I’ve struggled with how to approach our loss to Navy on Saturday, largely because my first reaction is exactly the same reaction I’ve had roughly 200 times in the last twenty years, namely, “Well, that’s pretty typical for IU football.” And repeating the same thing over and over is kind of boring, to you and to me.
But the truth is, I’m pretty disappointed in what I saw on Saturday. Both on the field and off. Let’s start on the field.
We didn’t force one punt. Not one. In fact, the only times Navy had the ball and didn’t score were the last possession of the first half and the last possession of the second half. I tried very hard to get my head around exactly how bad that was and I think I figured out a way to explain it in a way IU football fans can understand.
If this were a basketball game, we would have gotten zero defensive rebounds and forced zero turnovers.
Think about that. We were completely unable to to stop them from scoring when they had the ball. We got a few stops on third down, but Navy just went for it on 4th down and made it. Which is the basketball equivalent of forcing a missed shot, only to give up an offensive rebound and a put back.
Wilson praised his team for not quitting completely and for stopping Navy on some of their 3rd downs, but lamented that they went for it on fourth, because why would they do that?! It’s not fair! We totally stopped them, almost all the way.
In effect, the only time they didn’t score was when the clock ran out. That’s an amazingly terrible defensive effort.
But that’s ok, because no one else will play like that against us ever again and besides we never wanted to play against them anyway.
Which was, astoundingly, Kevin Wilson’s response after the game. In fact, what he said was, “I tried for two years to get out of playing these guys.”
He moved up the ISU game two days to get two more days to prep for the triple option and spent time working on it since the spring. And boy did it show!
He said that he thought their prep was “casual.” And placed the blame for that on the coaches.
But the only thing he said that I truly believed that he believed was that he didn’t want to play Navy. I can only guess that since he very plainly felt that way, his players knew it. Which, I don’t know, call me crazy, may have led to a casual approach to the prep for this game.
Win or lose, who cares? It doesn’t mean anything other than Navy is hard to play so let’s not play them ever again. And let us never speak of it again.
Because if we do, we’ll remember just how bad we were on defense and despite how much Wilson would like to keep us asking who the starting QB will be, even when it’s pretty clear that right now it needs to be Sudfeld, we’ll keep watching the defense and waiting for it to finally get a rebound or force a turnover.