2015 In Sports
Navy Spring Football Report
19 May 2012
Lest you think I've forgotten our other opponent in the CIC trophy
chase, I've included the spring report for Navy in this response.
Navy did not lose as many starters as AFA this past year, but they did
lose six of their top players from last years team that went 5-7 and
eked out a narrow victory against us. From my observations, the
biggest losses to graduation were at Fullback (Teich), who was their
second leading rusher, and in the defensive line (Tuani at DE and Marks
at Nose Guard). They also lost their academic all american right
tackle Dodd, as well as their center and right guard. The most
interesting story (certainly not mentioned in their spring report) was
that their QB Kris Proctor resigned to avoid being dismissed from the
academy prior to graduation. Thomaswick sent me an article about
it, but the article did not give the reason for his resignation.
One can only speculate that it was likely an honor violation.
Proctor led Navy in rushing with 1100 yards last year.
I've taken a close look at the official spring report, with particular
interest in what they've done to fill the gaps left by
graduation. According to the depth chart, the replacement for
Teich at FB is a relatively small fullback, Noah Copeland (5' 10" 205
lbs) who has yet to carry the ball in a Division 1 level game (Army has
three guys in the starting backfield who outweigh Copeland). The
replacement QB is a junior, Trey Miller (6' 0" 199 lbs), who got about
the same amount of playing time as our backup Santiago last year with
comparable stats. He played the entire Central Michigan game and
looked reasonably good in that one (Navy won by a single point when
Central Michigan decided to go for two on their last TD). The QB
is the key player in the triple option and it remains to be seen
whether Miller will measure up to the standards set by Dobbs and
Proctor. Navy also has to replace three starters on the right
side of their offensive line, which may or may not be a problem.
Navy has 4 guys returning at linebacker and 3 of 4 defensive backs, but
their defense was a bit porous last year and the loss of Tuani at DE
and Marks at NG may hurt them, but the learning curve for defensive
linemen is usually easier than for offensive linemen.
It's certainly hazardous trying to read too much into a spring scouting
report, especially given that there's a full season to play before we
meet Navy. Navy starts their season playing against Notre Dame in
Dublin Ireland, and one would expect that the Fighting Irish will put
on a display of power unless they spend too much time in the pubs
before the game. The following week, Navy takes on Penn State; so
it's likely that they'll start the season at 0-2. They'll get a
breather against VMI before takind on San Jose State, Air Force, and
Central Michigan. Their homecoming game is against Indiana, which
could be interesting, although Indiana is not expected to be
competitive in the Big Ten this year.
At any rate, here's what USA Today had to say about Navy this
year. It's actually a pretty good analysis in my humble opinion:
defense must improve after rough year
opened spring ball hoping to answer the questions that led to the
program's eight-year bowl run coming to an end last season.
there's a new quarterback and some things have to be worked out on the
offense, it's the Navy defense that will be most closely watched in the
Sept. 1 season opener in Ireland against Notre Dame and beyond.
defense was banged around quite a bit last year and is now younger and
more inexperienced. Shifts have been made, even moving one of the
backup quarterbacks, Jarvis Cummings, to outside linebacker, but we
won't know the results until the season.
think it has to be better than last year, when Navy was 78th in the
country in scoring defense, 86th in overall defense, 92nd against the
run, 101st in first downs allowed, 105th in pass efficiency defense and
117th in tackles for loss.
heavy duty numbers to try to come back from, and the opening game
against the Fighting Irish just might be a tough way to start.
missed it, Navy was part of the carousel of programs moving around the
country and the Midshipmen will become a football-only member of the
Big East. You get kudos if you can tell us who will make up the rest of
people look back, they will mark this as a truly historic day for the
Big East Conference," said commissioner John Marinatto. "America's
first national football conference is adding a program with true
national appeal. Navy's decision to make the Big East its first
football conference home after over 100 years of independence
demonstrates the value of our new expansion model and the long-term
viability of our football product. The Big East is truly proud to be
associated with one of the most prestigious academic institutions in
the country and one of the most storied programs in college football."
Joshua Jones, projected as a starter after the loss to Jabaree Tuani,
left the team just before the start of spring practice, which moved
fellow senior-to-be Collin Sturdivant up to No. 1 on the depth chart.
and spoke to me prior to the break. He had some things going on in the
hall," coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "He's a great kid. He's trying to
take care of his swimming test and some other things you have to do to
graduate here. It started to weigh down on him. Not only the academics,
but you're trying to pass all your physical requirements and try to
come out here and be the best player you can be."
of DE Joshua Jones came after fellow DE Jamel Dobbs left the program
and the academy after a medical scare on the day of the Army game. He
was found slumped in a chair and disoriented but tests didn't provide
were running a counter play that was confounding their defense. "We got
it from Army," said coach Ken Niumatalolo, noting "spring is a time you
try a lot of different things." He said Army had success with the play
against both Navy and Air Force.
open their 2012 season in Dublin against Notre Dame.
won 10 straight and 11 of the last 12 games against Army, but has
failed to win the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy each of the past two
seasons after winning seven straight. Air Force has won the last two.
assistant coach Shaun Nua is working with the defensive line after
serving as a graduate assistant at BYU. "I wanted to get out of there.
I wanted to expand my horizons and learn from different coaches," said
Nua, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers. "I love BYU, but I
didn't want to stay there forever. I wanted to coach at a different
school and I couldn't think of a better place than the Naval Academy."
QUESTIONS: The real question as Navy got into spring ball was: who are
those people on the defensive line? The offense, now under the
direction of the seemingly-able Trey Miller, always seems to take care
of itself at Navy but the defensive front is as inexperienced after
graduations and defections. Coach Ken Niumatalolo and his staff have
shifted some people around to try to find the answer but this figures
to be a work in progress.
Robinson -- The sophomore-to-be made his way into the depth chart
picture with a strong spring.
gotten much better," defensive coordinator Buddy Green told the
Annapolis Capital-Journal. "The thing about Shak is that he studies the
game and doesn't make the same mistake twice. He's very disciplined for
a freshman and does a pretty good job as far as tackling."
Cummings was making a successful shift from quarterback to outside
really excited about him," said coach Ken Niumatalolo. "He's done some
good things at outside linebacker. He's made a smooth transition, but
I've been excited just by his attitude. He's not sulking. He doesn't
have his head down. He's been a team player.
for Jarvis. We're excited about him."
NOTE: "This doesn't help our prolific passing attack." -- Coach Ken
Niumatalolo, whose team runs the option and hasn't passed a whole lot,
on a windy practice day.
OUTLOOK: Having had their bowl run stopped and having failed to win the
all-important Commander-In-Chief's Trophy in the annual battle with
Army and Air Force, Navy looks to bounce back and will try to do it
with another new starting quarterback at Trey Miller takes over. You
can always expect the offense to run, but you have to wonder about a
defense that was looking for answers and shifting bodies around, and a
kicking game that is inexperienced.
THE OFFENSE: Trey Miller showed enough last season to tell you he is
ready to take over the starting job. Kriss Proctor's elbow injury
opened the door for some valuable snaps for Mill and the job is now
his. FB Alexander Teich and slot Aaron Santiago are gone, leaving Gee
Gee Greene and John Howell as veteran slotbacks but also leaving the
fullback in the hands of inexperienced.
THE DEFENSE: There was nothing the Navy defense can really point to
with pride over last season, and that was with star DE Jabaree Tuani.
He's gone, others up front have left and there is a whole lot of
inexperience on this side of the ball. The linebackers are a solid
group but the front is untested and the secondary needs improvement.
The Mids do return their top tacklers but all are from behind the front
THE SPECIAL TEAMS: The Mids were looking for a kicker, and there was
open competition and new faces arriving. Junior Brynmor Hughes was
listed as No. 1 on the depth chart, but this figures to be a wide-open
battle in the spring; after K Jon Teague had such a rough time of it
Boyd -- Listed as a three-star recruit by Scout.com, he was committed
to Air Force but opted for Navy. Did someone say Big East influence?
Adewon -- The 6-4, 290-pound blocker was being lured by Indiana,
Kansas, New Mexico and Utah but brought his bulk to Annapolis.
Hoff -- The 6-2, 285-pound Hoff was the target of almost every school
in the MAC. He chose Navy.
French has moved from outside to inside, something coordinator Buddy
Green says he did some of the time last season.
were a lot of defenses in which we used him as a spy underneath for
crossing routes and he did a really good job. He has the ability to
cover guys out in open space," Green told the Annapolis
Capital-Journal. "We think he can help us a lot in the passing game and
improve our coverage at the inside linebacker spot. We're just trying
to get more speed on the field."
FB Maiku Polamalu sustained a knee injury in spring camp but should be
OK after an MRI revealed no significant damage.
actually better than we thought. It came back that he doesn't have any
tears. He might have some strains," coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "I
thought it was worse than that. He might come back at the end of the
Brynmor Hughes, listed as the No. 1 kicker, was out with an injury.
Jarvis Cummings was shifted from quarterback and given the full spring
to get used to a new position.
to give a kid a full spring and a full fall to get a chance to show
what he can do," said offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper. "Sometimes, if
the guys are in the same class, and I didn't see him beating Trey out
and that's the reason I talked to him. I said 'Hey, you're probably not
going to beat Trey out. Do you want to sit behind Trey or do you want
to go someplace where you can play?'"
Cummings, who appeared in two games as a QB last season: "As soon I got
done with the meeting, I took it in full-heartedly and said I was
dedicating myself to this position. There's no point moping around and
saying 'They changed me from quarterback.' Just take the new position
and learn it as fast as I can."
Lynch was back on offense, his original spot, after his year at safety.
didn't play as much (at safety) toward the end of last year and we just
felt he was needed more at receiver," coach Ken Niumatalolo said.
"Brandon Turner became a weapon for us last season. He was basically
like a tight end, but teams started to figure out which way we were
running by where he lined up. Having a big guy (Lynch) on the other
side will make us harder to defend."