2009 Navy Preview - Offense
Navy RB Ricky Dobbs
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Navy Midshipmen Offense
Preview 2009 - Offense
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What you need to know:
After becoming the first team in
NCAA history to lead the nation in rushing three years in a row,
Navy tacked on a fourth straight rushing title by averaging 292
yards per game. The line is in place to keep the production
going, and Ricky Dobbs is an experienced quarterback ready to
step in and be the next star for the ground game, but the
backfield has to replace all the top runners. Shun White and
fullback Eric Kettani are gone, and there aren't any sure-things
ready to take their place. While the ground game might take a
minor step back, by Navy's standards, the passing game will be
better with Dobbs under center. He has a live arm and is the
most polished passer the program has had in years.
Passing: Ricky Dobbs
9-16, 212 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Ricky Dobbs
106 carries, 495 yds, 8 TD
Receiving: Mario Washington
3 catches, 56 yds
Star of the offense:
Junior QB Ricky Dobbs
Offensive line depth, receivers
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore FB
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Mario Washington
Best pro prospect: Sophomore C Brady DeMell
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:
The Ricky Dobbs era
finally gets rolling and the junior is ready. At 6-1 and 198
pounds, he's a bit bigger than Navy quarterbacks of the past,
and he has a far, far better arm than anyone under center in
Annapolis in the last decade. While he's a solid passer who can
push the ball down the field, he's still the typical Navy option
runner who can take off and make big things happen at any time.
He has a little bit of starting experience, getting the call in
the win over Northern Illinois, and saw extensive time in six
games highlighted by a 224-yard, four touchdown rushing day
against SMU. He completed 9-of-16 passes for 212 yards and a
touchdown with an interception on the year, while finishing
third on the team in rushing with 495 yards and eight scores
even though he saw limited time.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Kriss
Proctor isn't a bad passer, but he doesn't have the arm
of Dobbs and will be more of a runner as the No. 2 man in the
mix. He battled for the job this offseason and has a decent hold
on the job showing good decision-making ability and nice
quickness. A star high school point guard, he sees the field
well and is able to dish the ball off consistently.
187-pound sophomore Kameron Smith will be the
third man in the mix early on, but he's a good enough athlete to
be used in a variety of ways. If he's not seeing time at
quarterback, he could be used as a runner with the toughness to
run inside and the quickness to hit the home run when he gets
Watch Out For ... more passing. There's always talk about more passing from
the Navy offense, but that might actually happen this year with
Dobbs taking over. There won't be too much of a departure from
what works, but now the attack can do more.
It's Navy. You know exactly
what you're going to get out of the quarterbacks with a system
that finds the right fit at quarterback, a developmental system
that allows the new guys time to get the timing and the offense
down, and the ensuing production that means the quarterback will
always be in a position to put up big rushing numbers.
The backups. Yes, it's Navy,
and the offense will march on if Proctor or Smith have to take
over, but they still need time and seasoning. Dobbs went down
with a minor ankle injury this spring and it sent waves of panic
over the coaching staff. He's fine, and he needs to stay
Outlook: No, Kaipo-Noa
Kaheaku-Enhada didn't start out his career
pushing Roger Staubach for a job, it just seems that way. He's
gone now after a long and solid run, but Dobbs should be more
than fine while adding some semblance of a vertical element to
the mix. The backups have promise, but they need game action.
Step one will be to find someone to take
over at one of the Slot Back spots for Shun White, the team's
leading rusher who was a flash of lightning averaging 8.3 yards
per carry. Sophomore Marcus Curry will get a
long look with good toughness and a nice speed burst. He's not
as fast as White, but at 5-11 and 200 pounds he can pound a bit.
Taking over one of the other Slot Back jobs will be
senior Bobby Doyle, a star on special teams
over the course of his career and a part-time runner gaining 169
yards and a touchdown in his limited time. While he didn't see
many carries, he made the most of them averaging 10.6 yards per
run, and he can also be used as a receiver catching two passes
for 43 yards and a touchdown. The 5-11, 204-pounder is a decent
blocker who'll do anything to make a play. He's always making
something happen on special teams.
The biggest loss in
the backfield could be at fullback where bruiser Eric Kettani is
gone. Sophomore Alexander Teich has been solid
in practices, but he's only 6-0 and 212 pounds and failed to
bring the power that Kettani did. However, he's a far better
all-around athlete with more speed. If he can power his way
through the line, he'll be gone.
Projected Top Reserves: Senior Cory
Finnerty is a speedster who'll be working behind Marcus
Curry. The 5-10, 190-pounder started the first seven games of
last year but only finished with 71 yards and a touchdown on
eight carries. He's a good blocker and can be used as a receiver
with four grabs for 37 yards.
Playing in a rotation with
Bobby Doyle will be Aaron Santiago, a 5-8,
167-pound jitterbug quick back from Hawaii who can cut on a dime
and has good potential. He won't do anything up the middle, but
he should have a huge average per carry when he gets the ball on
the outside on the move.
Bringing a big more size to the
equation will be 6-1, 217-pound
Vince Murray, a tough junior who is
more of a pure fullback than Alexander Teich. He's a bit
of a bruiser with a tough running style. He'll do all
the dirty work, but he won't crank out the big runs like
Watch Out For ... Navy to not finish No. 1 in the
nation in rushing for the first time in five years. The
program hasn't been any worse than third in rushing in
seven years and it'll probably be in the top three yet
again, but there's too much of a drop-off in talent to
lead the country again.
Strength: Curry. He has to be the home-run hitter of the bunch.
While he won't be Shun White as far as breakaway speed,
he should tear off some huge dashes.
Weakness: Experience. There isn't any. White and Eric Kettani
were the 1-2 rushing punch from the running back slots
accounting for close to 2,100 of the team's 3,801
rushing yards. The quarterbacks took care of most of the
Outlook: The running game will keep on doing its
thing because of the system and because of the type of
player the program cranks out in the backfield, but
there's a big talent dip from last year and a chasm
compared to two years ago. The talent isn't there, but
the production will be solid; that's what the rating is
There should be more production coming from
the receivers this year with Mario Washington
likely to be the new deep threat. At 6-0 and
193 pounds he's a smallish speedster who can stretch the
field. He only caught three passes, but he made big
things happen averaging 18.7 yards per grab and now
should be a big-play target with Ricky Dobbs able to
5-10, 176-pound junior Mike
Schupp will step in at receiver after catching
one pass for 14 yards. While he's not all that big, he's
a tough blocker who can spring big plays down the field.
Extremely smart and a good route runner, he'll get a few
passes a game thrown his way.
Projected Top Reserves: Greg Jones
will finally get a little big of work after being a
practice-squad player over the first three years. A high
school quarterback, as well as an occasional receiver,
he's a quick 5-10 and 182 pounds working as a potential
deep threat behind Washington.
At 6-4 and 208
pounds, senior Nick Henderson has the
best size of any of the receiver prospects. He hasn't
done much yet, he has yet to catch a pass, but with his
size, experience, and toughness, he could be used like a
tight end, or as close to one as Navy would get.
Watch Out For ... Washington. He's a legitimate
deep threat who'd make an interesting No. 3 target on a
top passing team. He'll get his chances to make big
plays as the offense will try to throw him one deep ball
Strength: Blocking and quickness. Being a Navy receiver is sort
of like being the closer for the Washington Nationals;
you're not going to be used much and you have to take
advantage when you get the chance. In the meantime, the
Midshipmen receivers have to be able to block. They're
all quick and they should be able to get open if the
offense ever decides to use the forward pass.
Weakness: Production. There's almost no returning production
across the board with Tyree Barnes gone. Barnes caught
20 passes, the rest of the team caught 26 with the
running backs getting many of those.
Outlook: For what Navy wants to do, there might be
more production than usual with a passer like Ricky
Dobbs under center. If Washington can be close to as
good as Barnes, the corps will do its job.
Playing left tackle doesn't
mean the same at Navy as it does at other places, pass protection isn't
at a premium, but Jeff Battipaglia can do it. The 6-4,
260-pounder started every game as a sophomore and should be the star of
the line over the next two years. While he's not huge, he's great on the
move and is fantastic at springing the big play.
his starting spot at right guard is senior Curtis Bass,
a 6-1, 266-pound veteran is strong enough to blast open holes for the
power running game and isn't bad when he has to move. If he's not the
team's strongest weight room performer, he's in the top three and will
be the one the team works behind for the hard yards.
260-pound junior Matt Molloy took over the starting
right tackle job halfway through last year and was excellent. One of the
team's toughest players, he's a talented all-around blocker who's one of
the best on the team at finishing blocks. He has the perfect combination
of size, attitude, and athleticism for the Navy offense, and he should
be a fixture for the next two years.
The leader of the line
should be Osei Asante, a 6-1, 264-pound senior who has
been a versatile reserve over the last two years. He'll start out at
left guard but he could move to center if needed. He saw enough time
last year to be ready to shine now that he's one of the key blockers.
He'll be a rock.
Ricky Moore turned out to be a solid starting
center after moving over from the defensive side, and now it'll be up to
sophomore Brady DeMell to step in and produce. At 6-3
and 286 pounds he's one of the team's biggest linemen and he has to be
consistent in his line call. While he's big, he's a good athlete who'll
be allowed to grow into the job over the next three seasons.
Projected Top Reserves:
Senior Austin Miike got four
starts at right tackle last year and is in the hunt for the staring job
on the left side. He's most likely going to be one of the most important
backups with the ability to play either tackle spot or move to guard if
absolutely needed. He's 6-3 and 265 pounds with good finishing ability
when blocking for the ground game.
Senior Andy Lark
is a bowling ball of a blocker at 6-0 and 267 pounds and now
knows what he's doing. He made ten tackles in 2007 as a nose tackle
before moving over to the offensive side where he saw time as a backup
in every game. He can play either guard spot and will start out working
behind Asante on the left side.
Watch Out For
... the battle at center. DeMell is a big body who needs to the time to
grow into the starting job, but he might be needed at guard because of
his size. Junior Patrick Snow is a 6-1, 252-pound
athlete who doesn't have any real experience, but he can get to the next
Strength: Tackle. There's a ton of excitement surrounding the
future on the outside with Battiaglia and Molloy two nice veterans who
should be fantastic over the next two years. They're the perfect fits
for the attack.
Weakness: Veteran reserves. This is always a big issue for Navy,
and this year more than ever it'll take some time before the
inexperienced backups can step in and produce. There will be major
problems if there are injuries early on.
Outlook: The Navy offensive line is about timing
and precision, and this group should have it with two excellent tackles,
a nice veteran guard in Bass, and a leader in Asante ready to step in
and shine at left guard. The run blocking, as always, will be excellent,
and it'll have to be even better with all the new faces in the