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2007 Navy Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 24, 2007


Preview 2007 Navy Midshipmen Offense

Navy Midshipmen

Preview 2007 - Offense
 


- 2007 Navy Preview | 2007 Navy Defense Preview
- 2007 Navy Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Navy Preview
 

What you need to know: Navy led the nation in rushing in 2005, led the nation in rushing in 2006, and will lead the nation in rushing in 2007. What's the difference? The ground game will be terrific as always, but now it'll be truly special with the best combination of backfield talent and experience head coach Paul Johnson has ever had. There won't be any passing game, but it won't matter with a ground attack that can crank out a big run from anywhere on the field. The big concern will be the line with no experience among the backups whatsoever and a shaky starting five if left tackle Josh Meek's injured knee isn't healthy.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
23-48, 384 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Ballard
154 carries, 792 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Reggie Campbell
13 catches, 244 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior FB Adam Ballard
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OG Ben Gabbard and junior OG Anthony Gaskins
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Tyree Barnes
Best pro prospect: Ballard
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ballard, 2) OG Antron Harper, 3) QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
Strength of the offense: Running backs, quarterbacks
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth, receivers

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Brain Hampton went down midway though the season, Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada picked up the slack and carried the team the rest of the way going 4-2 as a starter without missing a beat. The junior isn't quite the runner than Hampton was, but he's a better overall athlete and speedy enough to break off long runs at any time. He finished with 507 rushing yards and ten touchdowns while completing 48% of his passes for 384 yards and five scores with only one interception. If he happens to get knocked out of the starting role, he could end up seeing time at receiver.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Jarod Bryant will likely step into the number two role and be used more in passing situations. With the most accurate arm on the team, he's a good backup option who'll be given every chance this fall to win the starting job. How good an athlete is he? He could've been a defensive back at Auburn.

Unlike most Navy quarterbacks, the 6-2, 206-pound Troy Goss is a big passer, but that doesn't mean he doesn't run the ball. Likely to move back to receiver, where he played in eight games last year without catching a pass, the senior has the speed to go along with more power than Kaheaku-Enhada.

Watch Out For ... Kaheaku-Enhada to run for 20 touchdowns ... if he's the starter. Now that he knows what he's doing and has a half a year of starting experience, he'll run the attack even more efficiently. Bryant might be almost as good a runner as
Kaheaku-Enhada, but with a better arm.
Strength
:
Quickness. As always, the Navy quarterbacks can all run with enough speed to be moved to receiver or even running back if needed.
Weakness
:
Passing. As always, the Navy quarterbacks couldn't hit water if they were drowning. Forget about mounting any sort of a consistent passing attack with this group, but as long as
Kaheaku-Enhada can throw efficiently and come up with the one big pass here and there when the opportunity presents itself, the offense will work.
Outlook: Navy continues to be a factory for small, quick, talented quarterbacks.
Kaheaku-Enhada is such a good athlete that he might take the position to another level with his speed and talents. Bryant is an excellent backup who'll see time throughout the year, if he doesn't take over the starting job. Goss will likely end up playing receiver early on. The rating is based on what Navy's quarterbacks do in the system.
Rating: 8

Running Backs

Projected Starters: While senior Reggie Campbell is only 5-6 and 165 pounds, when he's on, he's one of the most electrifying backs in America. Ridiculously strong and a sprinter on the Navy track team, Campbell has rushed for 1,268 career yards and 12 touchdowns averaging 7.5 yards per crack. While he'll disappear from the offense at times and hardly ever gets double digit carries, he's an extraordinary home run hitter who can do nothing all game long before blowing up for a long score. He's also a great receiver finishing second on the team with 13 catches for 244 yards and two scores.

While Campbell is the speed, 6-1, 236-pound senior Adam Ballard is the power. The tough-as-nails inside runner finished as the team's leading rusher with 792 yards and three touchdowns despite missing the bowl game with a broken leg suffered against Army. He has the speed to tear off big runs when he gets in the clear (he took off for 81 yards against Connecticut), and he always gets the tough yards when needed averaging 5.57 yards per carry.

Returning to his spot as the one of the team's starting slot backs is senior Zebin Singleton, who's only 5-8 and 164 pounds, but it one of the team's toughest blockers and great at springing big runs from other players. With tremendous speed, he's great at getting down the field to make short runs longer. While he only ran for 191 yards and a touchdown, he average 6.8 yards per carry highlighted by a 71-yard day against Boston College.

Projected Top Reserves: Playing behind Singleton will be junior Shun White, who has even better wheels and at 5-9 186 pounds is about 20 pounds heavier. He'll share time with Campbell and is unleashed once in a while when the offense is looking for a home run. He only ran the ball 48 times, but he tore off 12 yards a crack with five touchdowns highlighted by a 116-yard day against Boston College.

Backing up Campbell will be junior Greg Shinego, who'll mostly be a special teamer with White getting most of the backup work.

With Ballard coming back form a broken leg, 233-pound junior Eric Kettani might see more playing time. While not the runner Ballard is, he's a good blocker who's good at powering the ball for four yards a crack rushing for 229 yards and a touchdown last season.

Watch Out For ... this to be the best backfield yet in the Paul Johnson era. Ballard, Campbell, White and Singleton bring a blend of experience power, speed, and jaw-dropping running ability that should make the attack hum like never before.
Strength
:
Speed. Forgetting how fast the slot backs are, Ballard can move when he gets into the open. Just ask Boston College how fast the running game is (even without Ballard).
Weakness
:
Backup fullback. Last year the offense could rely on Matt Hall to step in and carry the load. Kettani is unproven and isn't near the talent Ballard is.
Outlook: If you liked the nation's number one rushing attack before, you're going to love the production from this year's group of backs. Campbell, Ballard and White seem like they've been around forever, and now they'll use all their experience to crank out big play after big play. Getting the backups more work will be vital to hit the ground running next year.
Rating: 9.5

Receivers


Projected Starters: Trying to replace leading receiver Jason Tomlinson as the number one target will be senior O.J. Washington, who only has four career catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, but has been around long enough to know what he's doing. A great downfield blocker with excellent speed, his role will be to make the one big catch a game when the defense is caught cheating up against the run.

On the other side will be junior Tyree Barnes, a big 6-2, 188-pound target who's finally healthy after having problems with a knee injury all last season. He finished third on the team with six catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns highlighted by a 31-yard scoring grab against Boston College.

Projected Top Reserves: Navy doesn't use a tight end, but 6-4, 239-pound junior Curtis Sharp might as well be one. He's not going to catch many passes, and if he does they'll be the short range variety, but he'll be a good blocker behind Barnes.

6-2, 207-pound senior Greg Sudderth is a former defensive back with way too much speed and athleticism not to have the ball in his hands. He'll back up Washington.

Watch Out For ... the receiving corps to do what it always does. Losing Tomlinson should hurt, but he only caught 16 passes. Washington should fill the void just fine.
Strength
:
Blocking. If you're a Navy receiver, you can hit someone. More than anything else, the receivers have to spring the backs on downfield blocks making short runs long ones. This crew can do that.
Weakness
:
Catching the football. The offense only threw the ball 51 times last year. The receivers aren't going to get much work because of the nature of the offense, but also because they're not star D-I receivers by any stretch.
Outlook: As always, the effectiveness of the Navy receiving corps isn't in the number of catches, it's in the timely nature they come. As long as Washington and Barnes can make one big play a game, that's all that matters.
Rating: 3.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: Just two starters return to the offensive line, but there's still plenty of experience to work with. The one sure-thing at a former spot will be 255-pound junior Andrew McGinn returning to right tackle. While he's light, he's almost ten pounds heavier than last year after he took over the starting job halfway through the season.

He's not going to knock anyone on their can, but he's great on the move. 272-pound senior Antron Harper is the other returning starter and the team's best blocker by far. He started every game at right guard, got bigger, and now will move to center taking over for James Rossi. He's one of the team's strongest players and is a fantastic technician.

The other tackle spot will be handled by 274-pound senior Josh Meek, who started was the starter over the first past of the year before tearing his ACL and missing the final five games. Fortunately, the injury happened just early enough so he should be ready by fall.

The guard spots will be the concern early on. 281-pound junior Anthony Gaskins was a reserve in every game last season and now will take over for Zach Gallion at left guard. 6-4, 297-pound senior Ben Gabbard is one of the team's biggest linemen, and now he has big shoes to fill replacing Harper at right guard. A veteran backup with 25 games of experience, he should be fine in time, even if there's a drop-off in production from Harper.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Paul Bridgers is an athletic 271 pounds, but he hasn't been able to see much of the field playing in just three games. Now he'll have to be a key reserve behind Meek on the left side. He represents the entirety of the experience among the reserves.

6-4, 271-pound junior Chad Peterson will play behind Gaskins at left guard, while 275-pound sophomore Curtis Bass will be groomed for the future at right guard. 6-5, 272-pound junior Mike Von Bargen is a bigger option than McGinn at right tackle.

Watch Out For ... the line to do what it always does at Navy, but it might take a while before it's as productive as last year's starting five. There's way too much turnover to be razor-sharp right away.
Strength
:
Harper. With all the question marks on the line, having a talented veteran like Harper quarterbacking the front at center will ease through the transition.
Weakness
:
Depth. There isn't any. The starters are a question mark and need seasoning, so forget about there being any reliability among the backups.
Outlook: The Navy offensive line is about timing and precision, and it's going to be a little while before it turns into a killer. It doesn't have to knock lines all over the place; it has to just get in the way of defenders long enough for the runners to slip on by. This group should be able to do that. Harper, Meek and McGinn are good veterans to revolve around, but there will be problems if Meek's knee isn't quite right.
Rating: 5.5

 

Related Stories
2007 Navy Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 23, 2007
2007 Navy Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 23, 2007
Behind Enemy Lines? Part II
 -by GoMids.com  Apr 22, 2007








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