Ed Emory used to say that he’d take “want” power over willpower any day of the week. Want power is when you want something bad enough, you do what it takes to get it.
Well, the Midshipmen (2-4) and the Pirates (2-4) are going to put the want power to the test this weekend and history tells us that the Pirates are going to need a whole lot of want power to escape Annapolis with a win. But, this year, it can be done, IMO.
Last year’s 76-35 loss to Navy was a shocker of epic proportions. Not because Navy beat us…they had beaten us the last time we played, but because they scored on our defense so effortlessly, that it was hard to recognize if we even had anyone on the field for most of the day.
Well, this year will be different, right? Now, I don’t think Navy will score 76 points on us, but if we have proven anything, it is that we cannot seem to hold onto the football. ECU is dead last in the nation on turnover margin – that is #120. Yep, and we all thought last year was not repeatable in terms of occupying the bottom rung in any national statistic. Recall a year ago, what truly did us in against Navy were turnovers. A flurry of them eerily reminiscent of the USC game this year.
Trailing 21-28 heading into the 3rd quarter a year ago, the Pirates proceeded to turn the ball over on four of its five 3rd quarter possessions, leading to 28 straight and all-to-easy Navy points. Game over. Sound familiar?
So, if ECU is to change the trend and get another much needed win to boost its hopes for a strong season finish, the turnovers have to stop. The offense has been only a shadow of its former self and Navy is not Memphis. In fact, all that separates Navy from a 5-1 record is five points. They are good and will be playing at home with all the pomp and circumstance that comes with a game in Annapolis (which if you have never been to a game there, you must do yourself that solid and experience it).
Defensively, I would feel a lot better if I knew that Jeremy Grove and Daniel Drake along with Chris Baker were all a go and at full strength. The linebackers must play disciplined football and this time around, particularly, our inside backers must plug, plug, plug. They have to shut down the fullback dive and force the play to our strength which is outside speed.
Offensively, we have to keep the ball in our hands…period. And we must stick with what we did at Memphis which was to challenge in the vertical passing game.
We are going to get Navy’s best effort as they feel like they have their back against the wall with a 2-4 record. You would hope that our players would have uber respect for a team that humiliated the program to historic measures a year ago, but I worry that our guys will somehow take the Midshipmen lightly.
I hope I am wrong because if the Pirates do not play with the passion that is deserving of the Navy players and with a chip that harkens back that stinging defeat in 2010, then we don’t deserve to win at all.
I sure hope our boys “want” this one because will power alone ain’t going to get it done this weekend.