Paul Rhoads outdid himself this week. With 10 days to prepare for a team that runs a gimmick offense we looked clueless. On almost every down players were out of position, we never once attacked them, and couldn't get a stop to save our lives. Navy runs that option like a well oiled machine, I was highly impressed by their discipline and execution. At no point in the game did it seem like we had a handle on what they were doing. I don't understand how a defensive coordinator could have that much time and couldn't figure out this offense. You can't allow 48 points ever, let alone to an unranked team.
Another part of our defense that I was appalled by was the lack of discipline by our team, especially our linebackers. The fake up the middle and run up the middle ate us alive last night because McKillop didn't get to the point of attack. On the outside we kept pinching in on that up the middle fake which gave them space to get the quarterback around the corner. Shane Murray to his credit played very well in the second half but two first half touchdowns were his fault for not staying out wide. I don't know what this group was practicing for but they didn't handle this well at all and I think this falls at the feet of Rhoads he didn't do his job.
Our secondary is extremely poor right now and is only getting worse. I don't know where to start with this group, who is right now the worst unit on the team. Let's start with the arm tackling by our safeties. Mike Phillips was a bad player before his injury and he has now turned into a liability for this team. Eric Thatcher on the other hand I think may have been ruined by his injury, he is tentative and doesn't lay the wood like he used to. The corner play last night cost us the game. Is there a reason why none of our corners turn around when the ball is in the air? Navy's quarterback was floating the ball into the secondary and our corners never once made a break on the ball. I hate to speak out of school and attack everybody's golden coordinator but Chris Ball is doing an extremely bad job with this group. Every player has gotten worse or less fundamentally sound. I hope that its just the fact that these guys have shut Ball's advice out but if they haven't I'm worried about the big steal from Alabama.
The defensive line played ok in spots but they had to deal with their toughest assignment of the year. Facing that cut blocking scheme they held the line of scrimmage fairly poorly. Up the middle our tackles got moved off the ball. A couple of big plays in the backfield and the good play of Chris McKillop masked the spotty play of this group. This is the first game of the season I thought this group played sub-par but they were really put in a jam by the game plan.
Under no circumstances can Paul Rhoads continue to have a job next year. He has continuously put out teams that seem unprepared and undisciplined. I can't imagine how we will be able to stop the meat of our schedule with the continual slide of the defense. After that Michigan St. performance our defense has not just regressed but completely eroded. This group and part of the coaching staff lost us the game last night and they need to be held responsible. Coach Wannstedt needs to take over the defense this week, Rhoads is driving the bus leading to your career being in the toilet bowl. If you want to continue to be a coach you need to get rid of this defensive system.
As an aside, I'm extremely against promoting somebody from the inside as the new defensive coordinator. The only viable candidate on the staff off of performance is Greg Gattuso. I think that he should continue to coach up the defensive line, we need a new voice and system in place for this defense. I think this group will only continue to get worse throughout the rest of the season, we are going to be leaking points. Over 30 points allowed three games in a row is ridiculous.