Preview 2008 - Offense
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2008 Navy Offense
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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.
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
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OG Curtis Bass
Best pro prospect: Senior QB Jarod Bryant (as a punt
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Projected Top Reserves: Working behind Barnes will
be sophomores Mario Washington and Mike Schupp,
two smallish receivers, around 5-9 and 170 pounds, with
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.
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
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