Notre Dame football: Enjoy the Glory of Navy’s Triple Option
What is the triple-option designed to do?
You see, the triple option is designed to do a couple of things. The first is to limit the number of possessions in a game. This prevents teams with talented and fast offenses from scoring too many points or having too many opportunities to score. It, therefore, makes games inherently closer. The other thing is that it puts defenders on islands.
This way, they’re forced to make a decision, but the option makes it so that decision they make is always wrong. The academies will also go for it on fourth down a lot, from anywhere on the field, meaning they only need to gain about three yards a play for an effective offense.
The academies love to run this system because they’re a few of the least talented teams in the country. That’s not an insult, just a reality. 247 Sports’ talent composite rankings, which average out the talent on a roster based on recruiting, list Navy as the 147th most talented team in the country.
For reference, there are 130 FBS teams, and Notre Dame football is 12th. That’s the reality for the academies, where you need to be an elite student, willing to join the military once you graduate. It’s for very few people.
Marcus Freeman, the new defensive coordinator for the Notre Dame football program, does have experience going against the triple option. During his time at Cincinnati, he coached against Navy twice and Army once. Navy dominated his defense in 2017, the first year he was at Cincinnati, scoring 42 with multiple 100 yard rushers.
By the next season, he’d corrected those issues, shutting out Navy and only giving up a total of 124 yards rushing. The 2020 meeting with Army saw the Bearcats allow 10 points on 182 yards rushing. Freeman knows how to defend the triple option.
When we watch the triple option as opposing fans, we tend to think of it as a problem to go up against. Getting cut block. Staying assignment sound. Making sound tackles.