Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Mopping up after rout of Navy

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Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly gave much of the credit for his team's defensive success in a 56-14 win Navy to two of his least-known assistants.

"The first thing that I would point out is our graduate assistants, Mike Painter and John Carpenter, both those guys did a great job of preparing our defense for what they needed to see in putting together Navy's offense with our players," Kelly said Sunday. "They did a great job of preparing our young guys, in particular those that had never seen option before. It was as realistic as it was in the game. They just did a tremendous job. 

"That's why we all felt collectively really confident going in, because we saw how well those guys were schooled during the week. The most important thing, if you really look at the young guys that were out there, they weren't on the ground. They knew how to play off blocks. We cut during the week. I would give a lot of the credit not only to our coaches and players but also to our graduate assistants, and our guys that demoed Navy did an incredible job."

PRAISE FOR FLOYD

Michael Floyd had four catches for 28 yards against USC. He had six grabs for 121 yards against Navy.

"The guy was unbelievable," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "What Floyd did against us we have seen him do against everybody. The guy is a big-time receiver. You throw the hitch out to him and he stiff-arms guys, most of them, for touchdowns. He's catching the ball underneath. He's catching balls over the top. The kid is a complete player. The guy played well. What he did wasn't a surprise. We knew we had to try to find a way to stop him but we couldn't get it done."

Navy pulled to within 14-7 with 11:06 left in the second quarter when Rees hooked up with Floyd on a 56-yard pass and catch on the first play of the ensuing drive.

"He couldn't wait to play," Kelly said of Floyd. "You could just tell he was ready to play. He had talked about it all week, about coming out and having a great game. He was not going to be denied."

MORE PRAISE FOR MANTI

Manti Te'o was coming off his worst game of the season against the Trojans and responded with 13 tackles, including two for losses, and 1/2 a sack against Navy.

"The difference for us offensively against their defense was Manti," Niumatalolo said. "We could not block Manti. We have been doing this for a long time. We tried a lot of different schemes and tried a lot of things to block him but the kid played phenomenal ... We just could not block the guy. We tried to misdirect him, tried to get him lost and tried to do some different things with his eyes and that kid was dialed in."

Senior fullback Alexander Teich, who had 210 of Navy's 367 rushing yards against Notre Dame last season, was asked about the difference between that Irish defense and this one.

"They played a different scheme defensively," Teich said. "I really thought those guys were flying to the ball, from Harrison Smith making big plays to Te'o being an absolute nightmare for us in the middle. Last year we were able to get him blocked and this year for some reason he was making plays. You can see that after seeing how many tackles he had today. He did a great job."

THUMBS UP

There was a reason why Tommy Rees ran back onto the field with the Irish up 49-7 in the fourth quarter. Backup Dayne Crist was supposed to be in the game but had yet to take the necessary practice snaps from backup center Mike Golic Jr. When he got a few more snaps, he gave Kelly the thumbs up and entered the game on Notre Dame's third series of the quarter.

"I probably should have done a better job communicating upstairs with our coaches and wanting to get Dayne in," Kelly said. 

INJURY NEWS

Freshman defensive end Chase Hounshell suffered a minor shoulder injury against Navy but should not be limited in practice this week, according to Kelly, who reported no other serious injuries. 

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on October 30, 2011 2:54 PM.

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