Spring Practice Finishes Early for the Mids

In a piece earlier this spring we noted how Ken Niumatalolo places much less emphasis on spring practice than coaches at some of the other schools around the country. It should maybe come as no surprise that earlier this week Niumatalolo confirmed how little faith he puts in the annual tradition by cancelling the last three practices of the spring and the pseudo spring game.

After starting center Blaze Ryder went down with a leg injury which will keep him out into the beginning of the season this fall Niumatalolo came to a unique decision. Most coaches would subscribe to the next man up theory, throwing in the backup center and getting on with practice as scheduled. Niumatalolo however is sick of seeing his players go down injured for the little reward he perceives the spring as offering. Thus he marched into a staff meeting and told his assistants that spring ball was over for 2015.

Niumatalolo had the following to say to coachingsearch.com about his decision.

“After our last practice on Friday, I thought we had a good day,” he said. “We’ve got three more days left. If we go out and do the same things, what are the benefits of it? For three more practices, what can you actually get out of something? I’m sure some younger guys it might help, but is that worth somebody getting hurt? I just thought the negatives far outweighed the positives. Even though there were some positives, I didn’t think it was worth the risk.”

Risk is a big deal for Niumatalolo. He saw how Navy struggled last year when Keenan Reynolds went down with an injury and he is full aware that the Mids are nowhere near as deep in terms of talent as some of the teams they will be facing this fall. If he thinks that the Midshipmen are at the level he wanted them to be at by the end of the spring already, then it makes sense to stop practicing so the players can focus on the myriad of other duties expected of a Navy football player.

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