Navy On Offense:
Navy runs the triple option on offense and head coach Paul Johnson teaches this offense better than anyone in the country. It isn't sexy,
but under Johnson the Midshipmen have been scoring a lot of points. Nearly all
the yardage gained comes on the ground. Navy runs the ball on 85 percent of it's
Navy was dealt a huge blow against Rutgers in game seven when
starting quarterback Brian Hampton was lost for the season. Hampton had been
leading the team in rushing (646 yards) and touchdowns (10). His replacement has
been sophomore Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. Kaheaku-Enhada struggled to get the
offense churning against Rutgers as they rushed for a season low 115 yards on 50
The wide receivers will be on the field, but unless Navy gets
down big, these guys will be attempting to block the Notre Dame defensive backs.
O.J. Washington, Jason Tomlinson, and Tyree Barnes have combined to catch 13
balls on the year.
Anticipated Depth Chart.
Brian Hampton had the Navy offense working very well, so Kaheaku-Enhada has huge shoes to fill. His lack of game experience will probably be a factor at some point in this game. If Kaheaku-Enhada can't get the offense moving, Paul Johnson may call on Jarod Bryant, but Bryant has even less experience than Kaheaku-Enhada.
Reggie Campbell is very small so it's difficult for him to carry the ball often on the interior. He's averaging an impressive 9.1 yards per carry. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, so Johnson might want to match him up with one of the Irish linebackers.
Zerbin Singleton is the other slot back, and he isn't much bigger than Campbell. Singleton will get the ball from time to time, but he won't carry the load for Navy.
Ballard has good size and he's a productive runner (5.7 yards per
carry). He's second on the team in carries and in rushing yards.
The receivers are more athletic than Navy has had in the past, but they will only throw the ball when they have to. Still, the Irish secondary needs to stay alert because Johnson will try to surprise the Irish defense.
This line helped Navy to 239 yards rushing against this Irish in 2005. They are an experienced group with Meek being the only newcomer. Because they don't have the size to go right at Notre Dame, they'll cut the Irish linemen all day. The Irish defensive line needs to stay on their feet and honor their responsibility.
Navy On Defense:
For the most part the Navy defense has played well and then everything seemed to cave in against Rutgers. They do have a new "3-4" look, and they do have a lot of experience in the front seven. The defense will attempt to keep everything in front of them and make the Irish offense drive the length of the field for scores.
Tye Adams, Larry Cylc and John Chan are the men up front. Cylc is the biggest of the group at 6-foot-2, 280 pounds. He's the anchor in the middle at nose guard. Chan is the leading tackler among the defensive linemen with 33 stops.
The four linebackers are David Mahoney, Rob Caldwell, Irv Spencer and Tyler Tidwell. They have a lot of experience and they have very good size. Caldwell (60) and Mahoney (55) lead the team in tackles.
Key mach-ups: The Irish offensive line against the front three of Navy. Notre Dame needs to show that they can run the ball consistently. Navy is a team Notre Dame should have success against.
Anticipated Depth Chart.
Generally a "3-4" defense has bigger players up front, so it will be interesting to see how this group performs. Chan is tied for the team lead in sacks with four. He also has an impressive 33 tackles through seven games.
Simply put, Mahoney makes a lot of plays. He's a fun player to watch because he's always around the ball. He is starting for the third consecutive season. Last season against Notre Dame he was all over the field as he registered 14 tackles. He's second on the team in tackle with 55 stops.
Caldwell is another returning starter and he leads the team in tackles with 60. Last season he finished with an amazing 140 tackles on the season.
This group has to keep everything in front of them. McGown and Little are have experience and they will need it to slow down Samardzija and McKnight.
Final Thought - Notre Dame has yet to put an entire four
quarters together. This is a team they should dominate, but we'll have to see if that happens.
Preview: Notre Dame vs Navy
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