Listen, I have the utmost respect for anyone who chooses to enter one of the military academies and serve our country...but that doesn't mean we should pull even one punch when we line up against them on the football field.
Over the last few years we've chosen to handle the Middies with kid gloves and the result has been our first two losses in the series since Staubach was in Annapolis. We've played listless football, almost as if we owed it to them to take it easy. As one person on Rivals so aptly put it, "played like they were lining up against 11 Jesuses and didn't want to hit them too hard lest the stigmata start gushing."
It needs to stop and it needs to stop today. When Holtz arrived in '86 the Irish had lost to Air Force FOUR YEARS IN A ROW. Lou said he'd never lose to a service academy--and he kept his word until his last meeting with Air Force 10 years later. Brian Kelly needs to draw a similar line in the sand. Of course we respect all the Mids for their higher calling upon graduation, but between the sidelines they're a bunch of cheap shot artists who deserve to be SQUASHED. I'm hoping that the defenders saw this clip over and over again this week:
This year's Navy team isn't as strong as the ones over the past four or five years. They're ranked #8 in the country in rushing yards but they've had issues maintaining offensive rhythm, which is reflected in the fact that they're ranked 96th in scoring offense (21.1 points per game). The Mids' interior offensive line has had serious issues, limiting the effectiveness of the fullback dive that destroyed Notre Dame last year. Against DI-AA Georgia Southern they averaged less than three yards per carry because they failed to control the line of scrimmage.
The Irish are banged up but the reserves that will step in are still bigger, stronger, and faster than the opponent. Look for the defense to come up big today with Ian Williams and Manti Te'o leading the way. The time of possession won't be as slanted as much as people think because Navy's offense won't be rolling like it has in the past. I see this playing out a lot like the 2004 game in the Meadowlands when the Irish overpowered the Mids 27-9 in a yawner.
Notre Dame 27
And in closing...Middies, guess what? Manti Te'o doesn't care what your uniform says--he's still going to destroy you.
GO IRISH, BEAT NAVY