You know, when our offense was OMG TEH AWSUM and our defense made little children cry? Yeah, about that…
“We stink on offense right now,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. “That is two weeks in a row the defense has come out and whipped the offense’s butt. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a scrimmage here where the offense hasn’t scored at least one touchdown. I’ve been here 11 years and this is the first time that has happened. The defense played great and the offense has a long ways to go.”
So, was your first reaction the same as my first reaction?
I mean, that’s two scrimmages in a row now. Our offensive line can’t block anyone, our quarterbacks are dropping like flies, we don’t have a clear backup fullback, and we’re turning to freshmen to give us slotback depth. And this is against a defense that was atrocious last year. But haven’t we heard this all before? Hmmm…
Q. Why don’t you just kind of tell us what you thought about today?
A. I don’t think we’re very good.
Q. Why do you say that?
A. Well, did you watch the scrimmage?
A. That’s why I said it.
Q. Too many mistakes and not executing?
A. It’s pretty hard to play when the offensive line is just turning people loose. They’re not even getting in the way of the defense. I hope we’re good on defense.
That is, of course, an exchange between Bill Wagner and Paul Johnson following the second fall scrimmage… of 2004. As you’ll recall, that season Navy ended up 10-2 and ranked in the top 25 of both polls. So I haven’t gone base jumping without a parachute just yet. Things aren’t looking so good, but a wise man once said that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. This definitely does NOT mean that past performance is indicative of future performance. But it might mean that the world isn’t ending. If anything, it’s nice to see the defense getting fired up. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my concerns…
Kaipo’s injury is a bad thing. Not necessarily because we’ll suffer at quarterback, but because we’ll suffer at slotback. Jarod Bryant was turning heads with AND without the ball. With injuries to Andre Byrd and Greg Shinego, that put him on top of the depth chart opposite Shun White. But with Kaipo hurt, Jarod is playing quarterback… and all those injuries are creating a vacuum that might have to be filled by freshmen. Fast & talented freshmen, mind you– but still freshmen. Freshmen filling prominent roles is rarely a situation you want to face.
I say “rarely” instead of “never” because another freshman, Alex Teich, has risen to #2 on the fullback depth chart. If a freshman is going to play, you rather it be because he performed too well to be denied rather than filling a role by default. And the former is certainly what we see here. Both Teich and #3 fullback Wes Holland have reportedly impressed coaches with their quickness, not surprising considering they are both former slotbacks. They’re a definite change of pace from the typical bruising Navy fullback, not that there’s anything wrong with those. Coach Niumatalolo hinted on media day that Kettani might not split very much time this year, but it might be interesting to see how the fullbacks are used if he does.