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Saturday, April 1, 2023


Cougars to face unusual offense in next game


The Cougars will have their No. 1-ranked rush defense tested when they take on Navy’s triple-option offense Saturday. | File photo/The Cougar

The Cougars will travel to face the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen in Annapolis, Maryland this weekend, and it will be one of the most bizarre teams they’ve faced this season.

It will be a rematch of last year’s game where the Cougars shut down Navy’s triple-option offense. The team will require a similar defensive approach to grab the win Saturday.

Head coach Tom Herman said that the preparation for Navy’s offense will be unlike any other team.

“It’s totally different,” Herman said. “All the assignments, run fits and even where you line up on defense are different. We have had success against the run in previous games, but that’s a conventional two back or spread run. We haven’t seen a triple-offense run since Navy last year.”

In dealing with the triple option, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando will ready his players for a type of offense that is no longer common.

Unlike many of the spread or two-back offenses that dominate college football, the triple-option is based predominantly on the running game. Three players are available in the option and can run the ball.

This type of offense makes it hard on defenses to plan since all players in the backfield must be accounted for on every play. At the same time, there should be enough players in coverage to be effective against a potential pass.

Due to the run-heavy nature of Navy’s offense, the Cougars have to stop a rushing attack that has amassed 1,006 yards through their first four games. However, Navy have only thrown for 572 yards this year.

Navy’s run-first plan of attack will look to challenge the Cougars’ top-ranked rushing defense, which is allowing only 42 yards per game.

UH only allowed 147 rushing yards against Navy in the meeting between the teams last season and looks to clamp down on the opponent’s running backs again this year. If the Cougars can stop the run, they can force Navy to turn to their passing game.

The Cougars will also attempt to stop an offense that has scored a rushing touchdown in 52 straight games.

The team is confident in its ability to neutralize Navy’s run game since they have had early success stopping the run this year and because they were able to do so last year.

Sophomore defensive end Jerard Carter attributed the success against the run to the way the team is coached and trained.

“It’s just a testament to the way we practice and the way that coach Herman and coach Orlando and all of the coaches try to get us to emulate them,” Carter said.

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