The Houston Cougars are once again off to a good start to the season and are on the road this weekend to face off with Navy in Annapolis, MD.
The Cougars currently sit at 5-0 on the season and are looking to continue the momentum against a unique foe in Navy.
In this week’s Know Your Foe segment, we talk to Don Yates, publisher of GoMids the Navy site here on the Scout network.
Cougars Digest: What is one key position group or player on each side of the ball
do you think needs to have a big game against Houston to win?
Don Yates: Because of Houston's balanced offensive attack, I think the Navy
linebackers need to have a great game.
That is one position on the Navy defense that wasn't decimated by graduation following the 2015 season.
They'll need to be at their best to keep Navy in the game whether stopping the run or dropping back into coverage.
CD: Houston’s defense has been among the nation's best so far in run
defense but they obviously face their toughest test in that regard
this week in Navy. Do you think the uniqueness of Navy’s offense helps
them fair better Saturday against Houston?
Yates: With option type offenses like Navy has, you either know how to defend
it or you don't. For instance, Vanderbilt held Florida to 13 points on
Saturday. A couple weeks earlier Vandy was blasted by Georgia Tech,
38-7. The difference? Vandy had no answer for the option.
Last year the Mids scored 31 points at Houston while gaining 147 yards rushing
and 459 yards total offense. Air Force runs a similar offense and
knows how to stop the spread option attack as so does Army.
If the option is working it does give Navy a chance to win any game. However,
if the Mids get behind like they did last year, it makes things really
difficult and things can get ugly.
CD: Tom Herman brought up the pageantry surrounding a Navy home game
this week. What are a couple of things you think the Houston team will
find most unique during pre-game?
Yates: Watching the Brigade of Midshipmen is probably the most exciting part
of game day. Knowing that you are looking upon some of our nation's
finest young people who have chosen to serve their country is
You also have the flyovers and the usually humorous game
day buttons that folks wear. It'll be interesting to see what they do
for the Houston game. If you make it to town for the game, for
restaurants check out Harry Browne's or Carrol's Creek.
CD: How do you think Navy will approach the defense of Greg Ward Jr.
and the decision to defend his passing skill set or his running?
Yates: Goodness, that's a scary thought; he is really something. Not many
have been able to stop Ward.
If you can just slow him down or contain him 20 percent of the time, you are doing really well. I'm sure Navy defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson is going to be working late every night this week preparing for Ward.
CD: How might Navy try to get Jamir Tillman involved in the game in an
effort to loosen the Houston defense.
Yates: Tillman is by far Navy's best receiver and probably has a shot at
playing in the NFL. He's got 15 more catches than the Mids'
second-leading receiver. Tillman is athletic, has great hands and is a
big target at 6-foot-4.
Last season he had 162 receiving yards at Houston. Navy's new quarterback, Will Worth, is a solid passer. I think you'll see Tillman being thrown to very often, especially if
Houston starts to over-focus on the Mid's running game.