2007 Navy Preview - Defense
Navy Midshipmen Defense
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2007 Navy Depth
| 2006 CFN Navy Preview
What you need to know: Uh oh. Wholesale changes need
to be made with only three starters and seven lettermen
returning. The best defense will be a good offense
needing the ground game to crank out long drives to keep
this inexperienced, woefully undersized, untested group
off the field. Pass rushers need to emerge with the hope
for Chris Kuhar-Pitters and Casey Hebert to turn into
playmakers around rising star tackle Nate Frazier. Clint
Sovie and Irv Spencer will turn into reliable inside
but outside linebacker will be a question. The secondary
will be a work in progress around solid corner Rashawn
Clint Sovie, 61
Sacks: Jon Alvarado & Jeff Deliz, 1
Interceptions: Clint Sovie, 2
Star of the defense: Junior CB Rashawn King
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior DEs
Chris Kuhar-Pitters and Casey Hebert
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore DT Nate Frazier
Best pro prospect: Frazier
Top three all-star candidates: 1) King, 2) Frazier, 3) LB
Strength of the defense: Inside linebacker
Weakness of the defense:
Projected Starters: The line's going to need several
unknowns to quickly become stars, and that stats at left end where 6-2,
258-pound senior Chris Kuhar-Pitts gets on the field for the
first time replacing Tye Adams. One of the team's strongest players,
he'll likely do more against the run than he will getting to the
Senior Casey Hebert will rotate at right end taking
over for top sacker John Chan after spending last year as a little used
backup making one sack and one tackle. He's 250 pounds and athletic
enough to be the team's new top pass rusher.
6-3, 285-pound sophomore
Nate Frazier should be the anchor of the line for the next three
years and should be the defense's new star. A terrific athlete, he could
be used as an end if needed but his size makes him a must for the
Projected Top Reserves: Herbert will likely get
the start at right end, but 242-pound junior Will Scarle will get
plenty of playing time if he doesn't take over the job outright.
Whichever one is more effective at getting into the backfield will get
On the other side will be 6-2, 239-pound junior Michael
Walsh, who made two tackles in seven appearances. Built like an
outside linebacker, he'll attempt to be a speed rusher behind Kuhar-Pitts.
6-4, 257-pound junior John Maddox is a smaller, quicker option on
the nose than Frazier, but he's not nearly as talented and might see a
little time on the end.
Watch Out For ... problems early on. It's not like
the 2006 Navy line was a rock, but this group will be a big problem
until the ends figure out what they're doing.
Strength: Frazier. He's a great prospect for the line to build
around with the potential to be the star up front for several year. As
the only player up front with any appreciable size, he has to stay
healthy and be effective.
Weakness: Experience. There isn't any whatsoever. The line is
starting from scratch. Forget about any reliable depth.
Outlook: Undersized, inexperienced, and a
potential weakness of the team, the line needs to surprise out of the
gate with Frazier needing to become a star from the opening game and for
someone, anyone to emerge as a pass rusher. The heart and motor of the
typical Navy defense will make up for a lot of problems.
Projected Starters: Junior Clint Sovie and senior
Irv Spencer combined to start on the inside last year, and now
they'll both get starting spots replacing tackling machine Rob Caldwell.
The 201-pound Sovie is tough for his size using his tremendous speed to
make plays. He started in nine games finishing fifth on the team with 61
stops to go along with two interceptions and three broken up passes.
He's just a pure football player. The 238-pound Spencer moved from the
outside to the inside finishing with 27 tackles. While he's not as fast
as Sovie, he can move.
Former defensive back Matt Humiston is slowly turning into a
linebacker making ten tackles in 13 appearances. He's not all that big
at 5-11 and 207 pounds, but he has good athleticism and has to fly
around to make plays like second-leading tackler David Mahoney did.
the other side will be 216-pound senior Matt Wimstatt, who needs
to return healthy after having shoulder problems. A great special teamer,
now he has to become a factor on the outside after making six tackles
Projected Top Reserves: Senior Jon Alvarado
has been a reserve for the last few years seeing time in four games last
season making three tackles with a sack. While not fast enough to be a
factor on the outside, he'll be a key reserve behind Spencer in the
middle. Senior Dell Robinson has good toughness and excellent
speed on the outside, but he can't stay healthy. He'll combine with
sophomore Craig Schaefer behind Humiston on the outside. Keep an
eye on 6-0, 225-pound sophomore Jordan Eddington on the outside;
he'll grow into a major factor behind Wimsatt as the year goes on.
Watch Out For ... the overall production to not be
all that bad despite all the losses. Losing Rob Caldwell, David Mahoney
and Tyler Tidwell will hurt early on, but Sovie and Spencer will make
plenty of plays on the inside.
Strength: Inside linebacker. Sovie and Spencer are two of the
only linebackers with experience. With good enough speed to go sideline
to sideline, these two will need to make up for the mistakes for the
rest of the front seven.
Weakness: Experience. There isn't any. It'll be trial by fire on
the outside, and there's no reliable depth going into the year. It'll
take a while for the rotation to kick in and to figure out who can
Outlook: Uh oh. One of the team's biggest
strengths last year might become one of the biggest weaknesses. The
statistics will be there just by showing up, but can the smallish group
stop anyone's running game? Will there be any pass rush from the
outside? The foursome that ends up starting will be the key to the
Projected Starters: 6-0, 190-pound junior Rashawn King
goes from being a rising star of the defense to the number one
corner and key to the secondary coming off a 50-tackle, four broken up
pass season. Now he has to make even more plays when the ball is in the
air and he must become more of a difference maker against opposing
number on receivers.
Taking over for Keenan Little on the other side
will be sophomore Blake Carter, who'll step in after making two
tackles on special teams. With good speed and quickness, he'll have to
step up as he's sure to get picked on with most quarterbacks looking to
stay away from King. He'll also be a reserve at Rover.
Replacing Jeromy Miles at Rover will be junior Ketric Buffin, a
smallish 5-7, 170-pound veteran who hits like a ton of bricks and isn't
afraid to throw his body around. He made 11 tackles and an interception
as a spot starter, and now he has to be a key defender as one of the
team's only returning defender with any experience.
Senior Jeff Deliz
will be part of a rotation in place of third leading tackler Jeremy
McGown at free safety. One of the team's most productive reserves and a
top nickel back last season making 24 tackles with an interception and
3.5 tackles for loss, he should end up as one of the team's top
Projected Top Reserves: Combining with Deliz at
free safety will be Jesse Iwuji, a 6-1, 179-pound sophomore
who'll also be a backup at right corner behind Carter. With his size and
speed, he'll see plenty of time somewhere in the secondary. 5-9,
177-pound senior Jordan Reagan is one of the team's fastest
players, but he can't cover anyone. He'll combine with 5-7, 168-pound
sophomore Darius Terry at left corner behind King.
Watch Out For ... the starting lineup to change
several times, several ways. Outside of King at corner, the parts are
generally interchangeable with several different options for most of the
spots. The depth chart might change dramatically at the beginning of the
Strength: Options. With the versatility of players like Carter
and Iwuji, the coaching staff can always find a way to put the best four
defensive backs on the field at the same time.
Weakness: Now the coaching staff has to actually figure out who
the best four defensive backs are. The depth will be a bit questionable
for a while until everyone starts to work together on a regular basis.
Its hard to figure out who can cover when there's no one on offensive
side who can throw in practices.
Outlook: It's all about bending but not breaking.
Anyone who can throw should be able to complete passes at will on this
group, but the secondary has to figure out how to keep teams from
bombing away deep. As long as the secondary can come up with a few key
third down stops here and there, it'll be effective in the team's
Projected Starters: Junior Matt Harmon returns
after turning into a reliable placekicker with Joey Bullen hurt.
He doesn't have a big leg, but he connected on eight of 11 field goal
attempts and connected on 37 and 38 extra points. He'll go into the
season as the main man again, but Bullen, who has a good leg, will
be in the mix for the job and could get the work on the longer range
field goals. The punting has to be far better after senior Greg
Veteto averaged just 38.1 yards per kick. He's good at hanging the
ball up in the air forcing 11 fair catches while putting ten inside the
20, but he has to get far more blast on his kicks. Star running back
Reggie Campbell will handle most of the return game after averaging
21 yards per kickoff return and taking two punts for an average of 27.5
Watch Out For ... Campbell to grow into a
superstar of a kick returner. He might not be consistent, but he'll hit
at least two home runs. Only 5-6, he'll be hard for most teams to find
him on kickoff returns. By then, he'll be gone.
Strength: Placekicking. Harmon and Bullen will combine forces to
come up with points whenever the offense stalls.
Weakness: Punting. Veteto has to start bombing the ball better.
Considering field position is a must for a team that runs, pushing teams
deeper will be a must.
Outlook: The coverage units have always been a
plus under Johnson, and they should be strong again. The overall kicking
game will be fine from short range, but nothing special when a big,
booming kick is needed from both the placekickers and the punters.
Campbell could potentially be special.
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