Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ram Vela

One of the best things about an "off" week like this is that you inevitably hear a little more about individual players outside of the football field. Unfortunately for most teams, this kind of news usually comes from the police blotter, and in the case of Navy sophomore Ram Vela, it almost came from the, uh, national defense blotter.

What I'm referring to is last year's visit to the White House, is which Ram was inexplicably pulled over by security guards and subsequently interrogated. I kid you not:

I was about to walk in and the lady checking my ID saw my name and said into a microphone that "he's here" and she asked me to step to the side so I stepped to the side and a secret service agent came and just started hammering me with questions about where I was from, when I was born, just a bunch of questions. He had a piece of paper with him and I was able to see it and it had my name and I guess the guy who they thought I was matched up to me completely. He had the same name, same height, same weight, everything. They were looking for tattoos on my hand and everything. It was pretty scary. I didn't know what to think. I thought maybe I didn't pay a traffic ticket or something and there was a warrant out for me that I didn't know about. Finally they let me go in with the team. It took about 15 minutes and all the guys really gave me a hard time. Everybody thought I had a secret life. I guess the guy they were looking for lived in Minnesota. His name was Ramiro Ray Vela and that is my name. His nickname was even Ram like mine."

Aside from being extremely weird and probably more than embarrassing for Ram, this kind of story cracks me up. Maybe the only thing funnier than that is Ram's outlook at his constant position changes.

"I was a recruited quarterback, played some receiver and slot back at the prep school, then came here and started out as a slot back, was moved to corner, tried to play safety and that didn't work, moved back to corner and now I'm at outside linebacker. I'm wondering if the defensive line is next."

Just a haunch, but I think Ram may have found his spot at the outside linebacker "raider" position. In his six tackle effort last week Ram showed off his speed and instincts that at times seemed reminiscent to former Navy great David Mahoney. With Buddy Green digging deep into the depth chart, he may have finally found a player that has the ability to match up well in both run support and pass coverage. Ram also gives Buddy Green and his defense a player that can get into the backfield when coming on the outside, which could come in handy down the road as Navy's young defense begins to mature. I know we have a long way to go on defense, but the point is that the talent is there, it just has to be developed and refined. It probably won't happen this year, but at some point the players from the class of 2010, including guys like Vela and Tony Haberer, are going to come together and turn in a complete performance.

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