Here are three keys to look for if we are going to see a Navy victory over their Air Force Academy rivals:
1) Get out to a fast start
One of the keys for Navy so far in 2015 has been the team’s ability to get out to a fast start and put pressure on their opponents early. The Mids have been devastating in the first half of games especially, methodically moving the ball down the field and breaking the spirit of the opposition early as they find no way to slow down the option attack. A big key to this has been the play of the offensive line who have really come together as a group and have been able to overcome early injuries to give Reynolds and the skill position players a solid foundation to work off of. If Navy can get a two possession lead early it will be hard for Air Force to fight their way back into the game..
2) Linebacker U
The linebackers have been up and down so far this year, but this game is the first real test of the second level of the Mids defense. The defensive line has been so solid in the first three games that the linebackers have almost had it easy with very few occasions where a team has been able to get an offensive lineman out into the second level of the defense. Air Force, however, runs the option and part of the fundamental flow of this offense is to get those big guys on linebackers and make it difficult for them to get into the play and make tackles. Tackle numbers and mistakes by the linebackers are going to be important for Navy to stop the Falcons offensive attack.
3) Overcome Joaquin
The Mids usually move indoors to a more option inductive climate when the heavens open during practice. This week though Halsey Field House has remained empty even when the rain has been coming down and Ken Niumatalolo tries to prepare his players for what they could face on Saturday. Hurricane Joaquin is expected to make landfall around game time, bringing wind and rain which will affect the offense of both teams. Reynolds will have to be sure in every handoff and every pitch if he is to keep the Mids rolling toward a 4-0 start to the season.