Fall Camp ended last night with the annual talent show, and enough fast food to make you think the Mids are getting ready to make a trip to the White House in the Spring.
Run and Shoot
Calm down, Navy will still be a triple-option offense first and foremost. One of the things the coaching staff recognized during off-season film study was the blatant disregard their opponents had for the passing game. Navy has decided to address that by mixing in a little run-and-shoot action in order to keep opposing defenses off-balance, providing a little more breathing room to the running game.
Cue one of the newest addition to the Navy Coaching staff in Billy Ray Stutzmann. Stutzmann has operated in run-and-shoot offenses since high school when he was reeling in passes from Marcus Mariota. He has been coaching in various capacities since he graduated from Hawaii; Niumatalolo believes the experience he brings in the system as both a player and a coach will have a significant impact on the offense.
The coaching staff decided the run-and-shoot was the best fit for Navy because both passing and running plays can be run out of the same formation, thus not making it abundantly obvious what’s about to happen. There are also similarities in that reading the defense is the key to deciding what happens after the snap. So far the players have all adapted well since they were introduced in the spring; now it’s just a matter of making sure the quarterback is on the same page as the slots and wideouts with respect to reading the defense. The objective is to keep defenses honest downfield, and if there is even a modicum of success in implementing this new scheme there could be significant pay off this fall.
No worries about a three-man rotation under center this season, Senior Malcolm Perry has distanced himself from Junior Dalen Morris who was given every opportunity to take the job in the spring. Ivin Jasper has a great deal of confidence in his quarterback who has made leaps and bounds to understating both the option and run-and-shoot schemes. Also important to point out is underclassmen Tyger Goslin, Perry Olsen, and Massai Maynor are all showing a lot of promise and potential, enough to potentially push Morris out of the dedicated backup spot. Jasper said none of them have done what it takes to show the coaching staff they can be trusted in a game yet.
Fullback is another position battle shaping up to be interesting as we get closer to kicking off the 2019 campaign. Junior Nelson Smith is one of the only guys at the position with game time reps, but the job isn’t his outright yet. Sophomore Issac Ruoss had a great spring and is making an argument into the fall about why he should be considered for the starting position.
Defensive Shake Up
We have spent a lot of time at Against All Enemies breaking down the new defensive scheme and realignment of position players that has come with it. At this point it is up to the players to carry it through to execution. The good news is the players on that side of the ball have sustained the momentum they built during the spring and carried it through to fall proactive.
The players you heard about after the spring are still the players who continue to spearhead Newberry new defense. Nizaire Cromartie, Jacob Springer, and Diego Fagot all continue to be standouts that have really flourished in the 4-2-5 scheme. Most positions on the defense have been firmed up, but there isn’t a lot of room between the starters and their backups. The only position where a starter has yet to be determined is the WILL Inside Linebacker, where Senior Tyler Pistorio and Junior Austin Talbert-Loving are battling it out.
One of the more exciting notes from the defense is the fact that several freshmen are making their case to get on the field right out of the gate.
Extra Points and Field Goals – Who’s up Next?
Not the most exciting, but arguably one of the most important position battles rages on as the coaching staff seeks to find a replacement to Bennett Moehring. Moehring, who graduated in May, is Navy’s all-time points leader for a kicker. He was also the leader in extra points, leaving very large, and more importantly - reliable, shoes to fill. In line to fill the vacancy are Senior J.R. Osborne who has been a kickoff specialist, classmate Owen White, entering his third season as a punter, and sophomore Ben Fee.
The preferred course of action is White retaining primary duties as a punter, while serving as back up place kicker. The coaching staff is concerned about the wear and tear from handling both duties simultaneously, and would prefer to avoid it if at all possible. That leaves Osborne and Fee as the favorites, and unless White just clearly outperforms the two of them, we’re probably down to a two-man race.
Looking Ahead, Not Back
After the 2018 3-10 season that left Navy fans holding their breathe for what the future holds, there’s much to be excited about for 2019. New faces everywhere would normally be concerning, but with the new schemes on both sides of the ball, it’s time to start getting excited again.