Navy Football Media Day Notebook
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo
Aug. 4, 2009
By Christian Swezey Special for navysports.com
I remember a headline from a hockey story a few years ago, when I was at The Washington Post: 'Capitals Considering Move to New Jersey.'
The story was the Washington Capitals were on the verge of changing their color scheme and logo. The headline drew tons of vitriolic responses from readers. I actually thought it was funny. But I also prefer cricket to baseball.
Anyway, Navy football had its media day on Monday. And there, too, the talk was of new jerseys. It looks like Navy has tweaked its home jersey by adding an anchor on one sleeve and the Marine Corps logo on the other; there is a rumor that Navy will break out special jerseys for one game (not Army or Air Force).
But the biggest jersey news came via a question from Dave Ausiello of Gomidshipmen.com about junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs. It appears Dobbs will be wearing a green 'no contact' jersey in practice, an unusual step for Navy to take with its quarterbacks.
In the recent past, Navy's quarterbacks were famously open for contact during practice. Camille Powell reports in The Washington Post that Navy has not made a quarterback off-limits in practice since Chris McCoy in 1997.
"If I could put a bubble around [Dobbs] I would," Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We're not as deep in that position as we have been in the past. I'm very excited about [sophomore Kriss Proctor] but he's a young quarterback and and he's got some way to go before he becomes a starter."
Niumatalolo added he hopes Navy's defenders treat Dobbs "gingerly" in practice.
It also helps that Dobbs is such a proficient passer. Niumatalolo says Navy may throw the ball 20 times a game and, with good protection, those plays involve less contact than option plays.
West Virginia tried to shield its nonpareil option quarterback, Pat White, by throwing the ball more last year than in the past.
But as Phil Steele notes in his must-have college football preseason magazine, White was unaccustomed to passing the ball. It showed. The Mountaineers dropped from 39.6 points to 24.5. White threw 58 more passes than in 2007, but those passes went for just 118 more yards.
And the Mountaineers went 9-4; in the previous three seasons, they had gone 33-5.
Dobbs welcomes the challenge to throw more passes.
"I would love to pass the ball on every down," he said.
It is the first time Navy's captains have come from the same state since Jason Snider (North Canton, Ohio) and Jason Wolf (Vinton County, Ohio) were captains in 1998.
The last time Navy had two captains from Texas wound up being a pretty good season. In 1996, captains Clint Bruce (Garland, Tex.) and Ben Fay (Fort Worth, Tex.) led the Midshipmen to a 9-3 record and victory in the Aloha Bowl.
On the heels of EA Sports putting a particular emphasis on Navy's unique option offense for its "NCAA 10" video games, there is another tremendous rumor going around. Seems there is a chance that the "NCAA March Madness" franchise by EA Sports is considering adding the 1985-86 Navy team in its upcoming game, set for release in the fall or winter. If the team is included, let's just hope they make the shorts a little bigger than they were in real life.