Tim O'Malley (Managing Editor)I hadn't heard about the severity of senior Kriss Proctor's injury until about 36 hours after Notre Dame's disheartening loss to USC. Prior, I originally had this game as a final possession struggle...but Navy without its starting QB at the controls of its triple-option offense – one that replaced two-year Irish killer Ricky Dobbs, to boot – turns Saturday's tables greatly in the Irish favor.
In short, it offsets the presence of a young Irish defensive line that would have struggled mightily against an experienced triple-option triggerman.
I think Notre Dame will suffer a major letdown following the USC loss: my guess is that already happened this week in practice for the players, and that the difference in the stands will be stark. (God help us all if Crazy Train is blared for every third down vs. Navy, because the Midshipmen know how to convert on 3rd and 2…)
Notre Dame's effort vs. the Midshipmen will inspire no one, and Saturday will be its worst remaining outing of the five contests that fill-out the 2011 slate. I think the Irish will enter Stanford at a shaky 8-3: pride and a decent bowl game on the line...but upset chances abound en route to that Thanksgiving Saturday showdown, and this remains one of them.
But Navy's defense is terrible, and the poor day suffered by the Irish offense vs. USC isn't an indicator that the unit has regressed. Notre Dame 41 Navy 28
Brian Dohn (NE Recruiting Analyst)Navy's offense is still good, but the defense is not. It is soft against the run and doesn't have the speed in the secondary it did the last few years. Unless Notre Dame has a hangover from the USC loss, the Irish should win this easily. I am banking on Navy's porous defense, the fact Notre Dame is familiar with playing against the triple option and the Irish's offensive talent level to predict a blowout. Notre Dame 44 Navy 21
Dave Berk (Irisheyes.com Recruiting Analyst)Notre Dame enters their match-up against Navy with injuries along the defensive line …when they least could afford them. A triple-option attack from the Midshipmen will look to give the Irish fits as it did a season ago. If the Irish offense can rebound after last week's turnover mishaps, the offense should be able to place points on the board. It may not be pretty but I feel Notre Dame will come out on top 31-17
Christian Zavisca (Staff Writer)We've been here before: A disturbing loss in a game that very well should have gone Notre Dame's way. The Irish came out as flat as can be, an astoundingly bad start in a rivalry game with plenty of accompanying hype.
Navy presents a number of unique challenges, and Notre Dame's injury situation along the defensive line doesn't help matters. Expect the team that soundly beat Michigan State and Air Force to show up this weekend. The Irish have much to prove, and want a measure of revenge against Navy. The margin for error won't be quite as thin this week -- it shouldn't be, anyway.
Notre Dame 44 Navy 24
SeattleNDFan (Moderator)Navy's starting QB Kriss Proctor dislocated his elbow last week and will not play against Notre Dame, so they will start a sophomore for his first time ever. But Navy returns an offensive line which dominated Notre Dame in 2010 plus fullback and future Marine officer Alexander Teich, who has repeatedly pounded our defense into shrapnel and ND will be starting a DL consisting of two true freshmen and one redshirt.
Navy's defense, on the other hand, is significantly worse than last season, although they held Air Force to about half the points ND did and considerably fewer yards.
But all that is secondary, as the Irish need to get their own house in order before even worrying about the other team. There is simply no excuse for this Notre Dame team not to defeat the United States Naval Academy football team this Saturday and it's up to our players and coaches to make that reality in what boils down to a gut check game.
Time to man up, no excuses, all-freshman starting DL or not.
Notre Dame 48 United States Naval Academy 20
GaviND (Moderator)After an indefinable gut-wrenching loss to USC last weekend, Notre Dame invites Navy to town for the 2011 installment of their annual series. While the Irish are heavy favorites entering Saturday's contest, past performance and some key injuries should make this a closer game that the spread indicates.
Four-fifths of Navy's offensive line is back from last year as is running back Alexander Teich who tore the Irish apart in what ended as an embarrassing loss for the program last October. Recent history suggests the Notre Dame defense will have a hard time stopping Navy's rushing attack, and that challenge looks like it will be compounded by the loss of Kapron Lewis-Moore (the team's beat option defender along the defensive line) and the questionable availability of Ethan Johnson.
Notre Dame should be able to move the ball easily against the Midshipmen, however:
- I have typed those words before only to have been WAY off, and…
- Can they score enough to beat a Navy team that may well score in buckets?
Earlier in the year, the thought of playing this game after USC made me nervous. Well, I'm still nervous...only for other reasons.
Navy 38 ND 27
Morrissey79 (Moderator)With "Tweet-gate" in full swing, will Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish finally show up and play with some attitude, swagger, and intensity for 4 quarters?
Or will they revert back to the last couple meetings, where the midshipmen have simply outplayed the larger, more superior, more talented Notre Dame team.
With Kapron Lewis Moore out, and Ethan Johnson banged up, the Irish will be playing 3 freshman and 2 sophomore in the DL rotation, which is quite nerve-wracking when thinking of Navys massive amount of success running the football.
The good news is this is not the same Navy team that were used to seeing - they are currently 2-5 and received a beat down from Southern Miss.
The question is not whether the defense will shut Navy down, because they won't and they'll get their rushing yards, but the key will be to get out to a lead early on.
Look for the Irish offense to move the ball up and down the field, and win a hard fought battle 35-24
KurzND (Moderator)I don't like ND starting a freshmen defensive line vs. Navy, but thankfully this is not the Navy of the past few years. No Dobbs and a poor defense. I like for ND to pound the ball and stick to the ground game to help out their freshmen D-Line to blow out Navy.
Notre Dame 38 Navy 17
BNolan (Moderator)I won't continue to give Kelly, or Diaco, the benefit of the doubt. Yes, we beat Air Force handily. And perhaps ND will do so against Navy Saturday, but we are equally likely to see poor preparation and fundamentals and...more inconsistent and frustrating football folly.
I hope to be wrong but at this point the onus is on Kelly and his staff to show me they are learning how to win. ND 24 Navy 27
Guest Selector – BrodyQuintI have no faith in the defense or its coordinator, whose name I've promised to never again pen, but Brian Kelly's offense will put a minimum of 40 points on a Navy defense that can't stop a well-schooled high school passing attack. Look for plenty of points on both sides as Notre Dame's freshmen defensive linemen spend more time on the ground than my 6-year-old twins on a snow day. Brian Kelly is way better than his initial results (12-8) indicate...
Notre Dame 49 Navy 35