Three Keys – Navy vs Colgate

Football is back! That means it is time once again for us to go behind the story lines and discover the keys to Navy’s success in each game this year. With a Saturday showdown against Colgate just hours away we will find three areas to watch which will help determine the outcome of the game. If these keys fall in the favor of the Mids then Navy will be looking good for victory.

If the keys are not successful however, then it is going to be a long night for Ken Niumatalolo and company.

With all that being said here are the three keys for Navy to take down the Raiders and start the season with a victory:

1) The play of the right side of the line

The left side of the Navy offensive line is a known quantity. With returning starters Joey Gaston (LT) and E.K. Binns (LG) holding down the roles, that edge will be blocked consistently in both the passing and the rushing games. The question is how the other side of the offensive line will hold up. The Mids have three new starters, Brandon Greene (C), Ben Tamburello (RG) and Blake Copeland (RT), who need to gel with each other quickly. The option game is only effective if the whole field can be used, so it will be worth watching the new guys to see how many missed blocks or missed assignments cost Navy yardage.

2) Tempo tempo tempo

The option has always been seen as something of a plodding offensive strategy. One where games are won and lost by controlling possession of the ball and thus eating up clock while running plays only as the play clock is close to expiring. If this spring is anything to go by however the Mids are looking to change that perception and bring the option into the 21st century. This isn’t going to be the blitz offense run by Oregon by any means, but if Niumatalolo has his way then there will be a notable uptick in the pace of Navy play this fall. Watch on Saturday to see how quickly plays are sent in and how often Navy goes tempo after a big gain.

3) Make Jake Melville one dimensional

Colgate has a true dual threat quarterback with Melville at the helm. The Raiders were 5-2 last year when he played and 0-5 when he was on the sidelines. In that limited action in 2014 he threw for over 1,000 yards and rushed for almost 500, suggesting he could be a 2,000/1,000 guy if he can stay healthy. The way to beat a team with a dual threat option at quarterback is to take one of those options away. The Navy defense needs to either take away the running lanes for Melville, or they need to sink in on defense and limit his passing opportunities. If they can make the Raiders offense one dimensional then the Mids will win.

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