Courtesy of Navy Athletics
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy defense got the best of the offense on Saturday morning, allowing just one touchdown and four field goals while forcing four turnovers in 22 offensive drives in the first scrimmage of the spring for the Navy football team.
â€œI thought the defense did a good job most of the scrimmage,â€ said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. â€œBoth sides of the ball had their moments, but we still have a long ways to go.â€
Safety Eric Stein led the defense with 12 tackles, while defensive end Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick added 11 tackles and a tackle for a loss. Dowling-Fitzpatrick led a strong outing by the defensive line as end Billy Yarborough had 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack end Jabaree Tuani had eight tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack, nose guard Shane Bothel recorded eight tackles and a fumble recovery and Clayton Lydick had seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack.
â€œTuani has been a beast all spring, we havenâ€™t been able to block him yet,â€ said Niumatalolo.
The linebackers also showed well as Andrew Sharp had nine tackles and a tackle for a loss, Max Blue recorded 10 tackles, Caleb King had eight tackles and Aaron McCauley had eight tackles and a tackle for a loss. Converted slot back Matt Brewer had a strong day as well with five tackles, a caused fumble and two fumble recoveries.
â€œI am real pleased with our linebackers,â€ said Niumatalolo. â€œIt was a position of concern coming into the spring, but that concern is starting to ease a bit.â€
Safety Traâ€™ves Bush led the secondary with the only interception of the day to go along with three tackles, while corner Deâ€™Von Richardson recorded six tackles and broke up a pass. Corner Caleb Lucas finished with six stops and corner Dylon Porlas had five tackles.
Kriss Proctor directed the first team offense to one touchdown and two field goals in eight drives. Proctor carried the ball 12 times for 42 yards and completed eight of his 12 passes for 75 yards with one interception. The quarterbacks wore green jerseys in the scrimmage and were not allowed to be tackled by the defense.
â€œI thought Kriss did some good things, but he also missed some things that he normally doesnâ€™t,â€ said Niumatalolo. â€œThis type of scrimmage is tough for Kriss, because his greatest asset is making people miss and we are blowing plays dead before he gets a chance to do that. I remember one play in particular that I blew dead that probably would have been a 50-yard touchdown run, but thatâ€™s not important right now That being said, he still has a long ways to go. He can play better than he did today.â€
Tyler Lynch and Travis Keating took turns directing the second and third team offenses and led the two units to two field goals on 14 drives.
Keating was the most effective of the two, rushing for 30 yards on 14 carries and completing four of his six passes for 44 yards. Lynch carried the ball 15 times for a loss of 32 yards and completed two of his four passes for 17 yards.
Alexander Teich led the fullbacks with 50 yards rushing on 13 carries. He scored the only touchdown of the day on a 12-yard run up the middle. Vince Murray finished with 22 yards on six carries, Kevin Eckel ran for 32 yards on 10 carries, Austin Beaty had 22 yards on seven carries and Delvin Diggs finished the day with 21 yards on five carries.
There were several slot backs that stood out on Saturday, with Mike Stukel having the biggest day with 54 yards rushing on five carries. Andre Byrd (46 yards on three carries), John Howell (42 yards on seven carries) and Bo Snelson (30 yards on four carries) also showed explosive speed. Aaron Santiago (1-5), Gee Gee Greene (2-5), John Oâ€™Boyle (3-17), J.J. Cosh (1 for -2), Ashby Christian (5-30) and David Zapata (7-20) all had carries out of the slot back position, while wide receivers Greg Jones (1-20) and Gary Myers (1-3) carried the ball on reverses.
â€œI thought the slot backs ran hard today,â€ said Niumatalolo.
Wide receiver Darin Hess was the leading receiver with four catches for 44 yards. Jones added three catches for 27 yards, while Murray (14 yards) and Jonathan Gazaille (17 yards) had two catches each.
Kickers Joe Buckley (36 and 35 yards) and Jon Teague (32 and 25 yards) were perfect on field goals, while Scott Blasinsky (30 yards) missed his only attempt.
Navy will conduct its second scrimmage of the spring next Saturday at 9:15 a.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.