Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your fears just might be real....

... so we've all speculated that option offenses do not provide a sufficient practice environment for defenses to practice against more "conventional" offenses. Well, it looks like Paul Johnson's protogee, who's the new head coach at Navy, has decided to do something about it. He's got his offense practicing in 4 WR sets, 3 WR/ 1 TE sets, slinging the ball all over. You need to read this article and absorb the reality of it. It is a concern for me. It should be a concern for all of us.

"This spring, we've tried to find a way to service the defense as far as doing things similar to the teams we're going to play next year. I just felt we needed to spend more time running conventional offenses or spread-type offenses in order to help the defense," head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "That means getting good on good and running our opponent's offense. Hopefully, by the end of the spring, the defense will be more comfortable going against those types of attacks."

During the six-year tenure of head coach Paul Johnson, Navy's first-string offense only ran the triple-option during practices and scrimmages. During the segment of practice when the starters squared off, the defense always went against the triple-option. As a result, the Navy defenders got pretty good at stopping the option. Unfortunately, the Midshipmen never played a true option team during the season. Meanwhile, the Mids struggled mightily to defend more diverse offenses.Statistics tell the sad story. Navy allowed an average of 36.4 points and 439 total yards a year ago. The Midshipmen were particularly vulnerable against the pass, giving up 263 yards per game and a total of 32 touchdowns through the air.

Under Johnson, the responsibility for mimicking the opponent's offense fell to the scout team, which was loaded with freshmen and sophomores who could not replicate the size, speed or skill of the starters from Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Notre Dame. By contrast, Navy's offense practiced the triple-option against the first-string defense.

I'd be interested to hear what Paul Johnson has to say about this. First team defense goes against the option every practice, which really gets the offense ready. What about the other way around? There's just no way I can believe that it doesn't impact the defense. Guess we'll see..........