Defensive coordinator Kent Baer has the difficult job this week of preparing his team to stop the Navy option. Baer said preparing for Navy is more difficult than any other team they face.
"It's tough to simulate," said Baer of the Navy option offense. "That's where they get the real advantage is you don't have anyone that truly knows how to simulate it.
"Their splits are sometimes two to three yards apart, their quarterback has a lot of issues to deal with in terms of timing so you don't really have an option quarterback, all the cut-blocking, you just can't work on that all week because you're going to lose somebody in practice.
"It's just a tough week and you've just got to up and do it. I don't think it's a lot of fun for anybody. You've got to get excited about playing, but the preparation is extremely difficult."
Baer also believes the 16 days the Midshipmen have had to prepare for the Irish is also a big advantage.
"The No. 1 thing is they're totally healthy," Baer said. "No. 2 is that they're certainly looked at everything we've done over the last 2-3 years, and they're going to give you everything they got. I'm sure there's going to be some things that we haven't seen. It concerns you a little bit."
While the Navy offense looks pretty one-dimensional; Baer said Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco is also a very accurate passer. Polanco is completing 63 percent of his passes and is averaging 18.77 yards per completion.
"This quarterback is a pretty good thrower," Baer said of Polanco. "A lot of times you see an option team and they don't throw the ball well. This guy does. They're much improved in that area."
While most expect quite a battle between the Irish defense and the Navy offense, offensive lineman Bob Morton said there should be quite a battle between the Notre Dame offense and the Midshipmen defense on Saturday.
"I was lucky enough to go against a lot of their guys last year," Morton said of the Navy defense. "They're a great defense. They fly around. They give more effort than any defense in the country, or close to it in my opinion. It's always a challenge going against them because they're tough to block, and when you do block them, they come off blocks and making plays."
The Navy defense would be considered small by most Division I standards, but Morton said don't let their size fool you.
"If you watch some of these guys, they just jack people up," Morton said. "They don't play like they're smaller or undersized. They play football. These guys really come and try to hit you hard. They don't try to run away from you."
Irish quarterback Brady Quinn has taken a number of hits recently, including last week where he had his bell rung in the Stanford game. We asked Morton why the pass protection had been breaking down the last few weeks.
"It doesn't matter. (No.)10 doesn't need to be getting hit--that's really all I have to say about it," Morton said. "He shouldn't be touched in the game."
We asked Morton if the offensive line had talked about that this week.
"We've talked about it," he said. "That will stick with the offensive line. We need to correct that before we can talk about it."
Speaking of Quinn, he said he'll be ready to play when the Irish take on Navy.
"I feel fine," said Quinn when asked about his health. "Yeah," was his answer when asked if he would play on Saturday.
Quinn admitted he did get his bell rung last week, but wouldn't say it was officially ruled a concussion.
"It was a situation where we had the lead at that point," Quinn said. "I was at the point where I kind of got my bell rung, there was no need to necessarily be in for the final drive.
"I don't know if it was officially ruled a concussion. I would just say I got my bell rung."
Quinn also said he practiced on Tuesday and had no lingering effects from the big hit he took Saturday.
"I was practicing out there today so everything is fine," he said.
The Dublin, Ohio native said he expects great things from this Irish team if they can get things rolling the next two weeks.
"We've got some momentum going. If we just keep things rolling," said Quinn. "I've got a real good feeling about this week. If we can just get things going these next few week, I'm telling you, it's going to be big for us, it really will."
Also returning to action was tight end Anthony Fasano. Fasano says he also expects to play on Saturday.
"Yeah, I'm planning on playing," Fasano said when asked if he'll play on Saturday.
The Verona, N.J. native says his recent injuries have been very frustrating to deal with.
"Whenever you're injured, and you're supposed to go out on the field, it's frustrating," he said. "Also, you playing pretty well the week before; just felt like you're finally getting into the groove a little bit. It's tough not really solidifying my spot on the offense and always having little injuries holding me back."
The Irish will need both a healthy Quinn and Fasano on Saturday. Everyone expects a spirited and hard-hitting game when the Irish and Midshipmen kick if off.