Off the Yard: Speaking of...

OTY returns after a two-week hiatus during which I brought you exclusive news, interviews and live blogs. In that span, I continued to hear from parents, alumni and even current mids about my listening/learning tour regarding the new brigade policies. Well, the tour heads to Navy/Marine Corps Stadium this Saturday when I'm sure I'll hear more opinions at the tailgates I hope to get invited to.

Speaking of the Brigade…

 

The folks over at BallStateInsider.com asked me to put together a column on "what Navy is all about."  I'm not sure I gave them what they were looking for though, as I pretty much wrote what was on my mind after the Rutgers game.  If you would like to read the column entitled, "The Brigade's Team," click here.  At some point we may choose to post it on GoMids.com, but I'll leave that up to the heavy thinkers or the senior web leadership.

 

Speaking of Rutgers

 

Since I was in the press box, I did not have the opportunity to hear the profanity-laced tirades fans belted around Rutgers Stadium as being reported by several New Jersey media outlets this week.  Obviously such behavior makes one sick to their stomach and all Navy fans should be appalled.  However, not all Rutgers fans were disrespectful cowards.  As a matter of fact, some of them reminded me of what makes the Midshipmen different from 116 of the other Division I-A football programs (excluding Air Force and Army).  After the game, waiting above the tunnel to greet the Navy players as they exited the field were about a hundred or so Rutgers fans adorned in their scarlet red garb.  They were cheering at that moment, not for the random Scarlet Knight player heading towards the locker room, but for the opposing team.  Some fans were yelling, "Thank you for your service," while others were chanting, "Beat Notre Dame."  I'm pretty sure this type of scene is rarely duplicated anywhere in sports, and it was nice to see that in the birthplace of college football some of the Rutgers fans "get it."  What they get is that the young men who they were cheering for were about to change out of their current uniform in favor of a much more important one.

 

Speaking of Saying Thank you…

 

Due to it being game week, I'm not sure all Navy fans had a chance to read my interview with Coach Paul Johnson's wife, Susan, and their 14-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn.  If not, here are the links to Part One and to Part Two.  I did receive a lot of positive feedback in both my Offtheyard inbox and on the message boards.  First of all, thank you, but second of all, and more importantly, I think your gratitude should be directed at the Johnson family.  They were extremely gracious to give their time to GoMids.com and to allow Navy fans to get a glimpse of a side of the Johnson family we rarely, if ever, see.

 

I actually teased at the end of Part One of the interview that I had asked Susan Johnson whether or not she thought her husband would ever coach at Army.  And as any good journalist would do, I didn't reveal her answer in Part Two.  Just so you know when I asked Susan if her husband would ever coach at West Point, she paused for a second, then said, "Ah…no."

 

Speaking of Army…

 

I couldn't help but wonder if Paul Johnson was in Stan Brock's position what would he have said to the media after escaping with a win over Rhode Island.  After ensuring he gave proper respect to the opponent, I think he would have described his team's offensive performance as "pathetic" or "lethargic" or maybe he would have even pulled out the old reliable descriptive phrase: "freaking awful."  I also think Johnson would have taken some of the responsibility for the debacle.  If you are curious what Johnson had to say after his second game as Navy's coach (65-17 loss to NC State), you can read his comments here.  If you are curious what Brock said about Army's performance after his second game, you can read them here.  Two completely different coaching and leadership philosophies were on display by the two coaches in what I would think were two equally abysmal performances.  To those skeptics who say, "Army won, so Coach Brock should be positive," I give you Johnson's post-game comments from Navy's narrow victory over UMASS last year.    

 

I'd love to ask Army's coach about his philosophy but he and the rest of West Point athletics are still off-limits to this columnist.  According to my latest communication with West Point, once the "NCAA changes its policy" they will "comply" with my request for access to their program.  Good grief.    

 

Speaking of Press Boxes…

 

I'm going to be cutting back on the live game blogs a bit as I delve deeper into my journalism tool box to do more reporting on the game.  I'll still be bringing you my live, from the press box, observations, but I'll also be filing a post-game story.  So that will require a little more attention to detail and maybe less second-guessing of Coach Johnson during the game.  Something tells me, we will all benefit from my change of focus.

 

If you would like to share your thoughts on this column, send David an email.

 


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