2012 Navy Preview – Offense
Navy OG Josh Cabral
CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Navy Midshipmen Offense
Preview 2012 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: The Navy offense will do what the Navy offense does. It’ll run for over 300 yards per game, and it’ll hit on the occasional big pass play, but will it be more dominant and can it control games again? The line has to make some key changes, but it’s big and should be a strength as the season goes on. The receiving corps might be underutilized in the passing game, but Brandon Turner and Matt Aiken are good veterans who could be in for a strong season if they can get the ball their way a bit more. Trey Miller is the next star quarterback, and he has a veteran group of slotbacks to work with. However, there’s a question mark at fullback without Alexander Teich to rely on.
Star of the offense: Junior QB Trey Miller
Passing: Trey Miller
12-29, 205 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Gee Gee Greene
64 carries, 507 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Brandon Turner
14 catches, 300 yds, 3 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore FB Noah Copeland
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Bradyn Heap
Best pro prospect: Senior RB Gee Gee Greene
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Miller, 2) Greene, 3) OG Josh Cabral
Strength of the offense: Running, Veteran Slotbacks
Weakness of the offense: Passing, Veteran Fullback
Junior Trey Miller should be ready for the job. Kriss Proctor led the team in rushing, and had a decent year throwing the ball, but the offense wasn’t exactly crisp. The 6-0, 199-pound Miller should be a stronger runner with excellent quickness and the power to hit a few defenders from time to time. The former star high school point guard - leading his team to the Georgia state title – can cut on a dime and has the toughness to take the punishment needed for the position. He’s not going to be a deep passer, but he’ll be good on short-to-midrange throws and should be a threat to hit the 1,000-yard mark.
6-1, 198-pound sophomore John Hendrick brings even more size and has the requisite speed and quickness, but he doesn’t have any experience and he’s going to need more seasoning. He’s not a threat for the starting job at the moment, while 6-2, 208-pound sophomore Cody West has the best size of the group and might be the best all-around athlete. The two will battle for the backup job.
Watch Out For … Miller to be terrific throwing the ball. The Navy quarterbacks always put up big rushing numbers, and Miller should be great over the next few years. However, he has also shown just enough to be used as a passer connecting on 15-of-18 passes during a spring scrimmage and showed nice touch.
Strength: Speed and quickness. It’s part of the deal for all Navy quarterbacks. The starting quarterback will run for double-digit scores no matter who’s under center. Miller should be a statistical superstar.
Weakness: Backup experience. Miller wasn’t starting from scratch last year, but he was a bit green and got a little time in the system. If he goes down there will be big problems early on. Hendrick and West have upside, but they need time.
Outlook: Miller’s table is ready. Ricky Dobbs and Kriss Proctor were excellent, and now Miller should be able to crank out the same kinds of numbers and big plays for the attack. He won’t come up with deep passes, but he won’t be a liability for the passing game. With backup Jarvis Cummings moving to linebacker, Hendrick and West have to show they can play when they get their chance.
Unit Rating: 6.5
The running game will be fine as long as the fullback situation is settled. Alexander Teich – and not quarterback Kriss Proctor – was the rock the ground game worked around, and now it’ll be up to sophomore Noah Copeland to show he can handle the work. He’s not a big bruiser at just 5-10 and 205 pounds, but he’s quick through the hole and tough between the tackles. He’ll be backed up by senior Prentice Christian, who didn’t get any carries last season but is a bigger 5-11, 214-pound option.
Speedster Gee Gee Greene is back after finishing third on the team in rushing with 501 yards and three scores, averaging 7.8 yards per pop. At only 5-8 and 185 pounds he’s not all that big, but he’s a phenomenal all-around athlete with tremendous wheels, but he’s not a workhorse in any way. He has yet to get ten carries in a game over his three year career and didn’t run more than eight times in a game last season. Also a great receiver, he led the team with four touchdowns on 11 catches for 165 yards.
Senior John Howell went from being a backup to a starter running for 340 yards and five scores. However, 113 of his yards and two of his touchdowns came in the second game of the season against Western Kentucky. At 5-8 and 188 pounds he’s a small speedster who can also be used as a receiver making four catches for 96 yards with a 40-yard play against Rutgers and a 42-yarder against Troy.
5-7, 180-pound senior Bo Snelson is a quick return man who got a few carries running 17 times for 91 yards. He’s the first man off the bench in the slotback job, while 5-6, 196-pound junior Darius Staten came up with 74 yards on eight carries. He might be short, but he’s strong and gets great leverage as a blocker.
Watch Out For … Copeland. He might not be as big as Teich and he might not be a blaster of a runner, but if he gets a hole between the tackles he’ll fly through it and should come up with big plays. He’ll be the second-leading rusher behind QB Trey Miller.
Strength: Quick backs … as always. Navy has its backfield full of speedy runners like it always does, and it has a nice group of slotbacks to get fired up about with Greene, Howell, and Snelson all knowing what to do. They’ll ease the transition for Miller.
Weakness: Backup experience. The running game relied on the quarterback and fullback most of the time, with Proctor and Teich combining for 397 of the team’s 694 carries. No one else got more than 64 carries. The slotbacks have their roles, but they don’t carry the running game. Considering slotback is where the experience is, the group will have to get used to doing more.
Outlook: Another year, another great season running the ball. The Midshipemen have a star in Greene, but he’ll only crank out big runs a few times a game. The fullback situation has to be a strength from the start, and more options need to emerge at all three spots, but no matter who is running the ball, the Midshipmen will get their usual production. The rating is based on expected production more than talent.
Unit Rating: 8
The Midshipmen are never going to bomb away, but senior Brandon Turner is a big, proven option who led the team with 14 catches for 300 yards and three scores, averaging 21.4 yards per catch. He came up with four grabs for 47 yards against San Jose State, but he had eight games with one catch or fewer. At 6-4 and 225 pounds he has terrific size, good blocking skills, and can hit the home run – he’s what a Navy No. 1 receiver has to be.
6-0, 195-pound junior Matt Aiken is physical enough for the coaching staff to think about moving him to safety early in his career, but he’s the team’s second-leading receiver catching 13 passes for 201 yards and two scores. He had a run of two catches in three straight games, but he only made one grab in each of the first five games and two over the last four. He might not be the big play target that Turner is, but he’s reliable.
Senior John O’Boyle only made one catch for two yards, but he’s a blocker working behind Turner. At 6-0 and 196 pounds he’s not all that big, but he’s tough. 6-2, 200-pound junior Casey Bolena has excellent speed, and he showed it off a bit catching four passes for 53 yards, with two of his grabs coming against Air Force and with a 20-yard play against San Jose State.
Watch Out For … Turner to do even more. He’s not exactly going to be a 100-catch target, but he should come up with more than 20 grabs and he should be a weapon. QB Trey Miller can throw a bit, and Turner will be more of a big-time playmaker.
Strength: The big play. The Navy passing game isn’t exactly Georgia Tech when it comes to coming up with the big home to change games on a regular basis, but when the team does throw the big plays are on the way averaging 15.8 yards per completion. However, there isn’t much of a …
Weakness: Workload. The Midshipmen only threw the ball 135 times last year and there won’t ever be much more work coming. The passing game will be effective at times, and occasionally efficient, but Navy receivers have to be happy getting the ball just twice a game on a good day.
Outlook: For what it’s worth for the workload the receiving corps will get, this should be one of the better groups the team has had over the last few years. Turner is a big, tight end-like deep threat, while Aiken is a reliable target once in a while. Now they need to get the ball. For what they do, the receivers are solid.
Unit Rating: 4
There’s a ton of work needing to be done to replace three key starters. However, the line gets back a rock in left guard Josh Cabral, a 6-3, 297-pound senior who beefed up over 30 pounds and started every game. Physical and smart, he’ll be the one the ground game works behind early on, while 6-0, 318-pound sophomore Jake Zuzek is a bowling ball ready to take over at right guard in place of 12-game starter John Dowd. Zuzek didn’t see any time last year, but he should be a mainstay for the next three seasons.
6-1, 280-pound junior Graham Vickers took over the left tackle job late last year, and now he has the spot all to himself. While he’s not built to be a tackle, and he started out his career at guard, he’s great on the move and he handles pass rushers well. While he’s squatty and doesn’t have the right frame, he’s the man for the next two seasons. 6-2, 265-pound sophomore Nathaniel Otto is the main backup and could see time if Vickers has to move inside.
6-4, 275-pound senior Andrew Barker took over the starting left tackle job last year when starter David Sumrall got hurt, but he was moved out of the gig by Vickers late in the season. With one of the best tackle frames on the team, he has the ability to grow into more of a pass blocker on either side, but he should be set on the right side. Junior Collin Watkins was supposed to be a key part of the puzzle but only ended up playing in two games. At 6-3 and 264 pounds he has decent size and can play at either tackle spot.
Taking over for Brady DeMell in the middle is sophomore Bradyn Heap, an excellent-sized 6-3, 280-pound ttackle prospect with the size to play anywhere on the line and the leadership ability and the smarts to be the quarterback up front for the next three seasons.
Watch Out For … Heap. The line is built around quickness and athleticism, but it could use as much bulk as possible. Heap looks the part for the middle, and he’ll get time to grow into the job.
Strength: Size. Obviously the Midshipmen are great at paving the way for the running game, and this year that’ll come from the overall size along with the athleticism. The line might not look the part at all five spots, but it’s big enough to come up with a big year.
Weakness: Developed depth. This is always an issue for the Midshipmen, and it only matters if there’s shuffling going on late in the summer. Put down the depth chart in pencil – there are always major shifts up front – but there aren’t many sure-things behind the projected starting five.
Outlook: Watch out for the Midshipmen to be far more physical. The line was more than fine last year for the ground game, but it didn’t blast away enough. Keeping with the team’s theme going into the year, being tougher is a must, and with the size up front to start the season, that shouldn’t be a problem. There might be some shifting around and the loss of three starters is a problem, but the production will come. When all is said and done, whatever the configuration, the line will again blast away for over 300 rushing yards per game.
Unit Rating: 6
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