Notre Dame associate head coach Corwin Brown offered two complaints Wednesday about Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. One may have been legitimate. The other most certainly was not.
Brown, Notre Dame's co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, ripped Navy's cut blocking, calling it "malicious." He may very well be correct on that front, because option teams often tread a fine line between legal blocking and outright kneecapping. Brown called Niumatalolo this week to tell him just that, and hopefully the conversation was productive. Unfortunately, Brown loses all sympathy points for whining about Niumatalolo's postgame comments.
Niumatalolo said after Navy's 23-21 win at Notre Dame that the Midshipmen were so sure that the Fighting Irish would make no adjustments from 2008, they designed plays guaranteed to work against last year's Notre Dame schemes. Niumatalolo was correct. Navy, with a roster of players who never would have been recruited by Notre Dame, gained 194 yards and scored two first-half touchdowns.
Brown took offense at Niumatalolo's assertion that Irish defensive coaches didn't prepare their players. "I thought it was very disappointing, what the Navy coach said after the game," Brown told The Chicago Tribune on Wednesday night. "He didn't want something to be misconstrued, but then he said it, regarding how we prepared and what we prepared to do. I'm going to tell you this - we came out in the second half, minus one mess-up, they don't get anything."
Indeed, after the cracker-jack adjustments from Notre Dame's defensive staff, Navy gained only 210 yards and scored only one touchdown in the second half. "Whether you think it's the right thing to say or not, in this profession, with all the classy guys that I've watched and played under and studied, they would never say a thing like that," Brown told the paper. "To say that we didn't prepare well or we didn't have a good game plan, that's crazy."
Except Irish defensive coaches didn't prepare their players well. And they didn't have a good game plan. If they had, their superior athletes would have dominated Navy. Sorry, but I'm with Notre Dame defensive tackle Ian Williams on this one.
Brown, who offered these comments before reporters could even ask a question, might want to think hard about the difference between himself and Niumatalolo before he makes more grand pronouncements. Niumatalolo's employer wants him to come back next year. Brown and his fellow defensive coaches probably can't say the same.