ND's Brown upset over 'malicious' block
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame associate head coach Corwin Brown criticized Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo for his postgame comments about the Irish defensive game plan and for the way the way his team uses what Brown called "malicious" illegal cut blocks.
"I thought it was very disappointing what the Navy coach said after the game," Brown said. "He didn't want something to be misconstrued, then he said it regarding how we prepared and what we prepared to do."
Brown went into his criticism of Niumatalolo after practice Wednesday night, cutting off a reporter before the first question could be asked and speaking for two minutes about the Navy coach.
The Midshipmen (7-3) beat the Irish 23-21 on Saturday, the second Navy win in three years against Notre Dame (6-3) after an NCAA-record 43 straight losses. Following the game, Niumatalolo said the Navy coaches expected the Notre Dame coaches to use a similar defensive scheme as in 2008 when the Irish held the Midshipmen to 178 yards rushing in a 27-21 loss.
"I think the one thing that helped us, and I really hope this doesn't come across wrong, but I think the thing that helped us this year was last year because we knew that they'd line up the same way," Niumatalolo said.
Brown said Niumatalolo should have known how his comment would be taken.
"In all the classy guys I've watched and played under, they would never say something like that," he said.
Brown also criticized the way Niumatalolo coaches his players to block, pointing to a play last season where linebacker Brian Smith sustained a sprained knee because of an illegal cut block, missing the final two regular-season games. On Saturday, Navy receiver Nick Henderson was called for personal foul on a hit on cornerback Robert Blanton.
Brown called the hit on Blanton "one of the most malicious plays I've ever seen since I've been playing."
Brown said he called Niumatalolo about the hit, saying he considered saying something to him before the game about the way Navy blocks.
"Very malicious," Brown said. "In this game, which we're supposed to be playing for our kids and we're working for our kids, you don't let your players do something like that."
Brown wouldn't say how Niumatalolo reacted.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press