2007 Navy Preview - Defense

Posted Apr 24, 2007

Preview 2007 Navy Midshipmen Defense

Navy Midshipmen

Preview 2007
- Defense

- 2007 Navy Preview | 2007 Navy Offense Preview
- 2007 Navy Depth Chart | 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 linebackers,
but outside linebacker will be a question. The secondary will be a work in progress around solid corner Rashawn King.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: 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 Clint Sovie
Strength of the defense: Inside linebacker
Weakness of the defense:
Experience, depth

Defensive Line

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 quarterback.

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 inside.

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 the nod.

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.
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.
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.
Rating: 4.5


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.

On 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 last season.

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.
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.
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 actually play.
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 Midshipmen season.
Rating: 4

Defensive Backs

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 tacklers.

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 year.
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.
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 scheme.
Rating: 4.5

Special Teams

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 yards.

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.
Placekicking. Harmon and Bullen will combine forces to come up with points whenever the offense stalls.
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.
Rating: 6.5


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