This game is either going to be a fun night or a long night.
In case you haven't heard Navy likes to run the ball and they do it very well. If you don't believe me you can check the stats out yourself. Navy is #1 in the nation in rushing offense. Over the course of the last several years, I think it is safe to say that we have had a little problem with stopping the run here at the University of Pittsburgh. Notre Dame, West Virginia, and MSU are all prime examples of our defense letting players have career days. As shocking as it sounds, statistically our defense hasn't been that bad. We enter this game ranked 9th in total defense despite getting blown out in the last two games. This is the week where we really find out how far our team has progressed defensively against the run. If we have any chance in this game, it is because of 2 reasons. First, the defense needs to play fast and physical as Rush Probst would say. The option needs to be stopped. Navy does not have a great passing offense at all and if we can force them to pass, then we will be in great shape. The one area that will be critical will be the play of the safeties. They need to read and react if the option is coming to move up and stop the run. We can't have them sit back in the outfield waiting for something. The defense also needs to hit the quarterback every time they run the option. If we can get in his face and knock him down every time they run the option, it becomes more likely we can shut down their running game.
The other half of what will keep us in this game is Navy's defense is pretty damn bad. They gave up 43 points to powerhouse Duke. This is the game where Bostick needs to come up big. If we can complete a few long pass plays, that should open the door for Shady to get his yards on the ground. If Navy does not respect the passing game and starts to line up 8 or 9 guys in the box, we need to open up the playbook and let Pat play. Despite comments from Wanny and Cav, I would not believe them saying they are going to open up the passing game. They have done nothing this season that would suggest they are comfortable throwing the ball. Truthfully, I think it was all fabricated statements to get Navy to back off their pressure of stopping the run. If they are serious about passing the ball, I'd let Bostick take a shot deep on the very first offensive play of the game just to prove a point. That would be a great message to send to Navy. We aren't and won't be afraid to throw the ball.
One little area of concern on the OLine (despite the many others) is that CJ Davis is injured but should play. If for some reason CJ has to leave the game, that would leave us with only 1 good offensive lineman, and that folks is a scary thought. I still hope that McGlynn is moved to center or guard as he is much better at those positions than he is at tackle. The running backs and tight ends will really need to step up this game, and the rest of the season if we want to give Pat the slightest fighting chance of having some time to throw the ball. The other side of that, is our receivers must come up big this game. No more lazy play, no more dropped passes, no stupid penalties. If we want to win some more games this season, the receivers need to show up for the first time this season.
Pitt 27 - Navy 17.
~ The One and Only ~