(UPDATED WITH VIDEO)
Before Corwin Brown spoke about the upcoming game with Pittsburgh, he had to get something off his chest. Specifically, Brown took issue with Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo’s comments in his postgame press conference, where he made a comment that started with “I really hope this doesn’t come across wrong,” that called out the Notre Dame coaching staff’s game plan.
Well coach, it definitely came across wrong, because that quote was used by just about every reporter covering the game.
And not surprisingly, it ticked Corwin off.
“I thought it was very disappointing what the Navy head coach said after the game. He didn’t want something to be misconstrued, but then he said it, regarding how we prepared and what we prepared to do. We came out in the second half — minus one mess up — they don’t get anything.
“Whether you think it’s the right thing to say or not, in this profession, all the classy guys that I’ve watched and played under and studied, they would never say a thing like that. To say that we didn’t prepare well or have a game plan, that’s crazy.
“I don’t ever get up here and talk about the illegal cut blocks. They hit Puppy (Brian Smith) illegally last year, and put him out. They hit RJ (Robert Blanton) on one of the most malicious plays I’ve ever seen since I’ve been playing and I called him about it. I told him I thought it was very poor. He probably thought I called because we lost, I was going to say something to him before the game, but I didn’t. Very malicious. And in this game, which we’re supposed to be playing for our kids and working for our kids, you don’t let your players do something like that.
“Now, Coach Weis and Coach Tenuta do a great job getting us prepared on offense and defense. I don’t care what foxhole they’re in, I’m jumping in the foxhole with them every time. We had a damn good game plan. And that’s all I’ve got to say.”
First off, good for Corwin, getting that off his chest. That comment immediately reminded me of the classic Bill Parcells rant that got him in so much trouble with Asian Americans. (If you don’t remember, google it… I’m not linking to it.) Here’s a good rule to carry with you. If you’re about to say, “no offense” or “don’t take this the wrong way,” you can pretty much assume that what you are saying is 1) offensive or 2) going to be taken the wrong way.
As for Niumatalolo’s comment, there might have been some validity to it, but it’s one of those things that you probably don’t want to say. (Similar to proclaiming you might have a “decided schematic advantage” over other coaches.)
I remember watching the replay on that illegal cut block on Blanton and thinking to myself that if it wasn’t a Navy player doing that, he’d get shredding. But that’s one of the other elements that go into playing Navy, the sentiment that because they’re a service academy and because they are heroic off the football field that they’re above reproach.
While it’s too late this season, and possibly too late for Charlie Weis and this coaching staff, I expect the gloves to come off next season.