Seven Questions for the 2009 Football Season

I usually ask myself a question or two each day about the upcoming Navy football season. The main reason for this daily ritual is because I have the 2009 schedule posted directly in my line of sight at my desk and it is always a pleasant distraction to think about Navy football. Of course if you expect that I ask myself

the typical ‘how many games will the Mids win this year' questions, you would be right. However, I also tend to come up with some weird ones. Here is a sampling of both.

 

 

Will Navy's defense be able to contain Terrelle Pryor?

 

Imagine reading the following headline following Navy's nationally televised opening game against Ohio State on September 5th: Dobbs outshines Pryor; Mids shock Buckeyes. That would be nice, but in order for that to happen, Navy's defense will have to find a way to stop Terrelle Pryor. As a freshman, Pryor went 8-1 as a starter with his lone loss coming against Penn State. He can beat any defense (including Navy's) with his arm as well as his legs. Whether or not Navy can keep him in check will probably go a long way to answering the question: Can the Mids shock the football world?

 

Will Ivin Jasper open the offense more for Ricky Dobbs?

 

The over/under on the number of times Navy fans ask this question prior to the first snap of the season is one million. During my recent film session with Coach Niumatalolo he hinted at the need for Navy to open up the passing game a bit more this season, in part to take advantage of Dobbs' exceptional arm strength. However, Navy's quarterback still has a lot to learn about the triple option offense and how much Jasper wants to throw at him right away is definitely to be determined. My guess at this point is that the playbook could expand week-to-week as Dobbs grows into the role of the number-one quarterback proves that he has command of the offense.

 

Will either the Pittsburgh or Rice games be moved to a mid-week game and be televised on ESPN?

 

This question, thanks to Navy SID Scott Strasemeier, has a simple answer: no and maybe. First of all, according to Strasemeier, neither game will be moved from Saturday, which means for the first since 2006, Navy will play all of their games on the weekend. As for whether or not they will be broadcasted on ESPN that is to be determined. It is highly likely, according to Strasemeier, that the Rice game on October 10th will be picked up by CBS College Sports; however no official announcement has been made. There is also a strong likelihood that the Pittsburgh game will be picked-up by the ESPN network. That announcement could come before August. That would leave only two games on the schedule (at SMU on 10/17 and at Hawaii on 11/28) without any television commitments. And I speak for all Navy fans when I say, that's two too many!

 

Will I be able to watch the Notre Dame game while on a planned vacation to Disney World with my family?

 

This is going to be a tough one to pull off for more than one reason. The game will be played on Saturday, November 7 at 2:30 p.m., and my family is scheduled to be on our first Disney World vacation with our two young children. And to complicate matters even more, my daughter's birthday is that same day. There is probably a zero percent chance that I will be able to watch the game live which will break a streak of 15 years in a row of viewing the Notre Dame game in real-time and without interruption. So I will have to figure out what recording capabilities will be available at our Disney hotel. Then I will have to figure out if I can record it, when to watch it. I have not been to Disney in over a decade, so if they have managed to squeeze in a sports bar next to the ‘It's a Small World' ride, please let me know. That would be ideal.

 

Will the Brigade be able to wear costumes to the Temple game?

 

I'm thinking not, but you never know. Ok, I guess in this case you actually do know. What I don't know is if the Owls will still be spooked by the last time Navy and Temple met on a football field. Let's just hope this game goes better than the last time the Mids played on Halloween – a 38-7 loss to Notre Dame in 1992.

 

If Navy wins 7 games, who would they face in the Texas Bowl?

 

According to Phil Steele, at this early juncture, he thinks Navy would play Baylor. I'm not too sure if Baylor will be able to beat two of the following teams: Connecticut, Wake Forest, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech in order to get to six wins. Personally, I think Kansas State is a more likely opponent since they have three relatively easy out of conference games in Massachusetts, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Tennessee Tech to go with a manageable Big-12 schedule. Of course we are getting a wee-bit ahead of ourselves, but that's what the summer is all about.

 

When was the last time Navy only had three seniors starting on offense and eight seniors starting on defense?

 

I don't have a clue, but I'm sure someone out there might be able to figure this out. I put this question in this column because I'm curious if Navy fans do what I do when I first look at any depth chart. I always go to the part that says what year the players are in. I think I do this subconsciously because I try to find a bright side to any potentially bad season. To explain, imagine saying to yourself, "What happens if Navy only wins 3 or 4 games this season?" prior to looking at the depth-chart each time. That's what I always do, and then I am either reassured (because we have an excuse for a bad year – lots of underclassmen) or I am flustered (because we have lots of seniors and should be good). Eight seniors on defense sound like a lot. I wonder if any of our 2009 opponents have that much experience on either side of the ball.

 

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