It’s that time of week again. While I think there might be a glitch in the Matrix, I’m once again chatting with UND.com’s Aaron Horvath, who took the time to answer my three questions.
Every year the Navy game feels a little different than the others. But after a four-year run where the Midshipmen terrified Irish fans, have back-to-back 40-point wins made the Middies any less scary? I doubt it.
If you feel like checking out our friends, or my answers over at NDNation, do so here:
Her Loyal Sons
Strong and True
As usual, play along in the comments. Here are Aaron’s answers to my questions.
1. The Irish seem to be hitting their stride as the calendar turns to November. What do you want to see this weekend to keep the forward progress going?
What I want to see this weekend is solid gap discipline from the defensive unit (goes without saying against an option squad) and a continued running game presence.
The running game presence is the key for me as this season continues. The passing game, led by senior quarterback Tommy Rees, has been very solid this season. The running game continuing on the upswing can only help the offense achieve balance. Against a military academy it should be easier to run the ball as there is a big difference between strength and weights along the defensive and offensive fronts. Nonetheless, there needs to be technically sound blocks providing holes for the backs to run through.
2. Brian Kelly mentioned that Notre Dame played 60 guys last week, the most since he’s been here, and I’m guessing the most in a really, really long time. Who were some of the bottom of the roster guys that you saw play that got you excited?
Well I don’t ever get “excited” to see guys play. I feel like there is a reason for them not playing in pivotal moments and coaches dictate that with playing time. The best will play and I give the coaches more than the benefit of the doubt on who they choose to play. I can say that fans were excited to see Max Redfield on the field, that may be an understatement.
Honestly, what I was happiest to see in this blowout was how Coach Martin allowed Andrew Hendrix to throw the ball a few times to continue to mature at the quarterback position.
3. It wouldn’t be an IBG without some rivalry talk. How important is the Navy rivalry to you? Do you think it’s lost some of the historical context that makes it important on a national level? Is there a way to get that back if Navy isn’t among college football’s powers?
The Navy “rivalry” is actually really important to me. Not really the rivalry, but the game we play each year. When I was younger I was always awestruck by the Naval Academy and I still am to this day. Instead of rivalry, I would call it a “connection.”
It has lost a lot of it’s historical context on the national level, but as someone that works at Notre Dame, we think about what is best for our students, the University and the partnering school. The Navy-Notre Dame game is one that is a “win-win-win” along all those avenues.
As far as getting this to be more important in the national landscape without Navy being among the best in the country, the answer is simply, no.