Today we continue our preview to the preview series. Each week we will take three teams that Navy will face in 2016 and quick hit on strengths and weaknesses of each. These mini-previews are going to be set out in the reverse order of the team’s projected strength for the 2016 season. Last week we checked out the three weakest teams on the schedule in Fordham, Tulane and Army. Today it is the turn of teams nine through seven.
- The skill positions are stocked and quarterback Matt Davis is a handful with his ability to run the ball.
- Plenty of young players are now experienced and battle tested. SMU played the 16th most freshmen in the nation last season.
- The recruiting base is unreal. Chad Morris is already hailing his class of early enrollees as program changers.
- The SMU defense is just awful. Allowing 45.7 points per game (as they did last year) cannot happen at any level of the game.
- The offensive and defensive lines each lost key players that will be difficult to replace.
- Starting quarterback Davis missed the back end of the spring with a foot injury. This hurts for a unit that needs all the reps it can get.
- Was the defense just that bad or were injuries a factor?
Prediction – SMU will be better, but the defense still won’t be nearly good enough to stop Navy.
- Tulsa can score in bunches. The Golden Hurricane put up at least 34 points in 11-of-13 games last fall.
- Quarterback Dane Evans is the real deal. He threw for 4,332 yards last year in his first year in the system of head coach Phil Montgomery.
- The receiving corps and running back rotation look to be loaded. This is a team where every offensive player must be accounted for on every play.
- Tulsa gives up points in bunches. The Golden Hurricane allowed at least 30 points in 11-of-13 games last fall.
- The offensive line is a mess and it was made worse by the decision of prospective fifth-year senior and starting right guard Chris Wallace to not return to the team.
- The secondary has been bad enough for a couple of years that opponents are picking Tulsa apart. The Golden Hurricane also lost the second leading tackler in program history (safety Michael Mudoh) to graduation.
- Will Tulsa maintain their turnover luck in 2016? Defenders broke up 66 passes, but only intercepted eight last fall.
Prediction – Navy will have to be at their efficient best to win this one as Tulsa will not stop scoring. By this point in the season the Mids offense should be firing on all cylinders.
- The defense is good, one of the best in the conference, and it mixes bend-don’t-break principles with playmakers.
- UConn is as good as anyone in the country at making the opposition play at their tempo and by their rules. It leads to frustrating, but effective, football.
- The defense is outstanding in short yardage and goal line situations.
- The offense cannot move the ball or score. UConn uses the offense purely to give the defense a break before punting.
- This is a run first offense that doesn’t run the ball very well. The Huskies need far more out of the running backs than 3.6 yards per carry.
- The offensive line is big, but ineffective for its size. A quarter of UConn rushes were stuff at or behind the line of scrimmage.
- While pretty much every AAC team is hiring offensive geniuses, UConn is going heavy on defense. Will Navy be able to adapt to such a different style of opponent?
Prediction – UConn is built to slow down the spread attacks and high passers in the conference. Navy is neither of these. Thus the Mids should win a game that the Huskies are not built for.