Take Cover — Navy Fallout Continues

Just when I thought it was safe to start thinking about Saturday night’s primetime showdown against Pitt (you know the one that will likely determine our bowl game and our last chance to beat a ranked opponent this season), it seems that I must remain on Navy for at least another post.

You would think there would be more than enough to worry about around Notre Dame Nation.  The hot topic of course has been Weis’ job security (or lack thereof) and wanting to know if Kelly would jump ship to coach the Irish or if John Gruden would job us some friendly hints during Monday Night Football broadcasts.  It’s a topic that has spawned more blog posts and articles than I care to even try and link.

However, now we have another issue.  Yesterday, Corwin Brown decided to blast the ever living hell out of Navy calling their head coach classless and accusing them of playing dirty.  Yes, he fired a verbal missile at future Naval officers and the man coaching them — on Veteran’s Day.  You can’t even really claim folks are taking his comments out of context, there’s video of this and it does not make anything he says look any better in context.

So much for the annual game that is supposed to be a rather friendly affair.

Clearly Navy was under Brown’s skin:

I thought it was very disappointing, what the Navy coach said after the game.  He didn’t want something to be misconstrued, but then he said it, regarding how we prepared and what we prepared to do. I’m going to tell you this – we came out in the second half, minus one mess-up, they don’t get anything.

Whether you think it’s the right thing to say or not, in this profession, with all the classy guys that I’ve watched and played under and studied, they would never say a thing like that.  To say that we didn’t prepare well or we didn’t have a good game plan, that’s crazy.

Was Brown watching the same game I was?  The one “mess up” was the only shot Navy took at ND to score and guess what, they got it.  Beyond that, Navy did exactly what a triple option team should do when they have the lead: bleed the ever living hell out of the clock.  ND still couldn’t stop that.  That was not an adjustment, the defense was still failing miserably.

But hey, he didn’t stop there:

What I think is crazy is a lack of imagination for what they do. I don’t ever get up here and talk about the illegal cut blocks. They hit (Brian Smith) illegally last year and put him out.  They hit (Robert Blanton) on one of the most malicious plays I’ve ever seen since I’ve been playing. And I called him about it. And I told him I thought it was very poor. He probably thought I called because we lost; I was going to say something to him before the game but I didn’t. Very malicious. And in this game, which we’re supposed to be playing for our kids, you don’t let your players do something like that.

In his defense, the hit against Blanton was rather vicious:

Video courtesy of Her Loyal Sons.

Now, yes that hit was an awful, dirty, and horribly undisciplined hit; however, emotions run high during games and players get out of hand on occasion (ask Brandon Spikes and LaGarrette Blount).  The penalty was called and while we could all claim ND would be roasted at the stake for doing the same thing, if we were, we’d most definitely respond: “the penalty was called, this is a dead issue.”  And that’s exactly what it is.

As far as making the claim that Navy constantly employs a method of cheap cut blocks, Andy Staples of SI.com puts the comment in better perspective:

Brown, Notre Dame’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, ripped Navy’s cut blocking, calling it “malicious.” He may very well be correct on that front, because option teams often tread a fine line between legal blocking and outright kneecapping. Brown called Niumatalolo this week to tell him just that, and hopefully the conversation was productive.

You have to keep in mind, this is not only an option offense, but one that is also undersized.  When you have a severe height and weight disadvantage, you are going to cut block and walk that thin line — end of story.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Brown tops it off with this wonderful analysis:

Now, coach (Charlie) Weis, and (defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta) do a great job getting us prepare on offense and defense. And I don’t care what foxhole they’re in, I’m jumping in the foxhole with them every time. We had a damn good game plan. And that’s all I got to say.

SBNation has the best analysis of this comment:

Yes, they had a good game plan. A lofty game plan. A losing game plan. Brown, if you wanna make it out of Notre Dame with all your limbs, you’ll dig your own foxhole about one click away from Charlie’s. [Insert joke here about the enormity of Weis’ foxhole.]

Although I disagree with SBNation and Brown on one point.  He isn’t jumping in the foxhole with Weis.  Brown just jumped on a live grenade.

The worst part of this team has by far been the defense and heads are going to roll because of it — either Weis or one of his assistants.

I wonder which head is firmly pressed on the chopping block right now…