Swezey: Kaipo boosts Navy offense

After Navy's performances in the past two weeks, Army will be under no illusions about the task that lies ahead. Eastern Michigan and Temple came out in eight-man fronts, i.e. four linemen, three linebackers and a safety within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

Against EMU, Navy attacked with play-action passing. Against Temple, however, the Mids showed something else. Navy went to its "Twins" formation, also known as the "Over" formation, with two wide receivers lined up on the wide side of the field. (Just fyi, the wide side of the field is also called "field side"; the short side is called "boundary side.")

This formation did two things: One, it got Temple out of the eight-man front. The Owls had to keep their backside cornerback in place to prevent the option to that side. But the outside defender on the field side--usually a linebacker--had to cover the receiver in the slot, i.e. he had to move out of the five-yard tackle box.

The other thing it did was it spread out Temple's defense. Essentially, Navy's wide receivers and playside slotback did a very good job of blocking on the tosses (on Hines's touchdown, for instance, Campbell cleared out the middle linebacker) and there was acres of space for Navy's speedy slotbacks to run.

After one of the touchdowns, the CSTV cameras caught one of Navy's fullbacks on the sideline talking to his teammates. He was smiling and saying "wide open, wide open."

My best guess is Temple had prepared for Navy's regular formation, or "spread" formation, the one with one wide receiver on each side, and they were going to be ready for passing. (Remember, Kaipo's 49-yard run came about because Campbell was double-covered downfield.)

Their coach's quotes after the game indicated that they were scrambling to make adjustments on the sideline, and the process was exacerbated when the offense kept going three-and-out.

They appeared to make some adjustments at halftime, but by then the horse had been let out of the stable.

Assuming the weather is decent, Navy will feel comfortable using either the play-action passes or the twins formation against Army. But Navy has at least one other trick up its sleeve against an eight-man front: The "Heavy" formation, the one where a wide receiver lines up at tackle on one side and the other side features a guard and two tackles.

(Navy almost certainly will use the 'heavy' formation if the weather is bad next Saturday.)

One more note on the offense: Kaipo has done a very good job distributing the ball. Players like Campbell, Hines and Shun White have really become part of the offense with Kaipo at the helm. This is not meant to be a criticism of Hampton. Bottom line, the team won under Hampton's direction, and the play-calling was a little different for him because he was such a good inside runner.

But I very much doubt that we will see Kaipo have a 34-carry game the way Hampton, McCoy and Madden did.

Navy has depth at slotback. The rotation on one side is Singleton, White, Hines and Byron McCoy. On the other side, Navy pretty much uses Campbell until he gets tired. There are plenty of other slotbacks who can step in--Shinego and Doyle in particular--and don't forget that Forbes is likely to be back in time for the spring.

So there's no room for any of the slotbacks to get complacent. And why would they, considering Kaipo is bringing out the best in them.

Christian


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