2008 Navy Midshipmen Football Preview
Navy Midshipmen - Independent
Navy 2007 Record: (8-5, 0-0)
2007 Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Utah (L 32-35)
Navy Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (1st year at Navy, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ivin Jasper
Defensive Coordinator: Buddy Green
Returning Leaders for Navy:
Other Key Returnees: CB Blake Carter, DT Nate Frazier, G Anthony Gaskins, LB Tony Haberer, CB Rashawn King, OT Andrew McGinn, LB Ross Pospisil, LB Ram Vela, RB Shun White
Key Losses: FB Adam Ballard, RB Reggie Campbell, DE Chris Kuhar-Pitters, RB Zerbin Singleton, LB Irv Spencer, WR O.J. Washington, LB Matt Wimsatt
Former coach Paul Johnson took his option offense to Georgia Tech, but the system will look pretty much the same under new head man Ken Niumatalolo. Coach Niumatalolo, a longtime Navy assistant, has some big shoes to fill, but the success at Navy is expected to continue under his reign.
Navy's 2008 Strengths:
Despite the absence of fullback Adam Ballard and slot back Reggie Campbell, the Midshipmen still have plenty of offensive weapons. Fullback Eric Kettani, despite not starting last season, led the team in rushing with 880 yards and is poised for a big senior season. Slot back Shun White tallied 620 yards on the ground and an incredible 7.9 yards per carry. He might not be able to keep up that lofty average, but he should get more carries and be an even more dangerous weapon in 2008. However, it all starts with quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada. As a junior, Kaheaku-Enhada threw for 952 yards and eight touchdowns and added another 834 yards and 12 trips to the endzone on the ground.
Navy's 2008 Weaknesses:
Securing an offensive line that lost a lot of talent is the only thing that could stop the Mids offense. Tackle Andrew McGinn has plenty of experience, but some new faces need to be ready to open up holes for the running game. The defense gave up 263 yards per game through the air and ranked dead last in the nation in pass efficiency defense. Three starters return, and rover Jeff Deliz is back after missing most of last season with an injury, but that might not help too much. What would help is if the front seven could get some pressure on the quarterback. Navy averaged less than a sack per game and the pressure is on end Michael Walsh to become a more effective pass rusher.
The Bottom Line for Navy in 2008:
With linebacker Clint Stovie back from injury and a young defense spending a year growing up, the unit should be better. However, the offense, while still extremely talented, might take a small step back and that leaves Navy about where they were last year. With an easy schedule, garnering another eight win season should not be a problem.
2007 Team Stats for Navy:
Rushing Offense: 348.77 (1 st in nation, 1 st among independents)
Passing Offense: 95.31 (119, 3)
Total Offense: 444.08 (22, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.31 (10, 1)
Rushing Defense: 175.77 (81, 1)
Pass Defense: 263.38 (106, 3)
Total Defense: 439.15 (99, 3)
Scoring Defense: 36.38 (108, 3)
Turnover Margin: -.15 (70, 2)
Sacks: .92 (116, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.08 (10, 1)
By Joel Welser
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