. Look, this is an automatic W. Navy is a tough team that adores playing old-style football. They run the triple option, they play physical, and they’re always a well-conditioned team. Honestly, they put more points up on the Irish than they realistically ever should, considering the difference in talent level. If you ask me, the Midshipmen’s most notable player is senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds, from Texas. I feel like he’s been at the Naval Academy for like 15-16 years. He’s either started or played significant time every year he’s been at Navy- this kid does have talent. And even though he only has 25 career touchdown passes coming into Saturday, he is not inept at passing in the slightest. He doesn’t turn the ball over, he knows the playbook inside and out, and his leadership is exceptional.
Notre Dame’s goal shouldn’t even be to win this game as much as it should be to practice the little things. I don’t discount the possibility of the underdog winning, but I think everyone on the planet should know how the final score of this one will look. I want to see them use this week to try some interesting things with DeShone Kizer. Coach Kelly has kept the play calls safe with his young, relatively inexperienced signal caller. That has to stop. I want to see them try running the option more effectively; I want to see them roll him out on set plays; I want to see him throw more intermediate passes. He played excellent against Clemson last week, and next week against USC is going to be a tough one start to finish.
Notre Dame should also give more touches to their other running backs, in my opinion. I know what we have in CJ Prosise. He didn’t have the best game last week because he was the focal point of Clemson’s defensive strategy- stop Prosise, stop the Irish. Let’s see Josh Adams and Dexter Williams. They did well against UMass, so they proved their worth. Get them touches so that way it’s harder to key in on Prosise. As for the defense, set a goal for points allowed. The Irish’s run defense has been horrid this year. Keep the Naval rushing attack at bay (pun not completely intended). Set a goal for how many yards and points you want to allow. Because you can’t start slow against USC next week; it’s what lost you the Clemson game.
In the end, this is a game to practice and to experiment. Coach Kelly most likely knows that, but he’s got to prove it.