Author John Feinstein spent the 1995 football season following the Army and Navy players and coaches for his book A Civil War: Army vs Navy. He also does the color commentary for Navy football radio broadcasts. Feinstein even wrote a mystery book for kids The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army Navy Game. Feinstein did a phone interview with After Action talking about this year’s matchup.
AA: What was the turning point of the season for Navy after a slow start with losses to Maryland and Air Force?
Feinstein: I thought the turning point of their year was the Air Force game … When they changed things up and actually started throwing the ball inside the 20 and getting the ball to their slot backs more often and getting the fullbacks more involved they became a very good offense … They are a solid team that is now coming close to their potential.
AA: How did the hype before the season affect Navy? There was talk about a potential perfect season and even a
Feinstein: I think it did affect them. I think they bought into the hype too much … Against Maryland yhey should have won the game. They played horribly … Anyone who looked at their schedule and thought they were going undefeated were out of their mind.
AA: How has Army turned around their football program?
Feinstein: They finally hired the right coach two years ago … What they did this year that was good is they beat the teams they were supposed to beat. They haven’t done that in the past years … If they beat Navy I think this is a game that they will look back two or three years from now and say that’s when we became a good football team again.
AA: Does Army have a chance of ending their eight game losing streak to Navy?
Feinstein: It’ll take them not turning the ball over. Steelman is going to have to have a really good game. At least this year you can look at the game and say Army has a really good shot here which is a welcome relief to the past eight years.
AA: Army has a young team, but a lot of the players got to play in the Army Navy game last year as freshman. How will that experience help them?
Feinstein: It helps everybody the second time they play the Army Navy game. I have had players tell me the first time you come through that tunnel to play in the Army Navy game it’s just emotionally overwhelming and you almost lose track of where you are.