Losing two games in a weekend doesn't sit well with anyone, but US Naval Academy Head Coach Mike Flanagan isn't scuttling the ship just yet.
After all, he ran out two different teams against an impressive Virginia Tech outfit and then Life University. In both games, his team was in it right until the end.
"Against Va Tech we had a horrible first ten minutes and a horrible last 13, but in between we did pretty well," Flanagan told RUGBYMag.com. "We were up by rfour with 13 minutes to go and we lose by 20. How does that happen. We had some young guys in there and they needed to learn what that situation is like and that's fine. A lot of freshmen learned something there."
Against Life, which RUGBYMag.com has ranked #3 in the College Premier League, the Midshipmen were down 25-17 with six minutes to go.
"Then they went to work on us," said Flanagan. "Looking at the game, though, I thought we had the measure of them in the forwards. They probably were better than us out wide, but I was very pleased with us 1 thorugh 8."
The issue for Navy is decision-making. The decisions to move the ball to the open man in space is one that, Flanagan and many coaches say, needs to be made before you get the ball in your hand. Catch-and-pass has to be done quickly - very quickly - and if the brain has any doubts, the player tends to tuck the ball and cut back inside into contact.
"I think if you look at the main differece between Life and us, Life has guys who have been playing longer - some eight or nine years instead of 18 months - and they know to make a decision before they have the ball in their hands," said Flanagan. "Our guys are still making decisions after they get the ball. it's something we will be working on."
Flanagan had nothing but praise for Life's play, adding that their back row, led by Garrett Lambert, was excellent. But it wasn't a wasted trip to Georgia by the Naval Academy men.
"We're going to take something from this, put in a lot of hard work, and get at it," said Flanagan.