Navy Spring Practice Update: Week 1

Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo began the spring looking to reload the Mids' starting lineup on both sides of the ball. Niumatalolo must replace almost all of the impact players that have allowed the Mids to post a 27-14 record during his first three season as head coach.

"We're trying to create a culture of greatness, to make our guys understand the culture of Navy football," said Niumatalolo. "We have some young guys who have the size we always wanted and all the athletic tools, but we're trying to create the atmosphere that helps them learn the culture of how we want them to play. It's a mindset of toughness."

The Mids return just three starters on defense. The Mids lost star defensive back their best cover cornerback, Wyatt Middleton, their best cover cornerback in Kevin Edwards, their leading tackler Tyler Simmons and their sack leader, Billy Yarborough. To make matter worse De'von Richardson, who did a nice job replacing the injured Emmett Merchant was separated from the Academy after the season. The hits just kept on coming when striker outside linebacker senior Aaron McCauley surprisingly left the team. Ken Niumatalolo commented about McCauley's departure at the spring football luncheon.

"Yeah, we were surprised," said Niumatalolo. "He was having good workouts in the off season and he had a great game against Army at the end of the year. I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do, but we have other guys on the team that look at this as a great opportunity. We will definitely miss him, but I think some young guys are excited about the opportunity and we are excited about the young guys."

At quarterback Kriss Proctor is secure as the heir apparent to Ricky Dobbs after playing well in a backup role the last two seasons. Proctor is wearing the green jersey and is off limits to being hit by the defense in drills. Backup quarterbacks Trey Miller and Jarvis Cummings are not wearing green jerseys because the staff wants to evaluate their skill level to determine who will back up Proctor. Miller, played at NAPS in 2009, chose Navy over offers from Air Force, Louisiana Tech, Troy and Louisville among others. Miller looks bigger and stronger (6-0 190) than last year. Trey is an exciting, natural runner. Miller possesses mobility, the ability to cut on a dime and acceleration. He has excellent body control and usually makes the first man miss. Miller lacks pure breakaway speed but is a very productive running quarterback.

Cummings is very gifted athletically and has the ability to transition to a number of positions. At the prep school in 2009 he saw time at slotback, wide receiver and returned kicks. Cummings chose Navy over Air Force in 2009. He played quarterback in an option offense at Hempfield High in Lancaster, Pa. Jarvis is 5-foot-10, 210 pounds with excellent speed, quickness, mobility and a solid if erratic arm. Like Miller he has worked hard and appears to have improved his strength and quickness.

Defensive coordinator Buddy Green missed the opening week of practice after having gallbladder surgery. With Green out longtime assistant and recruiting coordinator Dale Pehrson has been placed in temporary charge of running the defense. Pehrson , who was originally hired by Charlie Weatherbie, is implementing the plan laid out by Green and consults with him daily.

Senior David Sumrall has taken the lead at left tackle to replace Jeff Battipaglia He has big shoes to fill since Battipaglia, one of the finest left tackles of the triple option era, had started 40 consecutive games. Sumrall is 6-5, weighs 275 pounds and can move. Niumatalolo stated, "It's time for David to step up. Hopefully he looks at this as a great opportunity. I'm excited about him, because physically he has the tools to do it. Whether he can do it or not remains to be seen." Top Stories