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2008 Navy Midshipmen Senior Varsity Football

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  • Phelps Hobart
    Circle Saturday, December 6 on your calendar - the Army-Navy game! The time will be 9:00 PST. Set your television to CBS. It is going to seem strange not to
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 24, 2008
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      Circle Saturday, December 6 on your calendar - the Army-Navy game! The time will be 9:00 PST.  Set your television to CBS.
      It is going to seem strange not to see Coach Paul Johnson on the field.  He is the only coach in Navy's history to go 6-0 in his first six seasons against Army, and his 2006-07 senior class was the first in Navy history to win the Commander in Chief's Trophy for all four years.
      On a lighter note scroll down to read about Naval Academy alumnus Charlie on his vacation.
      2008 Navy Midshipmen Senior Varsity Football Schedule
      08/30/08vs. Towson TVAnnapolis, Md.3:30 p.m.
      09/05/08at Ball State TVMuncie, Ind.7:00 p.m.
      09/13/08at Duke TVDurham, N.C.12:00 p.m.
      09/20/08vs. Rutgers TVAnnapolis, Md.3:30 p.m.
      09/27/08at Wake ForestWinston Salem, N.C.TBA
      10/04/08at Air Force TVColorado Springs, Colo.4:00 p.m.
      10/18/08vs. Pittsburgh TVAnnapolis, Md.3:30 p.m.
      10/25/08vs. SMU TVAnnapolis, Md.3:30 p.m.
      11/01/08vs. Temple TVAnnapolis, Md.3:30 p.m.
      11/15/08vs. Notre Dame TVBaltimore, Md.12:00 p.m.
      11/25/08at Northern Illinois TVDeKalb, Ill.7:00 p.m.
      12/06/08vs. Army TVPhiladelphia, Pa.12:00 p.m.


      Navy offense on the march
      Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo liked what he saw from the first-team offense during yesterday’s intrasquad scrimmage. The Mids open their 2008 season a week from today at home against Towson.

      Published August 23, 2008
      Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo was happy to see the starting offense march up and down the field in yesterday's intra-squad scrimmage.

      It didn't matter that it came against the scout team defense comprised of players who will never see the field this season.

      It was a welcome relief considering the way the first and second team offense struggled to move the ball in Navy's first two scrimmages at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

      "I was much more pleased with the tempo and effort in this scrimmage from an offensive standpoint," Niumatalolo said.

      Niumatalolo had to light a fire under the offense early on when he saw some players not playing at full speed. That was somewhat understandable since the scout team defense wasn't allowed to tackle and the whistle blew at the slightest contact.

      Nonetheless, when the first team offense failed to execute a play properly in the red zone, Niumatalolo called timeout and ripped into the group. He screamed at tackle Jeff Battipagalia for not diving to the ground to complete a cut block and told fullback Eric Kettani he was "running like an old man."

      "It's tough when there is no tackling. You don't know whether the play is over or not," Niumatalolo explained. "That was just a kindly reminder to the guys to go full speed."

      Yesterday's scrimmage was different from the previous two in that the starting offense didn't go against the starting defense and so on. In fact, the purpose of the trip to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium was to mimic the game-day routine and work on special situations.

      Navy went through an abbreviated version of pre-game warm-ups and the coaching staff all wore headsets. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper and a group of assistants worked out of the press box as they would during a regular-season game.

      It was strange to see first-year slot backs coach Joe DuPaix sending in the plays from the sidelines. Former head coach Paul Johnson did that for the previous six years, shuttling wide receivers or slot backs in and out of the game to tell the quarterback what he wanted.

      Whoever is sending in plays moves up the field parallel to the offense. Niumatalolo prefers to watch plays unfold from well behind the line of scrimmage so he can see the blocking better.

      Navy worked on "sudden change" situations when the offense or defense must get on the field in a hurry due to a turnover. The Midshipmen also practiced various special teams drills such as punt coverage and kickoff return.

      "We tried to go through as many game-like situations as we could without manufacturing them," Niumatalolo said.

      Sophomore wide receiver Mario Washington fielded all the punts and it appears he has won that job. Sophomore safety Emmett Merchant will likely return kickoffs along with Shun White, who performed that role last season along with fellow slot back Reggie Campbell.

      Freshman Jon Teague boomed several long kickoffs and showed why he will probably make the travel squad to handle that role only. Senior Matt Harmon is the most consistent and accurate place-kicker and will field goals and extra points, but Teague has the ability to boom kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

      Starting fullback Eric Kettani ran the ball well and probably would have ripped off several long touchdown runs had there not been such quick whistles. Starting quarterback Jarod Bryant and starting slot back White also had some nice gains.

      Third string quarterback Joe Taylor had the highlight of the scrimmage, breaking through a huge hole on an option keeper and racing untouched for what looked like a 65-yard touchdown.

      "The most important thing is that nobody got hurt," Niumatalolo said.

      INJURY REPORT: Starting wide receiver Tyree Barnes and backup guard Andy Lark sat out the scrimmage with undisclosed injuries … Backup fullback Alexander Teich has resumed practicing after missing three days with a sprained ankle suffered in last weekend's scrimmage… Backup slot back Andre Byrd remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury that has been lingering for two weeks.

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      Huge slot to fill Navy replaces dynamic backfield performers
      Shun White will have some big shoes to fill in the offensive backfield as the Mids’ top returning slot back.
      Published August 22, 2008

      Navy suffered a pair of heavy losses at the slot back position and will need some unproven veterans or talented newcomers to step up and help carry the load this season.

      Reggie Campbell was without question the finest slot back of the triple-option era at Navy. The 5-foot-6, 168-pounder ranks second all-time at Navy with 4,737 all-purpose yards. The Florida native piled up 2,019 all-purpose yards in 2007, the third-best single-season total in program history.

      Campbell did it all well - a dynamic runner, receiver and blocker. He was also a demon on special teams.

      Fellow 2008 graduate Zerb Singleton was a pretty special slot back in his own right. The 5-foot-8, 164-pounder was a dominant blocker and gradually evolved into a very effective runner for the Midshipmen. The Georgia native rushed for 484 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.

      Singleton was also an inspirational figure on and off the field. He reached the highest level of leadership as Brigade Commander and was winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl-Football Writers' Association of America Courage Award.

      "Those are two tremendous student-athletes we had at Navy and will be very hard to replace," current Navy slot backs coach Joe DuPaix said. "Fortunately, the other guys have seen Reggie and Zerb perform on film. They know what the legacy is and the standard that has been set."

      Navy does return one experienced slot back in senior Shun White, who has rushed for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns over the course of his career. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound speedster led all Navy slots in rushing last season with 620 yards and seven touchdowns.

      White, a product of Raleigh-Egypt High in Memphis, Tenn., is a standout sprinter for the Navy track and field team. He was the 200-meter dash champion and finished second in the 100-meter at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships, posting times of 21.72 seconds and 10.77, respectively.

      During preseason testing, White blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds - fastest time on the entire team. His 37-3 vertical leap ranks third on the squad. DuPaix, in his first season as an assistant at Navy, said White sets the standard for the other slots.

      "Shun has done a real nice job, both vocally and by example. He's a physical specimen, which shows he hits the weight room hard. He's got great speed and acceleration, which is the result of years of track training," DuPaix said. "He gives great effort out on the field. He'll teach and coach the younger guys up, tell them exactly what they need to do."

      Senior Greg Shinego and junior Bobby Doyle are the only other slot backs on the roster who have played in a varsity game. Both men have seen more time on special teams than they have in the backfield. Shinego has four career carries for 22 yards while Doyle has four career carries for eight yards.

      Shinego, out of Centennial High in Port St. Lucie, Fla., was battling for a starting job before breaking a bone in his hand. He is still wearing a cast and is doubtful for the season opener against Towson.

      "Shinego is kind of like the coach in the group. He knows what each position is doing and why. He'll voice his opinion and tell the younger guys the way to do things," DuPaix said.

      Doyle, whose pro agility time of 4.11 seconds is third-best on the team, has been stuck at third on the depth chart. The Chardon High (Ohio) graduate originally came to Navy as a quarterback.

      "Bobby Doyle is very consistent. He knows what he's supposed to do," DuPaix said.

      Talented sophomore Andre Byrd emerged from spring practice atop the depth chart along with White. The 5-foot-7, 157-pounder is already one of the top blockers within the unit and also possesses outstanding quickness.

      A three-sport standout (football, track, weightlifting) at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., Byrd enjoyed a superb season with the junior varsity in 2007. However, he has been slowed by a quadriceps injury during preseason and has fallen to No. 2 on the depth chart.

      "Byrd is a tough football player. He's got a little bit of wiggle in him, some elusiveness," DuPaix said.

      One of the biggest surprises of preseason camp is that unheralded junior Cory Finnerty has stepped up and grabbed the other starting spot. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder, who did not see any varsity action as a freshman or sophomore, has been solid in the three crucial areas - running, blocking and receiving.

      "The reason Finnerty is up there right now is that he's sound. He does what he's supposed to do, has proven that he's consistent and will make plays," DuPaix sasid. "Cory also has a little make-you-miss in him. He can accelerate around a defender."

      Navy has a slew of talented freshmen slot backs, two of which appear on the current depth chart. Corey James (5-8, 168), a product of University Christian in Jackonsville, Fla., is now listed as the backup to White. Jarren Brown (5-8, 175), out of C.H. Flowers in Upper Marlboro, debuted at No. 3 this week.

      As a group, Navy's slot backs are either young, inexperienced or both. White, the only veteran with significant playing experience, has taken on the role of mentor.

      "It's like drinking from a firehose for these young guys. They are getting overwhelmed with information, but they're flying around, working hard and learning pretty fast," White said. "They look to me to guide them so I'm going to do everything I can to teach them and lead them."

      Three years in the triple-option offense has taught White one undeniable fact about being a slot back at Navy. If you want to play, you must prove that you can cut a linebacker or stand up a safety.

      "It's not about running the ball. I've tried to instill in the young guys that you've got to block first in this offense. That is what is most important," White said.


      Flashy Barnes anchors Navy receiving corps
      Senior Tyree Barnes has started 35 games at wide receiver for Navy during his career. He has improved his blocking in the option attack.
      Published August 19, 2008

      Navy has one solid starter at wide receiver and a slew of candidates with different skills battling for the other spot.

      Tyree Barnes is by far the most experienced member of the unit and is a virtual lock to start the season opener. The sleek 6-foot-2, 197-pound senior started all 13 games last season and has played in 35 games over the course of his career.

      "Tyree is trying to be a veteran, trying to lead, trying to set the tempo, trying to be a playmaker," Navy wide receivers coach Danny O'Rourke said of Barnes.

      Big things have been expected of Barnes ever since he flashed superb speed and skills as a plebe. However, chronic leg injuries have hampered the Hampton, Va., native throughout his career - limiting his effectiveness.

      Barnes, who owns the fourth-fastest 40- and 20-yard dash times on the team at 4.46 and 2.54, is finally fully healthy and hoping for a breakout season. He had 10 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown in


      "My legs feel better than they have in a long time," Barnes admitted after practice last week. "It definitely makes a difference, especially with blocking."

      Receivers are crucial blockers in Navy's triple-option offense with their ability to take a defensive back out of the play often determining how much yardage will be gained on a perimeter run. That was an area of weakness for Barnes in the past, but the coaching staff said he is much improved as a blocker.

      Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has plenty of options with regard to the opposite receiver position. Senior Curtis Sharp is currently listed No. 1 on the depth chart despite missing considerable practice time in preseason due to a nagging injury.

      At 6-foot-4 and 247 pounds, Sharp would most certainly a tight end in a conventional offense. That position does not exist in the triple-option and thus the South Carolina native is one of the biggest wide-outs in the country. He has learned to use that size to be a tough, physical downfield blocker.

      "Curtis is a big body. When he gets his hand on a defensive back, he can be a real effective blocker," O'Rourke said.

      Sharp has appeared in 23 games over the past two seasons and compiled just four receptions for 22 yards so his ability to get open and catch the ball remains in question.

      Senior T.J. Thiel entered August camp even with Sharp, but is now listed as the backup to Barnes. The 6-foot, 192-pound Minnesota native has good hands and runs sharp routes, according to O'Rourke. He played in six games a year ago and did not record a reception.

      "T.J. has been a little inconsistent in camp. He still needs to get a lot better," O'Rourke said. "He's been around and knows what it takes to win. He plays hard."

      Making a strong push for playing time is sophomore Mike Schupp, who has impressed the coaching staff with his reckless style. The 5-foot-10,180-pounder played on the junior varsity as a plebe, but earned a spot on the depth chart with a strong spring.

      "Schupp is playing really, really hard. He always goes 100 miles per hour. He's undersized and may get out-matched in some games, but he'll stick his nose in there and he'll fight," O'Rourke said. "That's what we need out of that position - somebody who is going to be physical, play hard and block their butt off. I'm trying to get everybody to play the way he does."

      Another sophomore in the mix is Mario Washington, who entered preseason practice as the backup to Barnes but has since dropped to third string. Washington (5-9, 184) has all the physical tools, but needs to learn how to do all the little things right, O'Rourke said.

      "Mario just has to keep getting better and more consistent. He'll have a couple good days in a row then he'll have a few bad days," O'Rourke said. "He does some things athletically that can help us. He can run, he can get open, he can catch the ball. It's in between his ears more than anything. He just needs to keep pushing himself. He's got more in the tank."

      Navy lost an extremely reliable starting wide receiver in O.J. Washington, who combined solid pass-catching ability with outstanding blocking. Washington led all Navy receivers with 12 catches for 248 yards and a touchdown in 2007.

      "As a unit, we're not where we need to be. Hopefully, guys will continue working hard and we will eliminate the missed assignments," O'Rourke said.

      This is O'Rourke's initial season with the wide receivers after previously coaching defensive backs for the Midshipmen. He was a defensive back at the University of West Georgia and coached the secondary at Valdosta State and Georgia Southern.

      "The transition hasn't been very hard at all. Having been on the other side of the ball, I can bring a different perspective," he said. "I know how the defensive backs are going to play, know what they are looking for in terms of tendencies."


      Charlie's Vacation....

      Charlie finally decides to take a vacation. He books himself on a south seas cruise and proceeds to have the time of his life - until the ship sank. He found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies...Nothing. Only bananas and coconuts.

      After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to him. In disbelief, he asks her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?" "I rowed over from the other side of the island," she says. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

      "Amazing," he says. "You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you." "Oh, this?" replies the woman. "I made the rowboat out of raw material found on the island. I whittled the oars from gum tree branches; I wove the bottom from palm branches; and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."

      "But-but, that's impossible," "You had no tools or hardware." "How did you manage?" "Oh, that was no problem," replies the woman. "On the south side of the island, there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."

      Charlie is stunned. "Let's row over to my place," she says. After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As he looks onto shore, he nearly falls out of the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, he could only stare ahead, dumb struck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down please; would you like to have a drink?"

      "No, no thank you," he says, still dazed. "Can't take any more coconut juice." "It's not coconut juice," the woman replies. "I built a still. How about a Pina Colada?" Trying to hide his continued amazement, he accepts, and they sit down on her hand-woven couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."

      No longer questioning anything, Charlie goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, is a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism.

      "WOW! This woman is amazing," he muses, "what next?" When he returns, she greets him wearing 'nothing but vines' strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.

      "Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for a really long time. I know you've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know..."

      She stares into his eyes. He can't believe what he's hearing: "You mean---," he swallows excitedly, "We can watch NAVY football from here?"

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