One of the better college football preseason previews in the digital age comes from the guys at SB Nation. Their previews take an in-depth look at the roster comings and goings, projected performance and those unseen factors that will be a key to the Mids 2016 season.
The first thing the article does is debunk the myth that Navy joining a conference would be bad for the team. It might seem like ancient history now, but there was a point a year or so ago when the conference naysayers were vocal about the problems of a schedule upgrade and the fact that the Mids triple option attack would get found out if they were to play teams on a consistent (read yearly) basis. So far neither of these doomsday style predictions has held any weight.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is its take on Ivin Jasper, the Mids offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The writer points out that while there are few pure triple option programs left in the country, the ones that are out there (Navy, Georgia Tech, Air Force) always seem to outperform their recruiting rankings and talent pool. Basically, the takeaway here is that Navy has done well to hang on to Jasper for this long as there is any number of schools, with the exception of those competing for the national title on a yearly basis, the would be lucky to have a head coach with his talents.
Obviously, the focus here is going to be on replacing Keenan Reynolds, but the article does a good job at looking at the importance of the other components of the offense as well. Questions are, quite rightly, asked about the ability of the Navy offense to perform with all the players lost to graduation. Interestingly, though, it is proposed that the Mids might actually be a less efficient but more explosive team in 2016 given the players who do return.
Bend but don’t break has been the Navy mantra for so long now that the writer is “running out of things to say” about the Mids defensive scheme. One interesting take here, though, and one that seems to be playing out yearly with Ken Niumatalolo in charge is that the Navy defense does seem to be recruiting at an incrementally higher level. The standard of athlete has improved noticeable over the last decade, especially on the back end of the defense where the Mids are able to final players to come in and contribute right away.