Three Keys: Navy vs. VMI

With by far the most difficult two games on the schedule out of the way it is time for Navy to regroup and work on getting bowl eligible over the remainder of the season. That starts this Saturday when the Mids host VMI of the FCS. Here are three keys which Navy should focus on which will help them pick up the victory.

1) Get Trey Miller going

For Navy to be effective as the season moves on, Navy has to find a way to get Trey Miller going. The Navy coaching staff still believes that Miller can be the best run-pass threat that the Midshipmen triple option attack has seen in years, but through two games Miller has only 37 yards rushing and has committed 6 turnovers. Yes, the competition has been good and yes, there was an ankle injury in the Notre Dame game which slowed Miller down, but the team needs more from Miller if the attack is going to be effective. With only untested freshman Keenan Reynolds putting any pressure on Miller's position, the junior must get on track is Navy are to avoid the first 0-3 start since the triple option was brought to the Academy.

2) Improve on the offensive line

The Navy offensive line is a young group who have shown teething problems during the first two games. There is no doubt that the group has potential though and it will be very interesting to see how the line fairs against a VMI team who bring a very different defensive scheme to those used by Penn State and Notre Dame. While the first two contests saw Navy overmatched physically, this will not be the case from here on out. VMI will come to town using a number of odd fronted defensive sets, but their base is a 3-4/3-3-5 hybrid which will see a big nose tackle lined up over promising (but still raw) center Tanner Fleming. How Fleming, who is a physical specimen, plays will be very important going forward as future opponents like Army and Air Force will use similar defensive sets.

3) Make plays on defense

Statistically the Navy defense is awful through two games. The Mids have given up an average of 42points per game, good for 119th out of the 124 FBS schools. Just as disappointing however has been the lack of big plays created by the defensive unit. The Midshipmen have forced only one turnover so far this fall and players are just not being aggressive enough in trying to make those momentum turning plays. When the team is minus 7 in the turnover differential after two games two things need to happen: the offense needs to protect the ball better (especially on fumbles where has lost 6 for 152 yards) and the defense needs to step up and give the offense a spark by handing them better field position. One thing to definitely watch for this weekend is the aggression level on defense as Navy looks to find a player or two who can step up and alter games on that side of the ball.

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