Navy football coach Brian Newberry puts Notre Dame loss in … – Capital Gazette

Navy coach Brian Newberry spent much of his Monday meeting with the media putting Saturday night’s blowout loss to Notre Dame in perspective.

The Fighting Irish took it to the overmatched Midshipmen from start to finish in a 42-3 win at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Newberry’s evaluation of what happened wasn’t much different after reviewing the tape than it was immediately after the game.

“There’s a saying in our profession that it’s never as good or as bad as you think it is,” he said. “I’ve watched the game, every phase of it, three or four times now. There were certainly some positives to take away from the game.”

While the yardage and point totals don’t reflect it, Newberry felt the Navy offense showed “glimpses of some good things.” The Midshipmen only amassed 169 total yards, 126 of which came on the ground.

Remarkably, the Mids won the time of possession battle (33:14 to 26:46). That was due largely to a 14-play drive in the second quarter that resulted in a missed field goal and a 15-play drive in the fourth quarter that produced Navy’s only points as kicker Evan Warren was good on his second attempt of the night.

“I thought when we executed what we were doing we were able to effectively move the ball,” Newberry said. “When we had 11 guys doing their job, the picture was pretty good. When we got a little tired and only had eight or nine guys doing their jobs, that’s when the breakdowns occurred.”

Newberry was particularly pleased the Mids were able to get the ball on the perimeter quite often with a quick pitch to the fullback most effective in doing so.

“In the first half, we were getting some of the things we wanted look-wise and were able to get a numbers advantage. Some of those are going to be big plays against other [opponents],” Newberry said.

Newberry noted that Navy had some plays that produced 4- or 5-yard gains that may have broken for longer against another opponent. He pointed out a pair of play-action pass plays in which receivers were running wide open and completions were not made.

One was the result of wide receiver Camari Williams and slotback Amin Hassan colliding while going for the ball. Newberry said that mixup was the result of someone running the wrong route but did not say which player was responsible. Quarterback Tai Lavatai badly underthrew another receiver who got behind the coverage.

Lavatai completed 3 of 6 passes for 43 yards with most of that coming on one play. Slotback Brandon Chatman got open along the left sideline and Lavatai found him for a 39-yard gain.

First-year offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut has incorporated quick passing and run-pass option elements into the offense, but those were not on display in the opener. In hindsight, Newberry believes there were probably opportunities to throw the ball more.

“I do think there were certain times we could have done the quick game stuff, the RPO stuff. We would have liked to have gotten to that in the second half,” Newberry said.

However, Newberry pushed back against the notion Navy should throw the ball just to say it did so. After Notre Dame scored early in the first half to increase the lead to 35-0, it made no sense for the Mids to resort to passing in a desperate attempt to come back.

“We’re always going to do whatever it takes to win a football game. I’m not interested in the perception of things or pleasing the crowd,” Newberry said. “Once we got into the second half and it was 35-0, I’m not going to get into a passing game deal. I’m not going to make things worse than they are.”

Newberry said he and Chesnut are on the same page with the philosophy of taking whatever the defense gives. That might mean throwing the ball 15 to 20 times in a particular game or five or less in another.

“We want to be able to spread things out. We want to get the ball out quickly. What we always want to do is take what teams give us,” Newberry said.

Newberry voiced his disappointment immediately after the game about his defense’s poor tackling. Film review showed the Midshipmen finished with 20 missed tackles, an unusually high number.

“I thought we played really hard on defense, but we didn’t fit things up the way we would like to. We had more missed assignments than we would like to,” Newberry said. “What was most glaring was the tackling.”

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Notre Dame starting tailback Audric Estime led a punishing rushing attack with 95 yards and got plenty of help from backups Jeremiyah Love, Gi’Brian Payne and Jadarian Price. Notre Dame finished with 191 rushing yards, almost three times more than it managed in last year’s meeting with Navy.

Navy’s staff preaches playing with “Elite EAT,” the latter an acronym that stands for effort, attitude and toughness. Newberry acknowledged that mantra was not always on display during the opener.

“There were some effort things that I was not pleased with that I will address today. It’s not who we are and what we represent. That will get fixed and certainly won’t happen again,” he said.

Navy safety Rayuan Lane III, right, causes Notre Dame running back Audric Estime to fumble during the first half of Saturday's game.

Navy has a bye week to lick its wounds and get back to work in preparation for the Sept. 9 home opener against Wagner, a Football Championship Subdivision program. Newberry spoke to the media on what he has dubbed “Move on Monday” and said that message will be reinforced to the players.

“That means moving on from the previous week whether we win or lose. I still feel the same way about the potential of this football team that I did going into the Notre Dame game. I think we can go on to do some great things this season,” he said. “The message is always 1-0. That’s a little bit of coach-speak, but that’s the truth and the way we have to approach things as players and as a staff. It’s a long season and there’s still a lot of football still to be played. There’s nobody going in the tank right now. There’s no reason to do that.”

Newberry said the bye week provides an opportunity to make corrections in the wake of the Notre Dame game, work on individual fundamentals and skills and get a jump-start on preparing for Wagner. He also wants the staff to use this week to reevaluate every position and every player.

“Every job is open right now. I don’t want anyone to think their job is safe. You have to pay the rent every day around here,” Newberry said. “We have to go out and compete in practice and get better, so this is going to be a work week.”

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