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Navy's struggles on third and short

Navy's offense prides itself on its ability to convert in short-yardage situations, particularly on third and fourth down. But against Temple on Saturday, the Midshipmen struggled and their offense stalled, particularly in the second half.

Overall against the Owls, Navy converted 7 of 17 third-down opportunities, but when faced with third and three or shorter, the Midshipmen were just 3 of 8. Twice they failed to pick up a third and one: fullback Vince Murray was stopped for no gain, and slotback Cory Finnerty was dropped for a four-yard loss on a catch. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs was also stuffed on a fourth-and-one run.

"We just didn't execute to the best of our abilities," said senior guard Osei Asante, the offensive team captain. "It's something we harp on: third and short is when it's all on us, especially inside with myself, Curtis [Bass, the center] and [guard] David Hong. They count on us to get that extra push, that extra yard or half a yard, whatever it may be."

Temple nose guard Andre Neblett, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound senior, deserved some of the credit for Navy's struggles; he made three tackles on third-down plays, stopping the runner one yard short of the first down each time.

"I don't want to take credit away from Temple, because those guys played well," Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "But we had some missed assignments, blocking-wise, which obviously you can't have on third down. It was a combination of them and a combination of us. We're trying to work those kinks out, because we can't have that happen again. That's normally where we make our living, on third and short, and that's where we have to do better, obviously, this week to have a chance to compete."

By Camille Powell  |  November 4, 2009; 10:44 AM ET
 
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Comments

I watched the game from TV and it was quickly apparent during the first half that Temple's defense moved into a pinching (pinch tackles and scrape LBs) on every short yardage situation. You could see them move into the defense prior to navy snapping the ball; yet - we rarely if ever tried the outside in these situations. It was very frustrating to watch. I couldn't believe that with 6 minutes left, we had the ball, we had the lead adn we could have salted the game away - yet we continued to be predictable on short yardage situations.
I know the Navy coaches are good; but we certainly are missing an ability to adjust on the fly. Whoever is watching the game in the press box for the Navy Offense missed the cue adn didn't take advantage of what the defense was giving us.
We did the same thing against Wake Forest although - I went to that game and was unable to see the defensive alignment.

The Temple game was very frustrating - I jsut couldn't believe waht we were doing offensively on those short yardage situations...
and clock management (our time outs) has got ot improve if we expect to move forward...

i wouldn't pin this one on the offensive line - no one could have run up the gut with the way the defense pinched and scraped...crazy.

Posted by: jimbo84 | November 4, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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