The Navy Midshipmen opened and closed the season with two blowout losses but that didn't put a damper on what was a successful season. Despite breaking in a new quarterback and having a total of 17 players make their first career start the Mids returned to their winning ways. Navy played six bowl eligible teams in the regular season. They finished the season with an 8-5 record and achieved all their key goals including beating Army, qualifying for a bowl game and winning the Commander- in-Chief's Trophy. After a two year hiatus, the Mids defeated both Air Force and then Army to return the slightly battered Commander- in-Chief's Trophy back to Annapolis. While in the Falcons possession the Bill the Goat on the CIC Trophy was broken. Navy had won the CIC Trophy seven consecutive years from 2003-2009 before back-to-back losses against Air Force. The Mids turned their season around after Keenan Reynolds was named starting quarterback. GoMids.com will grade how each position fared during this season.
If we were just grading Keenan Reynolds play this season this grade will be an A. Reynolds showed remarkable poise at quarterback. After leading the Mids to a comeback win against Air Force coming off the bench he was named the starting quarterback. He led Navy to wins in six of their final seven regular season games. What was so remarkable about Reynolds season was, unlike other service academy option quarterbacks such as Army's Trent Steelman or Air Force's Shuan Carney who started as freshmen, is that Keenan was a direct admit plebe. While he ran an option based Wing-T type of attack in high school, his ability to absorb the system and execute the offense so efficiently after only summer reps was nothing short of remarkable. Reynolds was the first freshman to start at quarterback for Navy since Jim Kubiak back in 1991.
Reynolds appeared in all 13 games and started eight. He first demonstrated his running ability late in a blowout loss to Penn State when he ripped off a 30-yard run. He scored the game tying touchdown against Air Force to force overtime and the game winning touchdown against Army. On the season he ran for 649 rushing yards, averaged 4.0 yards per carry and scored ten touchdowns. Despite his inexperience he lost just four fumbles. Keenan is far from a finished product as an option quarterback and his reads should only improve with additional experience.
As a passer Reynolds completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 898 yards with nine touchdown passes while throwing just two picks all year. The Mids were effective throwing the ball after Reynolds was named the starting quarterback. Reynolds didn't throw often but showed the ability to fire the ball in tight coverage accurately. Despite the low number of passing attempts Navy ranked 45th in the nation in passing efficiency. His three touchdown passes against Central Michigan in a nationally televised start and his bomb to set up his game winning touchdown run against Army were some of his most memorable passing plays. For all the superlatives the most important was that Reynolds finished the year with a 6-2 record as a starter. He simply saved the season with his clutch play.
In many ways you have to feel a little sorry for junior Trey Miller. After seeing some playing time in 2011 backing up Kriss Proctor, he won the starting job this spring. He drew two tough opening starting assignments on the road against Notre Dame and Penn State when the Mids inexperienced offensive line struggled. The next game against overmatched VMI he ran for 116 yards and three scores while throwing for 107 passing yards. The next game Navy was shutout by San Jose State tough defense. The following week he played well against Air Force but absorbed a beating which aggravated previous injuries that forced him to leave the game. He then found himself Wally Pipped by the emergence of Reynolds and lost his starting job. Miller was criticized for his running the option but if you look at the tape the problems were often due to an unsettled offensive line early in the year that struggled against the more talent defensive lines of Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State. While Miller may have deserved a better fate he was his own worst enemy fumbling a team high 10 times while losing seven. Miller continues to demonstrate the ability to pass the ball accurately. Miller completed 35 of his 59 pass attempts (59.3%) for 399 yards with two touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Sophomore direct admit John Hendrick had an impressive spring practice to move up the depth chart. Hendrick is a good athlete with quick feet. He saw time late in the Penn State game. Hendrick completed two-of-three passes for 32 yards. He had a five yard run offset on the stat sheet when he was sacked.
2012 Navy Report Card: Quarterbacks
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