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2008 Navy Preview - Offense
Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 9, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Navy Midshipmen Offense

Navy Midshipmen

Preview 2008 - Offense
 


- 2008 CFN Navy Preview | 2008 Navy Offense
- 2008 Navy Defense | 2008 Navy Depth Chart
-
2007 CFN Navy Preview | 2006 CFN Navy Preview 

What you need to know: Navy became the first team in NCAA history to lead the nation in rushing three years in a row, and while there are some great pieces to work around, there could be problems making it four straight. The quarterbacks are fantastic and should do even more for the running game with Jarod Bryant to be used in a variety of ways, while Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada is a good leader who makes things happen. Replacing Reggie Campbell and Adam Ballard out of the backfield will be tough, but speedy Shun White should see more work and FB Eric Kettani, last year's leading rusher, is fantastic. As always, the receiving corps will be an issue and there's turnover on the line, but it's nothing the team hasn't dealt with before.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
55-98, 952 yds, 8 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Eric Kettani
152 carries, 880 yds, 10 TD
Receiving: Tyree Barnes
10 catches, 168 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior OT Austin Milke
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OG Curtis Bass
Best pro prospect: Senior QB Jarod Bryant (as a punt returner)
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Kaheaku-Enhada, 2) FB Eric Kettani, 3) QB/RB Bryant
Strength of the offense: Running backs, quarterbacks
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth, receivers

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: Back for his third year at the helm, or actually the second and a half, is senior Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, a lightning quick 5-11, 194-pound runner who finished second on the team with 834 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry, while completing 56% of his passes for 952 yards and eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He failed to break off too many long runs, but he has the speed to make the big play from anywhere on the field. Now he has to cut down on his interceptions, considering he only threw 98 passes, and he has to be dead-on when he sees single coverage.

Projected Top Reserves: Senior Jarod Bryant might be a backup, but he's respected enough to be named a team captain. The 5-10, 185-pounder ran 94 times for 464 yards with five touchdowns, and completed 55% of his throws for 252 yards. While he'll stay in the hunt for the starting quarterback, the star athlete, who could've gone to Auburn to play defensive back, will be used as a slotback, receiver, and punt returner.

Depending on what happens with Bryant, 6-1, 190-pound sophomore Ricky Dobbs will see action as the No. 2 man. He showed this off-season that he's good enough to step in and run the offense, adding some good passing skills along with his running ability.

Watch Out For ... Bryant to be moved all over the place. Even if he turns out to be the best quarterback option, he'll likely be used in a variety of different ways so he and
Kaheaku-Enhada can be on the field at the same time.
Strength
:
Options.
Kaheaku-Enhada is a good veteran who's a proven leader and winner. He's coming off a knee injury, and if there are any problems, Bryant is more than capable of keeping things rolling. Dobbs has even thrown his hat into the ring as an option.
Weakness
:
Passing. Forget about mounting any sort of a consistent passing attack with this group, but as long as
Kaheaku-Enhada can throw efficiently, the Midshipmen finished 14th in the nation in passing efficiency, and if he can come up with the one big pass here and there when the opportunity presents itself, the offense will work.
Outlook: The beat goes on. With
Kaheaku-Enhada and Bryant, the two relatively interchangeable parts are back
with each able to produce big numbers. With problems in the receiving corps and replacements needed in the backfield, these two will need to do even more. They should be able to handle the responsibility without a problem and come up with bigger rushing totals.
Rating: 8

Running Backs

Projected Starters: With Reggie Campbell gone, there's a gaping hole at slot back that 5-9, 182-pound senior Greg Shinego has to fill if QB Jarod Bryant doesn't take over. Shinego ran just twice for nine yards seeing most of his action on special teams. He's fast and could be moved to receiver if needed, but he'll spend most of his time in the rushing rotation.

Returning at the other slot back role, stepping in for Zerbin Singleton, will be Shun White, a spot starter last year who ran for 620 yards and seven touchdowns scoring in seven straight games, including a receiving score against Delaware, over the second half of the season. With tremendous 4.46 speed on a 5-9, 186-pound frame, that he bulked up to get last year, he should be able to handle more work after averaging a whopping 7.9 yards per carry.

The team's leading rusher was Eric Kettani, a 6-1, 233-pound fullback who ran for 880 yards and ten touchdowns including two against Notre Dame. With the most interesting combinations of skills in the backfield, he has lineman strength and great breakaway speed, rushing for a 71-yard score against Ball State. He's more than just a power runner who makes things happen up the middle; he can go wide, too. Even so, he's always a sure-thing for the hard yard when needed.

Projected Top Reserves: Looking to get into the mix will be 5-7, 165-pound sophomore Andre Byrd, yet another speedy back who can zip inside and out. He'll play behind White, but he could see time in the rotation at either slot.

Navy finds work for its fullbacks, and 5-11, 193-pound Kevin Campbell has to show he has the toughness to handle the work behind Kettani. While he's strong and tough for his size, he's not going to be the consistent power runner Kettani is ... not that he isn't going to try with his linebacker mentality. He ran for 13 yards last season.

Watch Out For ... Jarod Bryant. The projected backup quarterback is the answer for the loss of Reggie Campbell. While White should put up good numbers and Shinego will be serviceable, White will be needed to make the consistently big plays.
Strength
:
Kettani. It's amazing that Adam Ballard, as good as he was, could find an equal as last year went on. Kettani is a potential feature back who could carry the ground game at times.
Weakness
:
Backup fullback. Kettani wasn't supposed to be the talent that Ballard was, and that changed in a hurry. Kevin Campbell might be tough, and he'll have no problem trying to hit someone, but he has to prove he can be a consistent backup power option.
Outlook: The backfield will take a step back after losing Ballard, Singleton and Reggie Campbell, but with Kettani and White, and with Bryant likely to fill in the second slot back role, the production will keep on coming. This isn't the most talented backfield around, but the rating is based on what they do for the offense leading the nation's leading rushing attack three years running.
Rating: 9

Receivers


Projected Starters: Senior Tyree Barnes has to be the man. The big  6-2, 188-pound veteran started every game last year but only caught ten passes for 168 yards and a touchdowns. He has had problems in the past with a knee injury, but that wasn't the issue last year; he simply wasn't used enough. A good blocker who can catch, his job will be to come up with the big play when he gets the chance.

With Greg Sudderth not getting an extra year of eligibility, 6-4, 239-pound senior Curtis Sharp steps to the forefront. More of a tight end for an offense that doesn't use one, he's a great blocker who now has to prove he can be a receiver.

Projected Top Reserves: Working behind Barnes will be sophomores Mario Washington and Mike Schupp, two smallish receivers, around 5-9 and 170 pounds, with tremendous quickness.

With Sudderth gone, the chance will be there for senior T.J. Thiel to make more of an impact. Purely a blocker so far, he'll get his shot at more significant playing time this year with the call out for more receiving help.

Watch Out For ... someone else to enter into the mix. If Barnes can't get it done and be a deep threat who stretches things out for the running game, QB Jarod Bryant, or one of the slot backs, could see more time wide.
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
:
A number two target. Barnes should get the job done. He has been around long enough to know what he's doing and catch the one big pass a game needed. It would be nice if there was another one of him to do more for the passing attack.
Outlook: It's not like O.J. Washington and Greg Sudderth (who was denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA) were Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, combining for just 18 catches, but they were great for what the offense does. Even so, that doesn't mean they can't be replaced. If the offense is asking for someone to step up and catch just 12 passes, that's possible. It's all about catching defenses off guard, but this group won't do anything if the offense ever has to go with the passing game on a regular basis.
Rating: 3.5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: There will be a few changes up front, but one sure thing will once again be senior Andrew McGinn at right tackle. He started the first seven games of last year but was never right the rest of the way with an ankle injury, but the 6-1, 255-pound veteran is fine now and will once again be great on the move.

The biggest hole to fill will be at center where Antron Harper needs to be replaced. The coaching staff has gotten creative with former defensive tackle Ricky Moore moving over to take over the job bringing more size to the spot. Phenomenally strong and at 6-4 and 283 pounds, he's a big, tough blocker who won't be the technician Harper was, but is expected to be solid.

Taking over for Josh Meek, a 12-game starter at left tackle, is 6-3, 260-pound junior Austin Milke
, an untested backup who might be the key to the line. He has been around long enough to know what he's doing, but his consistency will play a big role in the running game.

Helping out Milke will be returning left guard Anthony Gaskins, arguably the team's best lineman last year, or at least close to Harper. Tremendously strong and agile, the 6-1, 281-pounder can power block and is great on the move. He made the jump up from decent reserve to star, and now he should be the anchor up front.

Moving in for Ben Gabbard at right guard will be 6-1, 275-pound junior Curtis Bass after playing well in a limited role last season. Strong enough to blast open holes for the power running game, he has all the tools and all the potential to become a star. Mobile enough to play tackle, he should be great when he has to pull.


Projected Top Reserves: In the attempt to replace Harper in the middle, 6-0, 290-pound junior Andy Lark will move over from nose guard to work with Moore. He made ten tackles last year and showed good potential, but he's needed on the offensive line where his toughness and size could be used at guard if needed.

Adding more size to the line and a little experience is 6-5, 272-pound senior Mike Von Bargen, a decent backup who'll push for time behind Bass at right guard. He played in every game and could end up seeing time wherever needed on the line, outside of center.

Watch Out For ... Bass. The line has Gaskins and McGinn, but it could use one more big-time producer to work around. Bass could be it. If nothing else, he's one of the team's strongest players.
Strength
:
Run blocking ... duh. The formula works and the coaching staff isn't going to mess with it. This group will do what it usually does and get on the move, provide power up the middle when needed, and do just enough to keep the nation's best running game going.
Weakness
:
Depth. There isn't any, but that's not new for the Midshipmen who find cogs to fit the system. The starting five should be fine, but it'll be disastrous if injuries strike. Four starters played the whole season last year.
Outlook: The Navy offensive line is about timing and precision, and with three new starters it could take a little while. However, this is the norm for a line that's used to turnover. McGinn and Gaskins are a good base to work around, but the key will be inside where the combination of Moore and Lark have to shine, and at left tackle where Milke has to be more than just competent.
Rating: 5.5