Navy OC Reflects on Army Interview, Season

Navy coach Ivin Jasper just completed his first season as the team's offensive coordinator and he reflected on lessons he has learned as well as his priorities for the upcoming year. He also spoke about a certain head coaching interview that needed to be discussed. Jasper does not think Army considered him a serious candidate. So what did they interview him for? To get Navy's secrets?

Regarding the Army Interview…

"It's tough in a way because it is an opportunity to be a head coach. I know it is at a place that is your archrival but at the same time it's an opportunity to go to that next level as a coach."

"Based on the interview, (I think) they considered this the (type of) offense that they should be running, and they are high on trying to get someone in there who has done it. They talked a lot about Coach Johnson and what he has done at (Georgia) Tech and at Navy."

Seems like you should have been a serious candidate…

"And if that is (the offense) they wanted to run (at West Point), I thought I was a perfect fit for them. But still at the same time a big part of me also did (question) how serious can they be? (I thought) maybe they just want to get me in there and pick my brain and also Coach Green's brain to try and figure out what we have done (at Navy) so they can get things turn around up there – get their own blueprint…or just take our blueprint and use it to turn their program around."

"I think that is what it came down to. It was a great interview – a great experience but I think it was mostly about (Army) trying to figure out what they can do to get their program turned around."

"I think the Army-Navy rivalry played a role in it too. I truly don't think they were that serious. I think they just wanted to get us in (the room) and talk about what we do here – how we recruit – what is important to us. They asked a lot about going out and getting speed (for this offense). A lot of what they already knew was wrong with their program – I guess they wanted to hear from the horse's mouth…from guys who have done it and have gotten the kids (for the offense)."

Did you divulge any of Navy's secrets?

"We didn't get into the offense much – no x's and o's. They wanted to know about recruiting and what our focus is. They asked about Coach Johnson as a head coach and what his thoughts were when he first got here. (Army) knows what their problems are, but (I got the sense) that they want to get it right this time."

Are there clauses in coach's contracts that prohibit them from coaching at their rival's institution?

"They do exist. I have seen cases like that. I have heard of it without a doubt. We don't have it in our contracts. Coach Niumat and Mr. Gladchuck were both for me interviewing for the job. They wished me luck."

"It was weird…of all places to get an interview. The bottom line is if you are trying to be a head coach and the opportunity comes, you look at it hard and if you feel as though it fits you, you have got to pursue it."

Did you talk to Buddy Green about the interviews?

"We talked about it before. I know I thought it was weird – them interviewing us both, but at the same time it is an opportunity for me to get some experience interviewing. You know, they could have been serious about it or they couldn't have been serious about it. I don't know."

Thoughts on interviewing right after the game…

"It was disappointing with the loss (to Wake Forest) – especially for the seniors. I had time to drive my family home. It was fast as far as the turnaround but I definitely wanted to do it."

Any players give you a hard time about interviewing with Army?

"The players didn't know before the game (about the interview). I thought about telling them but I decided not to. I got a text (Monday) from (former Navy fullback) Adam Ballard who said, 'Coach, don't go to Army.' I don't think any of the (current) players knew."

Why withdraw your name?

"It was just a feeling I had. My thinking was the interview went well and if they want to (hire me), why look any further? It's kind of like recruiting. If they come to your school and they like it, why go anywhere else? And I didn't hear from them at all on Sunday or (Monday), so I got the feeling it was what I thought – that they weren't serious about it. So I just wanted to get my name out of it."

Do you want to be a head coach some day?

"Yes, I do. Hopefully the opportunity will come along again sometime, but right now, I've got a great job. I live in a great place. My family loves it. My kids love it. I have a great job. I've got great (players), and it is a great program."

Would you agree with the statement that the offense was inconsistent this season?

"Without a doubt…We weren't hitting on all cylinders at times and at some other times we were. But if you look at it, we were in the top 50 in offense; and we led the nation in rushing. It was just a matter of people getting spoiled by seeing 30 or 40 points a game or something like that."

"Our defense got better and we were winning games 24-17 and 23-21, and we didn't have to score 30 points, but people overlook that. Last year they saw us go up and down to score, and this year we took more time to score – we put some long drives together."

"We did, though, struggle at times on offense, but at the same time our defense stepped up this year and bailed us out of some games. And I don't have a problem with that. I don't have any problem with our defense doing better and getting all the accolades. I don't mind that. It is a team sport. After what Coach Green went through last year, I'm happy to see them do better this year without a doubt."

"I expected us to be more polished on offense, but I didn't expect Kaipo to not be playing for most of the year."

What happens next for you?

"We will hit the recruiting trail…try to go out and find some good players – try to find some speed. I'm probably going to go (into work) this week. I'm always trying to get ahead. I'll probably just go look at our depth chart and start taking some names down and go look at what we've got coming back. And just try to start devising a game plan for next year. Next year starts right now. We have a tough schedule next year as well – it doesn't get any easier."

Any lessons learned from your first season as offensive coordinator?

"One thing I can take from this year that I'm kind of questioning myself is (regarding if) I truly focused on coaching the quarterbacks as I had been in the past five or six years? This year I had to have my eyes in different places to make sure things were being done right. It kind of took away from me coaching the quarterbacks. I'll definitely look at that."

Priorities for 2009…

"I'm ready to go to work already. We have got to get Ricky (Dobbs) ready, and we have to find a second and third quarterback."

"I have to make sure we can find three guys at quarterback that can get the job done. And at the same time I have to get Ricky ready to go. I think he has a chance to be a good player for us. He has to improve over the off-season – get in and watch plenty of film. And I think he will. I think he will be a great guy on the field – the kids will rally around him. He's got all the intangibles, but now he just has to bring all the other things (together) to complete the package."


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