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Dana Holgorsen believes simplicity is key against Navy’s defense, limiting mistakes crucial

Head coach Dana Holgorsen stands on the sideline during the Cougars game against BYU | Courtesy of UH athletics

Head coach Dana Holgorsen stands on the sideline during the Cougars game against BYU. | Courtesy of UH athletics

When preparing to play Navy, teams tend to spend the majority of their time planning how to defend the triple-option, but the Midshipmen’s defense should not be overlooked, which is something UH football head coach Dana Holgorsen has emphasized to his team.

Just like how the Navy offense gives opposing defenses formations they have never seen before, the Midshipmen’s defense presents a wide variety of challenges, making it impossible for opposing offenses to prepare for all the looks Navy will show them during a game.

“I don’t have enough time in a week to give everybody those looks,” Holgorsen said on his weekly Thursday night radio show. “The way they shift fronts. The multiple fronts they line up with.”

Holgorsen attributes this to the fact that the Naval Academy already demands a lot of these kids in life, so learning different schemes and executing them on the field is no challenge.

“The Naval Academy is what it is,” Holgorsen said. “They’ve got smart, hardworking, overachieving kids that you can put a lot on.”

Because of not having the time to prepare for all the different formations and schemes the Midshipmen defense will show, Houston simplified its game plan against Navy last season and had lots of success, mustering up 527 yards of offense that produced 41 points.

Despite the ability to move the ball down the field at will in that game, however, turnovers killed the Cougars. They committed five turnovers, which the Midshipmen turned into 21 points.

“We had quite a bit of success against them (by simplifying our game plan),” Holgorsen said. “Unfortunately, we turned it over too many times, which was the difference in the game.”

Heading into Saturday’s matchup, Houston feels like it has the blueprint to be successful against the Midshipmen, but the key to winning will be if it can take care of the ball.

Navy is one of the most disciplined teams in the nation, which has only committed two penalties in five games, and it will capitalize on any mistakes the Cougars make.

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