Thursday, April 12, 2007

Navy Spring Practice Update: 4/16

Paul Johnson Quote of the Week:
"My job is to try and win games. I will let the marketing department sell the tickets. "

Disturbing Fan House Post of the Week:
Navy's Bowl Invite Another Example of Broken Bowl System

I admire Bill as a blogger and have worked with him in the past before, but I'm really not sure where he's going with this. First off, I can't figure out what he's actually trying to say. It sounds like he's saying Navy's recent agreement with the P-Bowl is just another example of how money has come to dominate college football, and how teams that travel well get priority in Bowl games. Ok, fair enough, what else is new? The thing is he also seems to say Navy doesn't deserve to play in a Bowl game, which is nonsense. Sure, the Mids may take away a "spot" from a lesser BCS conference team, but so do many other non-BCS teams. How many 6-6, Bowl eligible teams missed out on a Bowl last year? One, two? All I can think of is Wyoming, and they can complain to the folks at the New Mexico Bowl, since 6-6 UNM had no business in a Bowl game after getting defeated soundly by Portland St. Furthermore, Bill attempts to make the connection between Navy playing in the P-Bowl and the inability of the NCAA to ever form a playoff. I don't even know how to respond to this, because the subjects seem completely apart.

The Skinny:

Navy held its first spring scrimmage on April 8th, although I was unfortunately not present. To risk maybe making a few mistakes or omissions based on my absence, I'll nevertheless try my best to run through some of the highlights. The actual report can be found at

As you can expect, the offense (in particular the first string) continues to have an advantage over the defense, which makes sense when you consider the disparity in experience that exists between the units. The offense scored seven times out of seventeen possessions in total, including two touchdowns by the first team offense in six attempts. Both incumbent Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and challenger Jarod Bryant led the first team offense to a score, while third string quarterback and former North Carolina "Mr. Football" Troy Goss was unable to direct a scoring drive on two attempts. As the official transcript reports, the second team offense scored three out of five times on the second team defense, while the third team "O," led by Severna Park native Greg Zingler, scored on two of its three possessions against the third team defense.

The second scrimmage of the year, held yesterday morning, was much more balanced, and saw a strong performance by the much-maligned defense. The first team offense scored only twice in eleven tries, as the first team defense forced two turnovers, including two interceptions by rising junior Clint Sovie. Sovie is a player I and many other fans are very high on, as he combines great athletic ability with the hard nosed playing style we've come to expect from Naval Academy linebackers. Nate Frazier is also showing some ability, and while he's struggled against Antron Harper during the scrimmages, he's proven that when he can get his 6-3, 285-lb frame in the backfield he can cause some serious havoc. Jeff Deliz has continued to post solid performances in the secondary, and probably will go into the fall as the starting free safety. Linebacker Jon Alvarado has also played well, and has shown a great nose for the ball thus far.
While the defense played better in Saturday's performance, the offense struggled with a host of turnovers. Quarterback Kaipo-Noa still has a solid hold on the starting job, but shows he still has a lot of room for improvement after throwing two horrible interceptions to Clint Sovie. Jarod Bryant has gotten better on making his option reads and also thrown some good balls, but still displays the inconstancy to make smart plays all the time. While the interception wasn't necessarily his fault, he needs to do a better job of holding onto the ball, something he struggled with last year and continues to struggle with. I think by this point Troy Goss has probably taken himself out of the race for the starting job, and may very well end up being moved back to wideout to try to get him more time on the field. Severna Park native and fourth string quarterback Greg Zingler has looked impressive in his handling of the third team defense, and has many Navy fans intrigued at his ability to lead this team a couple of years down the road.

As expected, Navy's group of slotbacks and fullbacks looks very good early, even though a number of the slotbacks have been sitting out due to injury. Eric Kettani continues to impress with his explosive, aggressive style of running, while a not quite fully healthy Adam Ballard has still shown off his rumbling, hard-nosed style. Rising sophomore Kevin Campbell has looked good as well. As far as the slotbacks are concerned, both Bobby Doyle and Jon Forbes has looked good during their reps, although Reggie Campbell, Shun White, and Zerb Singleton are all but "penciled in" as the starters.
You can read the official transcript of the second scrimmage right here, and don't forget to stop by Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium next Saturday for the annual Blue and Gold game.

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