Back ups: Matt Aiken #85 So. Casey Bolena #10 So.
Third String: John O'Boyle #29 Jr. Hal Bowron #11 Sr.
Senior Doug Furman started three games last year and won the job in spring practice. Furman is an excellent blocker. Last season he caught three passes for 21 yards. Furman will be glad to see Louisiana Tech isn't on this year's schedule. The last two seasons against the Bulldogs Furman dropped two potential long touchdown passes from Ricky Dobbs that hit him right in the hands.
Junior Brandon Turner took Furman's job last year and started the last ten games. Turner (6-4, 200) is Navy's biggest receiver and a physical blocker. Last year he caught four passes for 113 yards and had a 32-yard touchdown against Army. Turner sat out the Blue-Gold game but was impressive this spring.
In one scrimmage Turner caught two passes for 62 yards and rushed 18 yards on a reverse.
Backup receiver Matt Aiken (6-0, 190) is the most likely candidate to replace the big play dimension of Greg Jones. Wide receiver coach Mick Yokitis says Aiken, a sophomore, has a chance to be a really good player.
"He's very talented catching the football, running routes and has a lot of upside," said Yokitis.
Aiken had two long passes called back by officials last year and was the best receiver on the Naval Academy Prep team in 2009. Matt led the prep team in both catches and touchdowns. Against Army prep he dominated catching three touchdown passes. In the Blue-Gold game Aiken made a nice leaping catch between defenders for a 37 yards gain. Aiken has excellent acceleration in and out of his cuts. He knows how to get open, adjust to the ball in the air and catches the ball cleanly. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo also commented on Aiken.
"I'm really excited about Aiken, He's been solid," said Niumatalolo. He's blocked well and has done some nice things."
Fellow sophomore wide receiver Casey Bolena also had a productive spring. Bolena played wide receiver opposite Aiken at NAPS in 2009. Bolena is the personification of the Navy receiver. He is a hardnosed, maximum effort player who loves the game. He is a very physical blocker. Casey has reliable hands and will make the tough catch over the middle. The 6-2, 200 pound Bolena showed a lot more speed this spring than advertised when he was recruited. He's also added twenty pounds since his prep days.
Junior John O'Boyle (6-0, 190) and senior Hal Bowron (6-1, 195) have worked their way up the depth chart to third string. Neither has seen varsity action but both know the offense. O'Boyle had a number of catches in scrimmages and a short reception in the Blue-Gold game. Their spots could be challenged by a wide receiver from the prep school that we will discuss after I-day.
In our next edition GoMids.com will look at Navy's offensive tackles.