2007 Navy Offense Preview |
2007 Navy Defense Preview
2007 Navy Depth
| 2006 CFN Navy Preview
Can we finally all admit that there’s a place in major college
football for a well-run option attack?
With 37 wins and four bowl games in four years under head coach Paul
Johnson, despite having a mediocre group of D-I athletes compared to
most other schools, Navy has shown in the day and age of the spread
offense, which more often than not requires an elite player or two
to run effectively, the quickest way to turn a program around is on
Head coach: Paul Johnson
6th year at Navy: 37-25
11th year overall: 99-35
Off. 15, Def. 7, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 35
Best Navy Players
1. FB Adam Ballard, Sr.
2. C Antron Harper, Sr.
3. QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, Jr.
4. RB Reggie Campbell, Sr.
5. CB Rashawn King, Jr.
6. RB Shun White, Jr.
7. NG Nate Frazier, Soph.
8. LB Clint Sovie, Jr.
9. OT Andrew McGinn, Jr.
10. LB Irv Spencer, Sr.
CFN Prediction: 8-4
at North Texas
2006 Record: 9-4
East Carolina W 28-23
Massachusetts W 21-20
at Stanford W 37-9
Tulsa L 24-23
at Connecticut W 41-17
at Air Force W 24-17
Rutgers L 34-0
Notre Dame L 38-14
at Duke W 38-13
at Eastern Mich W 49-21
Temple W 42-6
vs. Army W 26-14
Fine, so it’s not like Navy has actually beaten anyone
with much of a pulse during Johnson’s reign, with only
four wins over D-I teams that finished their seasons
with winning records, but this is still Navy. Maybe two
or three players on each side of the ball would find
playing time for roughly 80 other D-I programs. It’s the
system, but it’s also the players running it.
It takes a special type of mindset to do what Navy does,
and being a military academy certainly helps the cause
when it comes to the discipline needed to run the
attack. Johnson finds the right players, who fit exactly
what he needs to do on offense, so Navy can control the
clock and keep their undersized defense off the field.
This year’s offense might be the best yet under Johnson,
and will be a rock-solid lock to finish in the top three
in the nation in rushing, if not number one overall
again. Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada was a solid fill-in once
starting quarterback Brian Hampton was lost for the
year, and now he should be ready to blow up with all the
running backs returning. The line needs work, and Jason
Tomlinson, a decent receiving threat when he was used,
is gone, but the running game will still thrive,
cranking out well over 300 yards per game.
The defense will be a problem early, as most of the top
playmakers are gone, including the fabulous linebacking
tandem of Rob Caldwell and Tyler Tidwell. Fortunately,
the offense, which helped Navy finish 11th in
the nation in time of possession, will do its part to
hang on to the ball.
Yes, Navy will be Navy again. It’ll win seven-plus
games, go to a bowl, and run over, around, and through
everyone to do it. Maybe someday, someone else will use
the formula to try to change a downtrodden program’s
fortunes by running the ball like Navy. Hopefully for
Midshipmen fans, that change won’t include hiring
What to watch to watch for on offense: More big
plays from the running game. Is it possible for a team
that finished first in the nation in rushing to do even
more on the ground? Absolutely. Navy has speed and
explosion with Kaheaku-Enhada,
one of the faster Midshipman quarterbacks in a long
time, under center. Tailbacks Reggie Campbell and Shun
White can flat-out fly. While ball control is
always a must for the offense, there will be more home
runs now that Kaheaku-Enhada
knows what he’s doing.
What to watch to watch for on defense: A lot of
bending, with the hope to not break too often. Last
year’s veteran defense knew what it had to do to make
plays, and it was just quick enough to get where it
needed to be. Now six of the starting front seven is
gone, along with key safety Jeremy McGown and corner
Keenan Little. It might take a while before the new
group is close to as productive as last year’s D, but
it’ll only get one game of tune-up (Temple) before
The team will be far better if … it can return a
kickoff. For a team that relies on field position, the
return game needs to be much better. Navy averaged a
pathetic 16.3 yards per kickoff return last season, and
could use far more pop from Reggie Campbell or one of
the other speedsters. Defensively, being better on third
downs would be nice.
are a few tough games (perhaps demanding some national
attention), but enough cupcakes to ensure another
winning season. Games against Temple, Ball State, Duke
and Air Force before October are all must-wins,
considering there’s an early trip to Rutgers along with
dates at Pitt and Notre Dame. Playing Wake Forest isn’t
going to be any easier than it would’ve been last year,
but that might be a needed win with two straight road
dates (Notre Dame and North Texas) to follow.
FB Adam Ballard. The battering ram broke his leg early
in the Army game, but will be back at 100% by the start
of the season. When he’s healthy, he’s option one that
every opposing defense must deal with. Ballard has the
toughness to be a 20-carry workhorse, or can be used
just to get five yards here and there to grind out a
long drive. Considering his 223-pound size, he has good
breakaway speed when he gets into the open.
Best Defensive Player: Junior CB Rashawn King. A
good-sized corner who tackles like a safety, he’ll be
the team’s number one shutdown man and one of the
leaders of an inexperienced defense. While he hasn’t
picked off a pass yet and has to prove he can handle
opposing number-one receivers on a regular basis, he’s
one of the team’s faster players and has the skills to
potentially be special.
player to a successful season:
OL Anthony Gaskins. Consider Gaskins a representative
for the entire offensive line, which needs to fill the
holes and come up with a consistent season to give the
skill players some room to move. Tackle Andrew McGinn is
a talented veteran, but he’s very small, as is 6-1,
247-pound guard Antron Harper. 6-4, 300-pound Ben
Gabbard will likely hold down one guard spot, while the
6-1, 275-pound Gaskins has to be versatile enough to
play center or guard.
season will be a success if
... the Midshipmen win at least eight games. It’s not
going to be easy, as supposed breathers like Ball State,
Duke and Northern Illinois all good enough to come up
with wins if Navy isn’t sharp. Beating a team like
Rutgers, Pitt, or, to dream the impossible dream, Notre
Dame, would make the season special.
29 vs. Air Force. Navy has done a great job against the
Falcons over the last few years, winning four straight,
but each was by seven points or fewer. Now there’s a new
Air Force coaching staff and a new attitude. If all goes
according to form, Navy should be 3-1 before Air Force
comes to town, with dates at Pitt, home against Wake
Forest and at Notre Dame coming up in the following four
- First quarter scoring: Navy 94; Opponents 43
- Fourth down conversions: Navy 12-19 (63%); Opponents
- Average rushing yards per game: Navy 327; Opponents