First, some encouraging words for the demoralized Notre Dame fanbase. Here’s a healthy attitude to take in the wake of Saturday’s 35-17 drubbing at the hands of Navy: It’s really not that embarrassing for you guys to lose to the Midshipmen. Really, it’s not. Impossible as it may seem, Navy is just the better program right now. Don’t be any more upset about this loss than you would be after losing to Michigan.
Navy isn’t anyone’s punching bag anymore. The Mids go to bowl games. They win bowl games. They beat their rivals. They graduate star players and don’t miss a beat. They even replaced a program-changing coach and kept on winning. Notre Dame — and a lot of other BCS programs — would kill for any and all of that right now.
So despite watching a backup fullback with no pro prospects run all over the Notre Dame defense, don’t despair too much. The 43-year streak is gone, and so are the mediocre to downright awful Navy teams of yesteryear.
Best of luck against Tulsa next week. And because I’m nice guy, here’s a tip: Don’t sleep on the Army squad coming to South Bend in a few weeks.
Fear the chop block
Notre Dame’s defenders apparently had trouble handling Navy’s cut-blocking techniques Saturday. The Mids rolled up 438 total yards against the Irish, including 367 rushing yards.
Following the game, one of the Irish’s top defenders explained how the legal, but controversial, blocking style was hard to defend against.
“That’s hard,” Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o told the South Bend Tribune. “You have to really use your eyes. If your eyes aren’t looking down at the blocker, if you’re looking in the backfield, you’re gonna get cut.
“A lot of football players, you try to keep your eyes on where the fullback’s going, where the ball’s going, but you forget you’ve gotta watch the block.
“It’s all practice. Once you go through the game and you get the groove of it, you start getting better. Once in a while there were a couple good cut blocks.
“There were times when I did fall victim to the cut block. You just have to learn your lesson, come back, and not let it happen again.”
Dobbs ties record
Navy senior quarterback Ricky Dobbs ran for three touchdowns against Notre Dame. He’s now tied with Chris McCoy for the school record in rushing touchdowns, with 43.
Dobbs and his senior teammates also joined a rarefied group of Navy football players — they’re only the third class to beat Notre Dame three times. The 1937 and 1964 squads also accomplished the feat.