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Navy Preview 2006 - Offense
Navy Midshipmen
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 7, 2006


Navy Midshipmen Preview 2006 - Navy Offense

What you need to know ... The nation's number one rushing attack last year averaged 319 yards per game, and it should be even better this season with four starting offensive linemen returning to pave the way for a tremendous backfield led by late-year sensation Adam Ballard at fullback and Poinsettia Bowl hero Reggie Campbell at slot back. Receiver Jason Tomlinson leads an experienced receiving corps that's good at doing what it's supposed to for the running game. The only question is at quarterback where Brian Hampton has prove he can throw with some consistency and make the decisions in the running game like former starter Lamar Owens did.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Brian Hampton
6-19, 99 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Adam Ballard
109 carries, 668 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Jason Tomlinson
25 catches, 445 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Junior FB Adam Ballard
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior QB Brian Hampton
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Tyree Barnes
Best pro prospect: Ballard
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ballard, 2) OG Antron Harper, 3) OG Zach Gallion
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, experience
Weakness of the offense:
Passing, quarterback experience

Quarterbacks
Navy has become a factory when it comes to grooming option quarterbacks, and Brian Hampton should be more than fine replacing Lamar Owens, who led the team in rushing last year. Hampton is a good-sized runner, but he has to prove he can be an effective passer when the pressure is on. Big Troy Goss and former receiver Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada provide some other options.
The key to the unit: Brian Hampton's ability to throw well enough to make defenses worry about the deep ball.
Quarterback Rating: 5.5

Projected Starter
- Brian Hampton, Sr. - 6-19, 31.6%, 99 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 40 carries, 160 yds, 4.0 ypc, 2 TD
Yet another tough, quick, Navy quarterback, the 5-11, 203-pound Hampton provides a bit more size than past Midshipmen signal callers. He saw time in every game last year and ran relatively well. He doesn't have the quickness of former starter Lamar Owens, but he'll break more tackles and has good speed when he gets into the open. Can he throw the ball? He has to be around 50% to be effective and has to take advantage of every open receiver.

Top Backups
- Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, Soph.
A receiver last year, the Hawaii native will move to quarterback to get a little bit of practice experience to be a factor in the race for the starting job next year. He'll be used a little bit on special teams to take advantage of his blazing speed.

- Troy Goss, Jr. - 2 carries, 8 yds
At 6-2 and 214 pounds, Goss is a different type of Navy quarterback who should play a bigger role after being hurt most of last year. He's more of a passer than a runner, but his size provides a few options for the running game.

Running Backs
The backfield is loaded with speed and experience, but the real excitement is over fullback Adam Ballard, who turned into a dangerous, explosive runner down the stretch. Trey Hines is fully healthy and should finally live up to his promise as one of the fastest backs in Navy history. Poinsettia Bowl star Reggie Campbell returns, as does fullback Matt Hall from a knee injury. Also look for this group to be great at catching the ball.
The key to the unit: Getting the ball to Trey Hines and Reggie Campbell in space a little more to utilize their blazing speed. Backup slot backs need to be developed.
Running Back Rating: 9

Projected Starters
- Trey Hines, Sr. - 27 carries, 104 yds, 3.9 ypc, 1 TD, 3 catches, 23 yds, 7.7 ypc
Hines has been the player everyone has been waiting to explode, but hasn't. He's the team's fastest player and is a top sprinter on the track team, but he hasn't been nearly as explosive as he should be after averaging 8.6 yards per run in his freshman season. To be fair, he was never quite right last year after suffering a leg injury running track. Now he'll focus solely on football.

- Reggie Campbell, Jr. - 57 carries, 514 yds, 9.0 ypc, 7 TD, 12 catches, 314 yds, 26.2 ypc, 2 TD
Campbell had a nice season as a part-time slot back with track star speed and quickness to add a burst for around three carries a game, and then he exploded in the Poinsettia Bowl scoring five touchdowns against Colorado State while gaining 290 total yards. He's only 5-6 and 164 pounds, but he's freakishly strong and a good blocker for his size.

- Fullback Adam Ballard, Sr. - 190 carries, 668 yds, 6.1 ypc, 6 TD, 5 catches, 78 yds, 15.6 ypc
The 240-pound Ballard was an afterthought in the offense with Matt Hall getting all the work, and then Hall went down with a knee injury and Ballard exploded rushing for 167 yards against Temple, 192 against Army, and 129 against Colorado State finishing second on the team in rushing despite getting most of his work in the final three-and-a-half games. . He's a battering ram of a blocker and a tough runner with the speed to break off the big play once he busts through the line.

Top Backups
- Fullback Matt Hall, Sr. - 99 carries, 493 yds, 5 ypc, 6 TD
Hall was having a decent season before getting knocked out for the year after suffering a knee injury against Notre Dame. He's not as big as Adam Ballard and isn't as good a runner, but he's experienced enough, and effective enough, to battle for the starting job.
- Karlos Whittaker, Soph. - 37 carries, 290 yds, 7.8 ypc, 6 TDs, 3 catches, 64 yards
An explosive runner who demands to get the ball in his hands as both a runner, kick returner and a receiver, he needs to get over a knee injury to get back in the mix this fall. He's not as good a blocker as the other slot backs, but his speed and skills more than make up for it.
- Byron McCoy, Sr. - 3 carries, 5 yards
The 192-pound senior is a bigger option at one of the slot back positions, but he'll mostly be used as a special teamer.
- Zerbin Singleton, Jr. - 1 carry, 3 yards
Exclusively a special teamer so far, the 165-pound Georgia Tech transfer can flat out fly and might be used more on offense to get him on the outside.

Receivers
It's hard to get too much recognition or credit when you play receiver in the Navy offense, but Jason Tomlinson leads a strong group that will do exactly what it's supposed to: block, surprise with the big play, run precise routes, and block some more. Tomlinson will handle most of the pass catching duties, but Tyree Barnes, O.J. Washington and T.J. Thiel have enough speed to be effective if the offense has to go in comeback mode.
The key to the unit: Get in the end zone a bit more. That's not the job of the Navy receiving corps, but receivers only caught three scoring passes last year.
Receiver Rating: 5

Projected Starters
- Jason Tomlinson, Sr. - 25 catches, 445 yds, 17.8 ypc, 1 TD
The lightning fast senior has been the team's best receiver for the last few seasons and a big play threat with a career average of 17.3 yards per catch. He's not a touchdown scorer with one in each of his three seasons, but he has to be accounted for by defenses lulled to sleep by the running game. He's a great blocker and a solid punt returner averaging 7.8 yards per return over the last three years.

- O.J. Washington, Jr. - 1 catch, 8 yards
Washington has too much speed not to be used more. He was a Washington state high school champion sprinter and will get the first look on the other side of Jason Tomlinson.

Top Backups

- Tyree Barnes. Soph. - 6 catches, 154 yards, 25.7 ypc, 2 TD
Barnes didn't see too many passes come his way as a freshman, but he made the most of his opportunities averaging 25.2 yards per catch. At 6-2 and 175 pounds, he has good size compared the rest of the Midshipmen receivers and is a great blocker.
- Kyle Kimbro, Jr.
The 6-2, 193-pound junior is a fierce blocker, but he won't catch too many passes. He'll be back this fall after suffering a knee injury last year.
- T.J. Thiel, Soph.
The rail thin 6-0, 164-pound sophomore will have a hard time seeing playing time behind Jason Tomlinson, but he has the speed and quickness to get his feet wet to be ready to roll next year.

Offensive Linemen
No, this isn't a great line compared to the top units at the big-time programs, but it's as good as it gets for what Navy does. Four starters return and the fifth, tackle Joe Person, has starting experience. Each returning starter can make the claim to being the team's best lineman. There's more size than you might think, especially at guard, but it's not a big line. It's an athletic, fierce group that should dominate all year long if everyone stays healthy. Once again, the line is ranked on how good it is for Navy's offense.

The key to the unit: This should be the best line in the Paul Johnson era, but there's no experienced depth to rely on. Players have to be developed for next year.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- OT Matt Pritchett, Sr.
The 267-pound Pritchett grew into the starter's role last year growing into a technician on the left side. What he lacks in size he makes up for in tenacity and smarts. He rarely misses a block and is terrific on the move.
- OG Zach Gallion, Sr.
The team's most important lineman because of his size, the 300-pound senior is the biggest blocker by far. He's a killer in the running game and doesn't get knocked out of position. He can play either guard spot and will start on the left side.
- C James Rossi, Sr.
One of the strongest players on the line, the 268-pound Rossi grew into a phenomenal blocker by the end of last year and should be one of the team's most consistent players, He has 18 straight games of starting experience and should be the leader up front.
- OG Antron Harper, Jr.
Even though he's tiny at 5-11 and 249 pounds, he's an incredible blocker who plays far, far bigger than his size. He plays with an attitude you might expect from a small lineman always finishing his blocks extremely well.
- OT Joe Person, Sr.
The line will benefit in a big way from the return of the 6-4, 260-pound Person after suffering a shoulder injury. He's a good athlete with starting experience, and now he should take a step up and be one of the team's most reliable blockers.

Top Backups
- OT Andrew McGinn, Soph.
The 247-pound sophomore will combine with Joe Person at right tackle. He's great on the move and was one of the better performers this spring.
- OT Josh Meek, Jr.
If Joe Person isn't ready, the 256-pound Meek could be the only new starter on the line benefiting from all the experience around him. He's one of the biggest tackles on the team and can play either tackle spot.
- OG Anthony Gaskins, Soph.
He won't see a ton of time with Antron Harper firmly entrenched at right guard, but he could step in if the line wants to go bigger. Harper is 249 pounds, Gaskins is 273.

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