NOSE GUARDStarter: Bernie Sarra Jr.
Back up: Patrick Forrestal Jr.
Third String: Cam Henson So.
Junior nose guard Bernie Sarra is a very productive run stopper. Last year he played in ten games and started the first nine until missing time with an injury. Sarra is very strong and can bench press well over 400 pounds. He is a wide body and has the ability to slide off a block and fill a gap. Bernie doesn't provide much as a pass rusher but he can cover the A-gaps to smother the inside running game. The 303-pound Sarra has worked hard to lose his baby fat and get quicker. He had his best in the bowl game against Middle Tennessee State with six tackles, mostly at defensive end, to help shut down their running game. Last year Bernie made 24 tackles despite missing four games with an injury. The run defense suffered when he was out. He may be the most important player on the defense since, as of right now, the drop from first string to second string seems huge.
With the graduation of last year's senior nose guards, Travis Bridges and Barry Dabney, coupled with the attrition losses the last few years of underclassmen like Dan Ring and others the center of the Navy's defensive line is no longer as deep has its been in the past. Into the void steps sophomore Patrick Forrestal (6-4, 305) who emerged as the backup this spring at nose guard. Forrestal was a direct admit last fall and played on the JV team. He is the son of an Annapolis graduate. He is a big physical direct admit wide body from Georgia. He offers decent quickness for a big player. Forrestal is active but as a recent direct admit he is still maturing and filling out physically as a player.
Cam Henson (6-3, 281) emerged as the third string nose guard this spring. He was a defensive lineman last year on the JV team. In 2012 he played defensive end at the Naval Academy Prep School. Henson started the first three NAPS games in 2012 before suffering a concussion that ended his season. He was an under the radar recruit but did a nice job in limited playing time he saw at NAPS. Henson is very aggressive, physical and tough. He did a real nice good of playing with leverage in taking on double team blocks. Henson has really benefited from Mike Brass's strength and conditioning program adding over thirty pounds since I-day. He has become a lot stronger yet leaner and quicker. Henson, like fellow sophomore nose guard Patrick Forrestal, has ability but is unproven.