View from the booth

Pete Medhurst offers his views on Navy and the rest of the college football landscape

Navy will have to wait 21 days before it plays another football game--not an ideal situation for a team full of players who need game speed reps. On the other hand, the time of can be more educational for the young Mids as well, with a coaching staff eager to teach and refine their skills.

To say that Duke is improved based on its one win against division I-AA VMI remains to be seen. They also lost to East Carolina and Virginia Tech. Preparation shifts abruptly for Navy from Rice to Duke and sets up the Mids for a long stretch of three of four on the road now in October and November, including a visit November 12 to South Bend.

One team who may be looking to repeat the type of success Navy had a year ago is Vanderbilt. Don't look now, but the Commodores are 3-0 and facing I-AA Richmond this week. Ironically, Vandy Coach Bobby Johnson and Navy Coach Paul Johnson both left successful I-AA programs, and now are starting to make people believe in winning at places that recently were not very competitive I-A programs. Vandy's Johnson left Furman after losing in the I-AA final in 2001.

"We realize we have to play very well to beat anybody and that includes Richmond this week," Johnson said.

Vanderbilt alumni and fans are starting to get giddy about the teams 3-0 start, but Johnson is doing a great job of keeping things in perspective.

"Naturally we're concerned, but we've been dealing with that with them (players), and we hope we're smarter than that and that's the good thing here at Vanderbilt, we've got some pretty smart kids." We've got a lot of evidence on film over the first three games where we can improve and that's what we have worked on this week, where we can get better. We feel that if you can get better at what you do you don't have to worry as much about the other team.'' Johnson said.

Vanderbilt is fortunate to have four-year starter Jay Cutler at the helm, a fact not loss on Johnson.

"He's seen everything he can possibly see. I think that helps him a lot," Johnson said.

Johnson compares his rise at Vanderbilt to the job he did at Furman, a place with a rich academic environment that played in a tough Conference (the Southern).

"It was a calculated risk. We're not over the hump yet, but hopefully if we continue to win more, the recruiting will continue to get better,'' Johnson added.

This week's column features a little fact and opinion.

Fact: Wake Forest leads the ACC in rushing.
Opinion: Maryland may only beat Temple the rest of the year. I think the Deacons will get it done for Jim Grobe this week.

Fact: Vanderbilt, with wins over Richmond and Middle Tennessee State, will be 5-0.
Opinion: Circle November 12 on the schedule. Vandy hosts Kentucky, a sixth win perhaps, and bowl eligibility, the last since 1974 in a 6-6 tie with Texas Tech in the Peach Bowl.

Fact: Tennessee was ready to forfeit Saturday's game to LSU if it couldn't be moved to Monday.
Opinion: What the hell was LSU thinking with Hurricane Rita's track still in so much doubt, leaving it up to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive to make the call. It should have been a no-brainer, logistics or no logistics.

Fact: LSU and the Vols will play on Monday night.
Opinion: It will be a much better game to watch then Green Bay-Carolina on ABC.

Fact: Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green was being touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate at the start of the season.
Opinion: Why?

Fact: Utah lost at TCU.
Opinion: The head linesman in that game, Patrick Turner, should be fined his game check for his horrible call, ruling a wide receiver who ran out of bounds untouched still in bounds, forcing Utah to use its last time out on a drive in regulation before it needed too.

Shorts: USC plays the 24th ranked team in the country this week (Oregon) -- and is a three-touchdown favorite.... Rice and Navy will play October 22 and Southern Miss and Houston will play November 11 or 12 in Hurricane Rita postponements.


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