It starts up front for Navy

Navy football followers have been disappointed by the offense's lack of production over the last few games. The Mids looked like they were on target for a special season after they scored 92 points the first two games. Those hopes took a hit when the offense scored just a single touchdown against both Western Kentucky and last week against Duke.

Navy football followers have been disappointed by the offense's lack of production over the last few games. The Mids looked like they were on target for a special season after they scored 92 points the first two games. Those hopes took a hit when the offense scored just a single touchdown against both Western Kentucky and last week against Duke. Some have pointed fingers at quarterback Keenan Reynolds not playing at the same level since being knocked out of the game by WKU. Others have pointed to quotes from head coach Ken Niuamatalolo that the team lacks focus. In reviewing the games the main issue to me lies up front with the offensive line.

The Mids lost Thomas Stone against Western Kentucky when he went down with a season ending knee injury. Later in the same game Graham Vickers career was ended by a blatant late cheap shot by Western Kentucky which infuriated the Navy sidelines. The concussion ended Vickers career. Due to the injuries sophomore Brandon Greene has moved into the starting lineup at right tackle and E.K. Binns at left guard. An option offensive line needs to be a cohesive unit since the blocking schemes will vary depending on the number of defenders in the defensive count. All the players in the offense need to be on the same page and reading the defense correctly. It not surprising that an offense line breaking in two new sophomore starters has been at times out of synch. It hasn't been a total meltdown but there have been too many penalties and missed blocks which cause third and long passing situations. Pass protection has been an offensive line issue for years for years. Navy is currently ranked 122th for having the worst percentage of sacks allowed.

Brandon Greene has struggled in pass protection. Keenan Reynolds was sacked twice against Duke and if he didn't do his best Roger the Dodger impersonation he should have been sacked at least three more times as his pass protection consistently broke down. Reynolds is a talented passer but the Navy offensive line has to give him some time. A perfect illustration was against Duke. With 22 seconds left in the first half Reynolds was sacked and lost the fumble. Navy was running a slow developing rub crossing route that had just turned Brandon Dudeck open. The problem with the play was left tackle Bradlyn Heap totally fanned on his cut block which was to create a passing lane. Instead Duke defensive end Kenny Anunike blew up the play.

Ken Niumatalolo has done a terrific job recruiting the last few years. One of the few weaknesses in recruiting has been the attrition of the offensive linemen the last two years. The last two springs the backup offensive linemen haven't been that impressive and the Mids seem to lack a lot of depth. The good news is Brandon Greene and E.K. Binns are both good athletes and should improve with experience. This is not the first time Navy has suffered a season ending injury to an offensive lineman. A few years ago tackle Matt Malloy suffered a season ending concussion. The Mids initially looked out of synch before finding their groove after a few games. It's up to the players and offensive line coach Ashley Ingram to figure it out and get back on track.

GoMids.com Top Stories