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 Fordham 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 day for Ken Niumatalolo and company.
With all that being said here are the three keys for Navy to take down the Rams and start the season with a victory:
1) Pound away with the option
By now everyone knows that one of the greatest benefits of running the option is that the defense being faced has little to no time to prepare for the onslaught of decoys, angles and fakes they are about to face. There are two exceptions to this rule, though, opening day and the bowl game. Fordham has been able to work on stopping the option throughout fall camp, knowing that they will face Navy on Saturday.
This gives Fordham an advantage over most of the teams Navy will face. The Mids, however, cannot let any initial Fordham resistance drive them away from the game plan of pounding the ball inside and waiting for the edges to open up.
2) Safe play from Tago Smith
There are games where new Navy quarterback Tago Smith has to take over and take a risk or two for the Mids to win. This game against Fordham should not be like that and what the coaching staff will want to see from Smith is good decision making and an ability to take care of the ball on every down. Option quarterbacks are notorious for their fumble issues. It was something Keenan Reynolds had to deal with before his amazing final season as a Mid. If Smith has zero turnovers, zero highlight plays, and the Mids still win, then game one of his era will be deemed a success.
3) Stop Chase Edmonds
Fordham has one of the best players in the FCS in its backfield in running back Chase Edmonds. Edmonds is a Preseason FCS All-American and the junior can take over games and light up the scoreboard if he is not contained. A 170-pounder coming out of high school, Edmonds was seen as too light and too small to be a collegiate success. He has since added 38 pounds of muscle to his frame and has rushed for 43 touchdowns and over 3.400 yards in two seasons with the Rams. He is one of those guys that runs with a chip on his shoulder and runs every blast or draw play like it is the last he will ever take. Stopping Edmonds is the key to stopping the Fordham attack.