Navy at WKU: Three Things I’ll be Watching

Because we can’t all break down game film like Mike, here are some general storylines I’ll be on the lookout for when Navy plays Western Kentucky on Saturday night.

Jared Marks: At 6-foot-5 and coming in a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich shy of 300 pounds, Marks might be the most physically imposing Navy nose guard since Nate Frazier. I was all set to see what he could do in attempting to clog two gaps against the Blue Hens, but a last-minute suspension forced sophomore Alex Doolittle into Marks’ spot. While Doolittle “did some good things” – coach Green speak for not screwing up too badly – he didn’t exactly help Navy stonewall Andrew Pierce and the Blue Hen running game, which attacked Navy right up the middle. I anticipate Western Kentucky to try to do something similar with stud running back Bobby Rainey, whose 5-foot-8 size makes him the ideal player to exploit misdirection back into the middle of the defense. Navy linebackers Matt Warrick and Matt Brewer are excellent in space, but both showed some vulnerability last week with over-aggresivness against the inside handoff and delay. They’ll get a feel for snuffing plays out with experience, but would really benefit from having Marks step up in his first start of the year.

Andrew Jackson: The Western Kentucky linebacker went on record this week of saying it was “his job” to “take out the quarterback.” Kriss Proctor, your thoughts? Call me old fashioned, but I’m always intrigued at watching players try to live up to their pregame talk, especially when it comes to defending Navy’s offense. Maybe it comes from watching all those Notre Dame promises against the option fall flat the last few years, but I’m not going to lie and tell you I don’t savor watching the sometimes frustrating realization that  shutting down the option is easier said than done. Still, every once in a while a Scott McKillop will come around a and completely change a game to the point where the offense is stonewalled. Not saying Jackson is anywhere near that kind of player, but I’ll be watching just the same.

The Coin Toss: I actually predicted that coach Niumat would take the ball first against Delaware (but Mike, being a bum, didn’t publish my ‘Three Things’ post) in order to establish some early season offensive momentum, and I have a hunch he may buck tradition and do it again this week if he wins the toss. Western Kentucky, after all, has lost 15 consecutive games at home. No one is more aware of that than the WKU players, who after years of losing are trying to escape the proverbial loser’s mentality. Easier said than done (eh, just ask my Aggies) so an early Navy score could go a long way to deflating any pregame momentum the Hilltoppers build up.

11 thoughts on “Navy at WKU: Three Things I’ll be Watching

  1. tphuey

    I am also curious about how Jackson will perform. He is a fast, hard-nosed player, but I think Navy can exploit his over-aggressiveness. It will be fun to watch.

  2. newt91

    First, i’m getting drunk on all the column inches. love all the contributors. PLEASE keep it up.

    Second, great point on Jared up the middle vs Rainey in their backfield. He’s a pretty good runner from what i’ve read.

  3. To clarify, WKU was winless in 2009, and the game was a lot more than close after the first quarter in Annapolis. Navy wins blowouts on occasion, but they still can’t afford to take anyone lightly. Fans would be well-served to take the same approach.

  4. Anonymous

    Mike – well noted. Navy is a clearly good team, well coached with talented players but also little margin to compete and win. The coaching and the skilled, disciplined play provides the margin. Geo79’s comment is really testament to just how good we the fans of Navy football have had it during this run. My issue is that the comment’s perspective fails to give credit to just how hard the team, coaches and players, work to prepare, compete, and win at this level.

  5. Geo79

    Spare me. You sound like Delaware’s Coach (see last week’s pre-UD banter about no big thing if you don’t win) . . . WKU is a cupcake. The fnial score will show that. You all will be popping out your chests saying how great coach is and the QB is, yada, yada, yada. Navy will crush WKU and your haikus will again extol their virtues.

    But, sorry, to answer your question, no, I don’t watch Navy except when available on ESPN3 or a primo channel. But I think the question was more rhetorical than otherwise, n’est-ce pas?

  6. gonavy921

    agree w/Mike 79, the last time we played them Jakes only issues were TO’s and costly penalties. This could be closer than most think….

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