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Navy at South Carolina Preview: Matchups between Navy's Offense and South Carolina's Defense

This post continues our series previewing the Navy game. We've previously talked about Navy defensive-Carolina offensive matchups and chatted with Navy blog The Birddog. Today, we're going to talk about Navy's offense and how our defense stacks up against it. I'm going to have to apologize for only writing a brief post on this topic; Navy's offense is fascinating enough to write about for days, but I've had a very hectic day and simply don't have the time to devote the requisite attention to it.

Assignment football.  You've undoubtedly heard a lot of folks talking about something called "assignment football" in conversations about this game. You might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn't all good defense based on playing assignments wisely? The answer, as usual, is yes and no. All good defense is based on doing what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it. In that sense, all good defense is good assignment football. However, oftentimes your assignment is to attack the football in various ways. What's really key against the triple option--an offense that's based on the potential that a QB might do any of a few possible things at the spur of the moment, with the potential for a big surprise--is that defenders "stay home." This means that the defense has to be careful not to get out of position and give the quarterback the option to make a big play somehow.

The triple option is based on the simple idea that the QB makes his read during the play, not before. This means you probably won't see a lot of zany looks from the Carolina defense. Whereas giving offense unusual defensive looks can be helpful against a defense that's looking to make a read before the play, it's basically useless against the triple option. The triple option will basically run the same play each time; therefore, it's not reading the defense before the play. It's what happens after the snap that matters in the triple option.

Defensive-tackle play is the exception. Whereas ends, linebackers, and secondary have to be careful to stay home, the inside line wants to make a push. If it can do so, it can hit the dive option before it gets any yards and disrupt QB play on keepers, too. If your defensive tackles are forcing the QB to get out of his comfort zone, you can make a lot of things happen defensively against this offense.

Again, my apologies for not having more time tonight.