Every off-season I get the same question from tons of people, “How’s Navy going to do this year?”. For a long time, my answers were quite optimistic. Even heading into the 2018 season, I was excited about Malcolm Perry finally fully transitioning to quarterback and becoming the starter.
However, after a brutal 3-10 record over the course of the 2018 season, I have to admit, I got pretty cynical this off-season. Maybe it was because my expectations were overwhelmingly too high heading into last season. Maybe it was due to a third straight loss to Army. Maybe it was because I bought into all of the skepticism about Malcolm Perry’s ability to stay healthy as a smaller quarterback. Who knows?
But, my answer this off-season, although pessimistic, has actually appeared to be accurate. When asked that same question this summer and early fall, I responded, somewhat sarcastically, “Better than last year”.
The Navy Midshipmen are off to a 2-0 record which is literally better than last season. They have won each game by an average margin of 35 points and the defense has only allowed a total of 17 points. This improved defense is giving Navy fans around the world an incredible sense of hope.
But, of course, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Navy’s first win against Holy Cross was expected given that they were an FCS team. And East Carolina, well, they are competing with UConn for the worst team in the AAC. Additionally, both of these wins were at home for the Midshipmen. So while 2-0 is a comfortable start to the year, these might be the easiest games of the year (playing at UConn will likely have a similar result as these two).
The Midshipmen have a week off before they travel to Memphis to take on Mike Norvell’s Tigers in a Thursday night match. Last year, Navy upset Memphis in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 22-21. Unfortunately, the Midshipmen won’t be able to take advantage of the short week because Memphis, too, has a bye week. The Tigers enter the game with a 3-0 record, including an impressive home-win against Ole Miss in the season opener.
If we look one game further, we see Navy will host Air Force back at home, which definitely gives Navy an advantageous. Between now and then, Air Force will play at Boise State and home against San Jose State. We can assume the Falcons will be a pretty bad San Jose State team.
So, if (and that’s a big “if”) Air Force beats Boise State, and Navy wins against both Memphis and Air Force, is Navy ranked in the Top 25? I say, no. But, the potential is there. I know, I know. One game at a time. Focus on Memphis, etc, etc. But, a guy can dream right?
My outlook on Navy’s season has reverted back to its old self. A cautious optimism is brewing inside. The offense looks good. The execution of passing plays can be better but isn’t terrible. And, the defense has life and inspiration. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but for now, Navy’s potential isn’t at all limited.