Buddy Green is Still Smarter Than Me

Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green decided to completely ignore the suggestions I gave him in my column leading up to the Arkansas State game. As a result, the Mids held the Red Wolves to their lowest point total of the season, proving once again that the bend-but-don't break strategy works just fine – most of the time…especially when your opponent makes enough mistakes.

A big part of the bend-but-don't break philosophy is that if you make the other team snap the ball another time there is always a chance they will make an error. Call it common sense or math 101, if it takes a team 12 plays instead of four to go 80 yards, that's eight more opportunities for a penalty, fumble, interception, or some other drive-ending offensive blunder.

Just prior to the game, I decided I would try to make some type of note on each Navy defensive play to see what types of trends might emerge. Having had a chance to pour over my notes for a bit, it seems to me that there were eight pretty big mistakes that Arkansas State made on offense that helped the Mids prevail. Don't get me wrong, the Navy defense played a much better game than in the previous three games, but the Red Wolves definitely did them a few favors. In the nine defensive series that I tracked, Arkansas State blunders helped halt five drives, stout Navy defense thwarted two, and the other two resulted in touchdowns. I'm betting that is a typical recipe for a successful bend-but-don't break effort.

Here for your pre-Thanksgiving feasting pleasure are my completely unedited notes from the first nine defensive series. If you read closely you will even see some comments about crowd noise – or lack there of.

Note: I tried to start each comment with the number of defensive players who were sent after the quarterback on each play. By my count, there were two plays when Green elected to rush more than four defenders.

Navy Defense

First Series

Rush 4: First play – fumble recovered by Middleton…caused by own lineman

Second Series

Rush 4: 19 yard pass complete

Rush 3: Frazier causes loss of 4 on pass complete

Rush 3: Incomplete…Wyatt had nice hit

3rd and 14…Rush 3…nobody open Burge tackle after gain of 3

4th and 11: Punt

 Third Series

Rush 4: Gain of 13 on rush up the middle

Rush 4: Gain of 11 on dump over the middle

Rush 4: Rush of 14 up the middle

Rush 4: Rush…no gain (Tuani)

Rush 4: Sack Yarborough (loss of 5)

3rd and goal from 13: Rush 3…incomplete pass, overthrew open receiver

4th down: FG attempt

Fourth Series

Rush 4: Run for 8 yards to right side

Rush 4: Run for 3 yards, first down

First and goal…Rush 4…Bush with tackle…gain of 1

Rush 4: 7 yard TD right up the middle


Fifth Series

Rush 4: Pass to outside…gain of 7

Rush 4: QB keeps…gain of 6…easy first down

Rush 4: 31 overpursued…gain of 9 on run

Rush 3: gain of 7…easy first down

Rush 4: No pressure…pass complete for 6 yards

Rush 4: 8 yard rush up the middle

Rush 4: D-line not ready…flag (holding on offense)

Rush 4: rush…54 missed tackle gain of 4 or 5

Rush 4: pressure, but qb escapes and gets first down…lots of linebackers defending one guy…no one came up to get qb

Rush 3: good play…only gain of 2 on run…holding on offense (Wyatt was mad on the play for some reason)

1st and 20: Rush 3…great pass but dropped…inside the 5

2nd and 20: Rush 3…no pressure…dropped pass

3rd and 20: Gold side all sitting…Rush 3…pass complete, gain of 7

4th and 13: Going for it…Rush 3….qb scrambles, short of first down, fumbles…weird play

Sixth Series

Rush 4: Gain of 10 on pass…

Rush 4: Gaping hole…gain of 23…Middleton out

Rush 4: Run…gain of 3 (Tuani on tackle)

Rush 4: QB keeps around the end…first down

Rush 4 (blitz 2 LBs): Run to right…gain of 3

Rush 4? Frazier was covering nobody…came in to make tackle

QB keeps…played them to run….good stop by Frazier and Simmons

FG Attempt

 Seventh Series

Rush 3…good coverage on the outside (Edwards and Frazier) – loss of 3

Rush 3: No pressure…pass complete for 11 yards

3rd and short:  huge cushion on wrs...easy first down up the middle…rush 4

Rush 3: NO pressure…11 yard completion – too easy

Rush 3: short gain on completion…Bush made nice play

Rush 3: No pressure…gain of 10…first down

Rush 4: 2 yard run up the middle..Burge on the stop

Rush (4 wr sets)QB keeps…Simmons nice play…

3rd and 6: some crowd noise on blue side…3 wrs to the right – incomplete pass (rb was wide open to the right)


Eighth Series

Rush 4: Run up the middle for 3 yards

Rush 3: Pass complete for 4 yards

Third and long 3: Rush 4…pass complete bubble screen gain of 8…easy first down

Rush 4: 11 yard run around corner

Rush 4: run for 3 yards

Rush 4: Bubble screen, easy first down but holding on offense

2nd and 12: Rush 3…sack by Yarborough

3rd and 21: Rush 3: no pressure – pass complete for 17 yards

4th down:  punt

 Ninth Series

Rush 3: Coverage sack…Yarborough

Rush 3: No pressure again…pass complete for close to 10 yards

Third and 5: No pressure…complete for 7 yards, first down

Rush 3: No pressure…run up the middle, big gain…first down

Rush 4: No pressure…broken up by frazier

Rush 3: No pressure…pass complete ….no fumble

3rd and 1: rush 4, bring 2 more…easy first down…gain of 4

Rush 3: Big run on first down…

Rush 4: gain of 4 on run

Rush 4: No pressure…incomplete pass in end zone

3rd and 7: Rush 3, no pressure…easy first down on pass complete

Rush 5: No pressure, easy TD pass to the front corner
(I did not make any comments on Arkansas State's last possession which resulted in an interception.)

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