NAVY

 

QUARTERBACK - Brian Hampton. 2005 stats: 6-19, 99 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs. New starter.

It seems lately that Coach Paul Johnson can just plug any quarterback into his option-attack offense and watch him have a productive year. This year the honor falls to senior Brian Hampton, who served as backup to Lamar Owens last year. Hampton played in all 12 games so he won't be completely inexperienced when he steps under center. Navy quarterbacks are rarely called upon to throw the ball so it's hard to tell just how Hampton will do in that department, but his arm is supposedly pretty good for a running QB; his lone touchdown pass last year did come against Notre Dame. As long as Hampton holds on to the ball while running the option and makes smart decisions with his handoffs, he should be fine. Depth: Freshman Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada is an extremely fast freshman who offers a better running threat than Hampton, but is pretty raw when it comes to throwing the ball. He is an exciting prospect and if he can avoid fumbling the ball, he might beat out junior Troy Gloss for the backup spot behind Hampton.

 

RUNNING BACK - Adam Ballard. 2005 stats: 109 attempts, 668 yards, 6 TDs. Returning starter.

Navy doesn't really have a feature back, as they had 6 running backs with 40 or more carries in Paul Johnson's spread option attack, but Adam Ballard is the big name player in the Midshipmen backfield. The fullback bulldozed his way for 6.0 yards per carry once he got the opportunity late in the season, and he put up 488 yards in his three starts. Depth: Joining Ballard are two fast returning slotbacks. Reggie Campbell averaged 9.0 yards per carry over the season and scored 5 rushing touchdowns in Navy's bowl win over Colorado State. At only 5'6", he isn't big enough to fight off tackles, but he is hard to catch. Trey Hines is the team's fastest player, but injuries have kept him from running the ball too much. Speedy Karlos Whittaker was dismissed from team, so Shun White and Georgia Tech transfer Zerb Singlton will be the backup slotbacks. Last but not least, Matt Hall was actually starting at fullback over Ballard before tearing his ACL against Notre Dame. If healthy, he'll add more depth to a stable full of talented backs.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Jason Tomlinson.
25 receptions, 445 yards, 1 TD. Returning starter.
Tyree Barnes. 6 receptions, 154 yards, 2 TDs. New starter.

I say that these previews are all about production, experience, and potential, but it is hardest to ignore coaching when looking at the Navy receivers. It's difficult to tell just how good they really are, since they're targeted so infrequently. Jason Tomlinson (left) is a veteran with plenty of speed and is a great blocker. He also has best hands on the team according to Coach Johnson. Tyree Barnes appears to be a leading candidate for co-starter alongside Tomlinson. Blocking skills tend to get receivers on the field early for Navy and has the size at 6-2 175 to be a competent one. Depth: O.J. Washington doesn't have the size of Tomlinson or Barnes, but is a speedster who could get behind the defense if the forget to worry about him. Kyle Kimbro is another big receiver who's best contributions so far have been his blocking skills.

 

TIGHT END

 not applicable


Navy doesn't use a tight end in their option offense. Instead, they use an additional slot back, as covered in the running backs preview.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LT - Matthew Pritchett.
Returning starter.
LG - Zach Gallion. Returning starter.
C - James Rossi. Returning starter.
RG - Antron Harper. Returning starter.
RT - Joe Person. New starter.

Navy still doesn't have a big offensive line by college football standards, but this year's version is plenty experienced and quick enough to handle the complicated option offense. In a time where 6-5, 300 pounds seems to be the norm, it's odd to see a starting offensive guard like Antron Harper who checks in at 5-11, 249 pounds, but Harper was part of the same line last year that led to 5.7 yards per carry for the Navy runners. The team isn't all undersized heart and grit though as Navy does have a 300-pounder in the form of Zach Gallion at the other guard spot. James Rossi (right) is a smart player and a leader from the center spot. Joe Person is the only new starter although he isn't totally inexperienced as he did start two games last year. Still, he had surgery in the spring that forced him to miss vital spring practice time. Depth: Andrew McGlinn filled in for Person in the spring and will continue to fight him for that right tackle spot in the fall.

 

DEFENSIVE LINE

Tye Adams.
13 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FR. New starter.
David Wright. 2 tackles. New starter.
John Chan. 53 tackles, 6 sacks, 4.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 FR. Returning starter.

Navy is another team that runs a 3-4 defense, which lets them replace another undersized defensive lineman with one of their veteran linebackers. Manning the middle of this line is senior David Wright. At 275 pounds he'll have a hard time, but he'll also be able to use his quickness to try and slide by opposing offensive lines and get into the backfield. On the ends, the starters get even smaller. John Chan (right) is only 249 pounds, but he's a veteran player as well and has proven to be productive in the past. He's not a consistent pass rusher, but he's a solid tackler and effective against the run. The other end, Tye Adams, is perhaps the smallest defensive lineman in the country at 6-3, 225 pounds. Obviously speed is the key to his game as he would be hard pressed to bullrush any 300 pounds offensive lineman. Believe it or not, Adams also plays some at the nose tackle position, mainly on passing downs. Depth: Navy does have a decent D-line rotation with the experiened Larry Cylc, who started 9 games last year and is the biggest Navy lineman at 290 pounds. At end, Andrew Tattersall will rotate in with Adams as Tattersall brings a bit more bulk for when the team is trying to establish the run. Heralded recruits, Nate Frazier and Andy Lark, provide depth at the nose tackle position as well, although Lark is currently out with an injury.

 

LINEBACKERS

OLB - David Mahoney.
76 tackles, 8 sacks, 16 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FR. Returning starter.
ILB - Rob Caldwell. (#41 - OLB) 140 tackles, 2 sacks, 7.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 3 FF. Returning starter.
ILB - Clint Stovie. 6 tackles, 1 FF. New starter.
OLB - Tyler Tidwell. 67 tackles, 10 sacks, 19 TFL, 2 PBU, 3 FF. Returning starter.

Perhaps the most productive linebacking corp in the schedule, Navy has a very good unit in their 3-4 scheme featuring one of the best tacklers in NCAA football. No linebacker on the schedule had more tackles than Rob Caldwell (right), who finished the year with an outstanding 140 tackles. Caldwell isn't all that big, but is the type of player who is always found near or in the pile after a play is over. Joining him in the middle is Clint Stovie, who at 196 pounds is probably the smallest inside linebacker playing D-1 football. On the outside, Navy returns two talented linebackers in David Mahoney and Tyler Tidwell. Tidwell in particular is a very good pass rusher while Mahoney is no slouch either in that department. Depth: Joe Cylc is a bigger option in the middle at 230 pounds if Stovie isn't able to stop the run while Irv Spencer is an even bigger backup option at 240 pounds. Matt Wimsett offers another option at the outside.

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS

CB - Jeremy McGown. 63 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
CB - Keenan Little. 73 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 INT, 8 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
FS - DuJuan Price. 62 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU. Returning starter.
ROVER - Ketric Buffin. 19 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT. New starter.

Navy returns a veteran line but the loss of Greg Thrasher, who left the team to concentrate on academics, means that Jeremy McGown will shift over to corner from his usual safety spot where he has started 21 games. One of the best athletes on the team, McGown should be able to make the transition without too much of a problem. At the other corner spot, Keenan Little (right) returns to the same position at which he started all 12 games last year. Last year he was 4th on the team in tackles, which again isn't always a great sign for a cornerback. Free safety DuJuan Price started every game last year at free safety for Navy and returns as yet another veteran member of this experienced secondary. The only new starter, roverback Ketric Buffin, will find it easier with all of the experience around him, but at 5-7, 165 pounds, he might have trouble with some of the bigger running backs and tight ends that he will face. Depth: If Navy needs more height at the cornerback spot, 6-2 Greg Sudderth will be available to help out. Last year Sudderth actually tied for the team lead in interceptions with two. If Navy wants more size at the rover position, Dell Robinson has that at 5-11, 205 pounds. However, he is inexperienced as injuries kept him on the bench for most of last season.