Navy Practice Update: Week 3

Navy announced this past week that the final two intra-squad scrimmages that are held on Fridays will be closed to the media. With the first game against a local team Delaware, head coach Ken Niumatalolo is playing his cards uncharacteristically close to the vest. During the triple option era the scrimmages have been open in the past.

Senior David Sumrall who won the battle this spring at left tackle has been out with a concussion. Hopefully he can resume practice soon. Last year Navy lost tackle Matt Malloy to a career ending multiple concussions. The left tackle spot is the only position on the offensive line that is open after the graduation of Jeff Battipaglia. Sumrall has played well and hopefully he can avoid the recurring problems with concussions that ended the football careers of Matt Malloy and Emmett Merchant last season. With Sumrall out junior Andrew Barker (6-4, 257) and sophomore Graham Vickers are getting most of the practice repetitions. Barker is flexible, moves well and can get to second level on his blocks. Barker didn't see any playing time with the varsity last year. He spent two years away from the Academy on a Mormon mission. The staff moved sophomore Graham Vickers (6-1, 270) from guard to tackle. It is the third offensive line position move for Vickers in three years. In 2009 he played center at the prep school and was considered that team's best lineman. Vickers is athletic, strong and runs well for a lineman. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said the competition is wide open, "A lot of it is (Sumrall) being injured. We weren't sure when he was coming back. He was playing well before he got injured."

The updated depth chart was released after last Saturday's scrimmage. Some of the more noticeable moves include third string senior B-back Delvin Diggs being moved up the depth chart bypassing junior Prentice Christian in the battle to backup fullback Alexander Teich. Diggs broke a 52-yard run which set up a Kriss Proctor touchdown run during Saturday's scrimmage. Sophomore Michael Patrick moved up to third on the depth chart even with Christian, who has fallen in the eyes of the coaches this summer. During Saturday's scrimmage Patrick carried the ball seven times for 36 yards at B-back. Patrick played fullback for NAPS in 2009 and led the team in rushing. Michael was named the 2009 NAPS Most Valuable Player. Patrick is short, 5-8, but is a well-built 193 pounds and possesses good speed

Freshman Jake Zuzek has moved with to third on the depth chart at left guard. Zuzek was the best lineman at the Naval Academy Prep School last season. Zuzek was named NAPS Offensive MVP last year playing guard. Zuzek is a 6-0, 300 pound player who is incredibly powerful and strong. He has bench pressed over 500 pounds as a 19 year old! He is very explosive off ball and can be overpowering as a one-on-one blocker. Zuzek is Philly tough, extremely physical and can muscle and maul with anyone.

Buddy Green has switched his defensive ends with most, except for senior captain Jabaree Tuani, moving to the opposite end position. Wes Henderson and Jamal Dobbs switched from left defensive end to right defensive end. Junior Wes Henderson is now listed as the starter at right defensive end. Henderson has battled back after falling to third string behind Dobbs at left defensive end at the end of spring practice. Henderson has been up and down the depth chart before. He entered last fall as backup to Billy Yarborough but dropped on the depth chart by opening day. Henderson played in five games last season and had one tackle. Henderson (6-2, 250) has good size and mobility for a Navy defensive end. Sophomore Jamal Dobbs is currently listed as his backup. Dobbs (6-1, 255) is a very good athlete, with long arms, a fast up field burst and has the ability to pressure the quarterback. Juniors Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick and Collin Sturdivant were switched from right defensive end to left defensive end behind Tuani. Dowling-Fitzpatrick is an undersized defensive end (6-2, 220) who was converted from outside linebacker. Dowling-Fitzpatrick played defensive end in high school. He shows some pass rush ability and will hustle and chase. Sturdivant entered last fall in a battle for the backup linebacker spot. He lost that battle and his place on the depth chart. He was converted back to defensive end which seems to be a better fit for him.

At linebacker Matt Brewer is now the starter at one inside linebacker position ahead of Matt Warrick. Max Blue remains the starter at the other inside linebacker backed Caleb King. Competition at both inside spots is very close and the Mids have quality depth here. Freshman Jordan Drake has moved onto the depth chart at the outside linebacker position. Jordan Drake, a 6-4, 210 pound outside linebacker, is from Ricky Dobbs' home town of Douglasville, Georgia. Drake earned All-County honors at Chapel Hill High School both his junior and senior years. Drake was a two way player at tight end and defensive end. He posted 19 sacks in his high school career. After his senior year Drake had no FBS offers because he was a undersized linebacker playing out of position. Drake decided to spend the summer and fall of 2010 practicing, training and playing football at the post-graduate Elite Performers Sports Academy in Fairburn while taking classes at Georgia Military Community College. The move paid dividends as Drake grew and has added thirty pounds since his high school days. That led to offer from Navy which he chose over a few other programs.

The secondary remains unsettled and a major concern. Three plebes Chris Ferguson at free safety and Parrish Gaines and Lonnie Richardson at cornerback currently appear on the depth chart. In past years Ken Niumatalolo has moved up underclassmen in an effort to light a fire and motivate upperclassmen he expected more production from on the practice field. With senior Kwesi Mitchell still listed atop the depth chart at three positions the staff is still looking for players to emerge at this late date. Top Stories