Three Keys Navy vs VMI

The 2-4 Mids take on another military squad on Saturday as they square off against the Keydets of VMI. With a loss in the race for the Commander-in Chief’s Trophy and a season that is quickly unraveling at seams, this visit of an FCS squad that just got blown out 55-7 at Chattanooga might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Mids need a reset on this season in a big way and a huge win here would be a massive boost to the team’s confidence and morale. Here is a look at the three keys which will make that so.

1) Don’t play Keenan Reynolds

It may seem like backward advice to say that a key to this game is to not play the guy who had some Heisman buzz early in the season, but in the grand scheme of things it makes perfect sense. Reynolds has been a shell of the player he was in 2013 so far this fall and a huge part of the reason for that is the niggling injuries he has picked up along the way.

After leaving the Air Force game with 24 seconds to play Reynolds now has a shoulder problem to add to the knee and ankle issues he picked up earlier in the year. The knee has clearly been the main problem as Reynolds is simply not able to cut, plant, and throw as we came accustomed to seeing him do last season. By running back up Tago Smith in a game the Mids should be able to comfortably win, Reynolds will be able to heal up and hopefully get close to being the player that the Mids expected him to be for the stretch run. Officially Reynolds status is up in the air. Personally I think it would be for the benefit of all involved to keep him out of the game and see what Smith can do.

2) Commit zero turnovers

If we are being honest the Mids could probably turn over the ball a time or two in this game and still have enough to beat VMI by some distance. This again is more of a key which will set the Mids right for the rest of the year and which will hopefully result in a shot of confidence for the squad.

Navy has been uncharacteristically awful at holding on to the ball in 2014, something which came to a head last weekend when the Mids lost the turnover battle 2-0 to the Falcons. If Navy doesn’t commit those two turnovers, and specifically the interception in the end zone, then the outcome of that game is different and this week has been spent in a much more positive manner. As it is though these turnovers simply need to stop and this weekend is the perfect time for that to happen against a team which will be over matched in every area of the game.

3) Bedding in a new kicker

After another missed field goal left him 3-8 on the season, Ken Niumatalolo made the decision to replace kicker Nick Sloan and held a tryout for the position. The tryout was won by junior Austin Grebe who will now be the man to handle field goal and extra point duties for the Mids. In practice on Wednesday, Grebe was 7-for-8 on field goal attempts which include a booming 45 yarder which was good with room to spare. Kicking a game of course is very different from the friendly confines of the practice field, but Grebe should be able to bed himself in with a game against the Keydets which shouldn’t come down to his ability to make a clinching field goal. What the Mids would like to see is a kick or two for Grebe to get used to kicking on game day.

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