Q&A with Navy beat writer Bill Wagner

Capital Gazetter Navy beat writer Bill Wagner said he thinks the key to the game is if the Navy defense will be able to slow down a high-powered IU offense.

Every week I will try to do a quick Q&A session with a beat writer from the opposing team. Last week it was Terre Haute Star-Tribune Sports Editor Todd Golden, who covers Indiana State. This week it's Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette.

Here's the result of that Q&A:

Hutchens: 1. How different will the Navy team look on Saturday in Bloomington compared to the one that played the Hoosiers about 10 months ago?

Wagner:"Navy always looks pretty much the same in terms of personnel. They have well-established offensive and defensive systems and simply plug-in similar-looking players. Big change this year is that Navy intends to incorporate more spread-style passing into its offense. The Mids will work out of a shotgun or pistol-formation with the hope of taking advantage of Keenan Reynolds' throwing ability."

Hutchens: 2. Can you talk about the development of Keenan Reynolds and what he you think he does better now than the last time Indiana saw him play?

Wagner:"Reynolds has a chance to be the best quarterback of the current triple-option era, and possibly the best in Navy history. He is the first freshman to start during the triple-option era and was pretty darn good last year. I can only see Reynolds getting better with age and experience. He will become more adept at running the triple-option and just more confident and comfortable in the offense. Reynolds is very sharp, has great instincts and is an above-average runner. He has a strong, accurate arm and can throw on the run."

Hutchens: 3. Do you think Indiana has an advantage because they've played a game already or Navy has an advantage because IU doesn't have any game film on the Middies to this point?

Wagner:"It certainly helps that Indiana played Navy last year and thus had to prepare for the triple-option. They also have film from last year's game to work with. That being said, I've seen teams (East Carolina is the latest that comes to mind) that have played Navy two or three years in a row and still not figured out how to stop the option. Obviously, IU has no idea what Navy is going to do in terms of the passing wrinkles I mentioned above."

Hutchens: 4. Other than Indiana trying to slow down the option, what do you think is the most intriguing match up position wise in Saturday's game?

Wagner:"I think the Navy defense trying to slow down Indiana is the key matchup. The Midshipmen must get some defensive stops, and a few turnovers (like last year) would help."

Hutchens: 5. What do you think will be the final score Saturday night and what do you think Navy's record will be overall for the 2013 season? Do you think this will make it 10 bowls in 11 years?

Wagner:"I think Indiana will beat Navy 42-35 or something similar. Navy has a solid team and should earn the six wins necessary to qualify for a bowl. Navy always plays a handful of close games and how those turn out will determine if this will be a six-win season or perhaps eight or nine wins."

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch.


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