After Hawaii put up 59 points on Navy in the Week 1 the Mids needed a result against Memphis in the worst way in their AAC opener. The one point win says everything about the team’s toughness and Ken Niumatalolo’s coaching. Lehigh is next on tap for Navy.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Control field position
The Mids are at their best when they can control field position and control tempo. Against Hawaii in the opener that just didn’t work, with the Rainbow Warriors run-and-shoot offense able to open up the entire gridiron with big plays that dramatically altered how the Navy defense played.
Against Memphis, Navy looked more like the Ken Niumatalolo team that we have come to expect. It was not always pretty – and down by 12 points in the fourth quarter it didn’t look possible – but the way that the Navy defense had responded after the Hawaii game meant that a comeback was never entirely out of the question.
Lehigh is the worst team that Navy will have played in 2018, so it would be nice to see the Mids control exactly how the game is played.
Hurricane Florence is going to have some level of impact on this game. Whether it is a direct hit – or more likely the remnants of the storm – any game taking place on the Eastern seaboard this weekend is going to have to deal with adverse weather.
Thankfully the Mids have already done that in the last seven days.
Taking a cue from the Memphis game – which was played in a driving rainstorm – the Mids need to run the ball and keep things simple. An option offense would seem to fit the rainball model, but sometimes the pitches and motion timing can be upset in this kind of weather. Keep it simple and build a lead.
Win the turnover battle
In any game affected by rain, turnovers are going to happen. Last week against Memphis, Navy lost one turnover to the Tigers four. This was the main reason that Navy was able to come back and win the game.
It was fumbles that killed Memphis (the Tigers lost three of them) while Navy only let the ball escape in this manner once. On offense the Mids need to be sure at every mesh point and make sure pitches are well timed, while defensively the tacklers need to go after the ball even more than usual.
Turnovers would be the only way that Lehigh stays in this game.