• Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
    Get the Blackhawks Championship Package
  • Give the Gift of SI
    Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Wednesday August 25, 2010 11:14AM ; Updated: Wednesday August 25, 2010 11:14AM

Team Previews

AthlonSports.com
Navy Midshipmen

Athlon Team Previews: Navy Midshipmen

2009 Record: 10-4
Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo
Ricky Dobbs :: Mark Goldman/Icon SMI
2010 Schedule
Sept. 6Maryland (Baltimore, MD)
Sept. 11Georgia Southern
Sept. 18at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 2at Air Force
Oct. 9at Wake Forest
Oct. 16SMU
Oct. 23Notre Dame (East Rutherford, NJ)
Oct. 30Duke
Nov. 6at East Carolina
Nov. 13Central Michigan
Nov. 20Arkansas State
Dec. 11Army (Philadelphia, PA)
2009 Results
Sept. 5at Ohio StateL27-31
Sept. 12Louisiana TechW32-14
Sept. 19at PittsburghL14-27
Sept. 26Western KentuckyW38-22
Oct. 3Air ForceW16-13
Oct. 10at RiceW63-14
Oct. 17at SMUW38-35
Oct. 24Wake ForestW13-10
Oct. 31TempleL24-27
Nov. 7at Notre DameW23-21
Nov. 14DelawareW35-18
Nov. 28at HawaiiL17-24
Dec. 12vs. Army (Philadelphia)W17- 3
Dec. 31Missouri (Texas Bowl)W35-13
2009 Rankings
OFFENSEPER GAMENAT'L
Scoring28.0 ppg57
Rushing280.5 ypg4
Passing75.6 ypg119
Total356.1 ypg77
DEFENSEPER GAMENAT'L
Scoring19.4 ppg18
Rushing122.2 ypg31
Passing213.1 ypg50
Total335.2 ypg34
TO MARGINPER GAMENAT'L
+9+0.6415
2010 Projected Rosters
OFFENSE
WRGreg Jones (Sr.)Brandon Turner (So.)
WRMike Schupp (Sr.)Doug Furman (Jr.)
LTJeff Battipaglia (Sr.)John Dowd (Jr.)
LGBrady DeMell (Jr.)Fran Archibald (Sr.)
CEric Douglass (Jr.)Matt Couch (So.)
RGDavid Hong (Jr.)Josh Cabral (So.)
RTMatt Molloy (Sr.)Warren Fischer (Jr.)
QBRicky Dobbs (Sr.)Kriss Proctor (Jr.)
FBVince Murray (Sr.)Alexander Teich (Jr.)
SBMarcus Curry (Jr.)Mike Stukel (Jr.)
SBGee Gee Greene (So.)Aaron Santiago (Jr.)
DEFENSE
LEJabaree Tuani (Jr.)Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick (So.)
NGChase Burge (Sr.)Shane Bothel (Sr.)
REBilly Yarbrough (Sr.)Josh Jones (So.)
LBAaron McCauley (Jr.)Andrew Sharp (Jr.)
LBTyler Simmons (Sr.)Max Blue (Jr.)
LBJerry Hauburger (Sr.)Collin Sturdivant (So.)
LBCaleb King (Jr.)Jake Juriga (So.)
CBKwesi Mitchell (Jr.)Corey James (Jr.)
CBKevin Edwards (Sr.)David Wright (Jr.)
SSWyatt Middleton (Sr.)Tra'ves Bush (So.)
FSEmmett Merchant (Sr.)Brian Blick (Jr.)
SPECIAL TEAMS
1Joe Buckley (Sr.)KRBo Snelson (So.)
1Kyle Delahooke (Sr.)PRMario Washington (Sr.)
RETURNING LEADERS
Passing: Ricky Dobbs (1,031 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs)
Rushing: Ricky Dobbs (315 car, 1,203 yds, 27 TDs)
Receiving: Marcus Curry (10 rec, 287 yds, 3 TDs)
Tackles: Tyler Simmons (68, 29 solo)
Sacks: Jabaree Tuani (3.5)
Interceptions: Wyatt Middleton (4 for 69 yds)
MORE FROM ATHLON
More from AthlonFor full coverage of College Football before, during and after the season, visit AthlonSports.com/si.
PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ricky Dobbs, QB: His 27 rushing touchdowns last season ranked second in the country and first among quarterbacks.

Vince Murray, FB: He hit his stride in the middle of last season with a four-game stretch of rushing for 115+ yards.

Wyatt Middleton, S: The four-year starter will be Navy's leader on defense.

IMPORTANT LOSSES

Ross Pospisil, LB: He totaled 213 tackles over the last two seasons in the leading the Mids' defense.

Ram Vela, LB: His tenacity and leadership will be missed in a depleted linebacking unit.

Curtis Bass, OL: One of Navy's strongest players was a two-year starter at guard.

NUMBERS GAME

8: Navy is seeking its eighth straight winning season, its eighth straight bowl berth and its eighth straight Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

OFFENSE

Navy returns seven starters on offense, including its top three playmakers, from a unit that averaged 28 points and 356 yards per game in 2009. Opponents have always struggled to stop the Mids' triple-option offense, and that task will get even harder now that coach Ken Niumatalolo has decided to implement a no-huddle scheme.

Niumatalolo and offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper came up with the idea after watching quarterback Ricky Dobbs struggle to make checks at the line of scrimmage all season. Going no-huddle puts that responsibility on Jasper, who surveys the defense from the press box, then relays the checks to the sideline.

Dobbs enjoyed a tremendous junior campaign, rushing for 1,203 yards and passing for another 1,031 yards. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder is an extremely powerful runner, evidenced by the fact that he set an NCAA single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 27. Most observers believe Dobbs is poised for a monstrous senior season and is a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

Navy also returns fullback Vince Murray and slotback Marcus Curry, top performers at the other skill positions in the triple-option. Murray rushed for 971 yards and six touchdowns despite not starting until the sixth game of the season. Curry accounted for 872 yards from scrimmage (585 rushing, 287 receiving) and eight touchdowns.

Jeff Battipaglia and Matt Molloy, third-year starters whom Niumatalolo has called the best tackle tandem of the triple-option era, will anchor a line that should be solid.

DEFENSE

Navy graduated six starters from a defense that statistically rated as its best in more than a decade. The Midshipmen ranked 18th nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 19.4 points per game.

Linebacker is the greatest area of concern for the Midshipmen, whose 3-4 alignment requires those players to make plenty of tackles. All four starters and a key backup have graduated, including 2008 and 2009 leading tackler Ross Pospisil. Tyler Simmons served as backup at both inside linebacker spots last season and was the team's third-leading tackler (68). Simmons, the biggest backer in recent program history, combines superb speed and agility with great toughness and a nasty streak.

Navy returns two other big-time performers on defense -- left end Jabaree Tuani and safety Wyatt Middleton. Tuani is a force up front, using his combination of speed and power to record 14.5 tackles for loss the past two seasons. Middleton is all over the field and has accumulated 236 career tackles.

SPECIALISTS

This is an area of strength for Navy. Placekicker Joe Buckley went 44-of-44 on extra points and 10-of-13 on field goals in 2009, while punter Kyle Delahooke boasts a career average of 42.4 yards, good for second in program history.

FINAL ANALYSIS

Athletic director Chet Gladchuk has already signed a contract for Navy to appear in the Poinsettia Bowl this year, and all the pieces are in place to ensure a late December trip to San Diego. Only four of 12 opponents on the schedule posted winning records in 2009, and the presence of the multi-talented Dobbs almost guarantees that the triple option will roll up yardage and points.

A key game comes in early October in Colorado Springs against service academy rival Air Force, which will be seeking to snap a seven-game losing streak to Navy and reclaim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: Sammy Watkins NFL Draft Rick Adelman NFL Questions Aaron Hernandez Donald Trump
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint