Navy position battles continue

The Navy Midshipmen held their first full scrimmage of summer practice on Saturday August 11. The Mids' depleted wide receiver corps took another hit when wide receiver Matt Aiken injured his right knee. Aiken was hurt when he was tackled on an end around run. Aiken will be out of the lineup for most of this week. He had experienced knee problems during his high school career.

The staff is hoping it was a bruise or hyper extended and not damaged. The Mids are already without their best wide receiver, Brandon Turner, who is out until at least Aug. 20. Turner failed the mandatory physical readiness test and he needs to pass it to rejoin the team. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said "Aiken is one of our best players. He's our starting wideout. He's our punt returner. He's worked hard. Hopefully it's not too bad. We've got three weeks and we'll see."

On offense junior starting quarterback Trey Miller ran for 32 yards and scored a touchdown. Miller showed off his passing ability that he demonstrated last year. He continued to demonstrate his excellent arm hitting 13 of 19 passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. Miller hit slot back John Howell for a 26 yard touchdown on a post pattern with a perfect throw. One of the surprising developments this spring is the play of direct admit plebe quarterback Keenan Reynolds who is making a push for the back up quarterback spot . Reynolds has been impressive during practice and has proven to be a quick study. Reynolds was a four year starter running an old Wing-T offense right down to the Delaware Blue Hens knockoff uniforms. Keenan is an exciting player with very quick feet and 4.55 speed in the forty yard dash. He was a very productive dual threat quarterback with the ability to make plays. Reynolds has good arm strength for an option quarterback and showed a nice touch on his deep throws. He can throw in the pocket or on the move. During the scrimmage Reynolds completed four of his nine pass attempts for 40 yards. Current backup sophomore John Hendrick struggled throwing the ball and hit only one of six attempts for just eight yards. Neither back-up quarterback found much running room when carrying the ball. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo stated "the quarterbacks still have a lot of work to do. Today was good for them to get used to game management."

Noah Copeland continues to look like the impressive talent I first saw at the Naval Academy Prep School in 2010. Copeland, a sophomore, broke a 52-yard touchdown run. Last fall Copeland he played in seven games mostly on special teams. His big hit late in the finale against Army's kickoff returner Scott Williams forced a fumble and led to a field goal. With the graduation of Alexander Teich, Delvin Diggs and the separation of Mike Patrick, Copeland won the fullback spot this fall. He has a chance to be, as I wrote when he was initially recruited, the next great B-back. Noah has dominated at every level he's played and is a terrific downhill, cutback runner with excellent speed. Senior back up fullback Prentice Christian had a terrific scrimmage as he ran for 113 yards on 10 carries while showing surprising speed on a 52-yard touchdown run.

The kicking game continues to look miserable as the Mids try to find someone who can kick the ball with any consistency. The staff had five kickers attempt field goal attempts from 47, 31 and 27 yards. The kickers made just 7 of 22 field goal attempts. Junior Brynmoor Hughes and incoming NAPS plebe Nick Sloan hit from 27 and 47 yards. Junior Stephen Picchini and freshman Austin Grebe both hit from 27 and 31 yards. Freshman David Reisner only hit from 27 yards out. This is an area that Navy has to straighten out by opening day.

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