Going into this week's game the Scarlet Knights had already faced three of the top ten rushing quarterbacks in the nation (Cribbs of Kent State, Walter Washington, and Rasheed Marshall). This week they not only face the second best rushing quarterback in the country, Aaron Polanco, but also a very unique offense, which uses a form of the option that is rarely seen in modern college football.
"This quite a rushing attack, not just the quarterback, but the fullback and the slot back. It's a very well conceived scheme run by very disciplined, hard working young men. They are very productive," stated Coach Schiano earlier.
When you think of Navy you think of running, but Coach Schiano had this to add about their offensive attack:
"They major in the run, but one of the things you see is that they count on the big play. They count on you falling asleep, and letting the receiver go and then throwing it down the field for a big play. So really your secondary has to be on its Ps and Qs. There may be eight or ten plays in a row where they don't have any effect on the play, and then it's a big one. It's going to take great discipline to play these things effectively. And that's one of the things that they bank on."
Since most teams rarely see this style of offense it is very hard to prepare for, even with an extra week of practice. Navy on the other hand sees many different defenses during the course of a season.
"The thing that I know about their scheme," Schiano said, "is that as soon as you give them what you are giving them [defensively] they know how to attack it because they've seen it before. It's not going to be a matter of them, its going to be matter of us executing. They are going to make some plays but hopefully they aren't big plays."
He concluded by saying that, "Its helps if you can do what Tulane did and get behind them. It's not an offense built to comeback from large deficits."
There is another unique circumstance this week, which has nothing to do with Navy's distinctive offensive scheme. That is the fact that it's mid-November and the Scarlet Knights are still in the hunt for a winning season, and even a bowl berth if the chips fall right.
"We certainly have a lot to play for", said Schiano. "Our guys are excited to play again. The disappointment of losing these three games that we could have won really pushes us to get to the next one."
Coach was asked about what he was doing to convey to the players the sense of urgency that comes with the next two games.
"I don't think I have to do a thing. They are very aware of it. This is what they do. They don't need some coach standing up there telling them about it. They know the importance of it to the University and to the football program. It's not a lack of know and it's not a lack of want-to. We have to see if we can execute consistently and that is how we win games"
He went on to say:
"If you get too caught up in the results oriented stuff and your focus shifts from the job at hand on the field to ‘can we win the next two' then you can get yourself in trouble. Our focus is the fundamental football that is needed and the execution that is needed to play well at Navy. Then if we win that game we go from there."
To put it concisely,
"There's a definite excitement."
Tight end Sam Johnson still has some issues dealing with a concussion he suffered at Boston College, and likely will be out this week. Special teams regular Kenny Gillespie may not be available. Everyone else should be back this week, except for the trio injured in the car accident and Shawn Tucker who has missed most of the season. This includes Gary Gibson who has missed the past two weeks.
Did You Know
Ryan Hart is only one game shy of tying the Big East record of nine games with 300 yards or more of passing, which is shared by Ken Dorsey, Marc Bulger and Gino Toretta. Unfortunately Rutgers is only 2-6 in those games.