Off the Yard: Volume IV

The questions and comments came pouring into my "Off the Yard" e-mail inbox over the past week or two. It has gotten to a point where I am thinking about hiring a personal secretary to answer the messages. After Volume III, comments were up a whopping 100%! That's right, instead of the column producing the normal one token response, this time I generated two!!!

All of you out there who have made a bar chart or line graph on Microsoft Power Point can relate to how impressive the progression of comments received (1-1-2) over three weeks can look. Needless to say I'm in a whole new kind of 7th heaven! And if you add to my new found superstardom the fact that my wife and I welcomed our first son, William Michael into the world on Friday, June 8th, I'm at a loss of words to describe my current state of euphoria. However, I'll try…it's sort of like Navy/Air Force in 1996 when Omar Nelson ran for 51 yards to the Air Force 14 yard line to set up the game winning 25-yard field goal by Tom Vanderhorst with nine seconds left. I dare anyone to find another columnist who compares the thrill of becoming a parent to beating Air Force in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately when I told my wife that seeing our son, Will, for the first time was similar to that breakthrough victory for Navy she wasn't too impressed.

Another Day, Another Bowl Game Suggested in the Northeast

First it was Washington D.C. and now Baltimore has decided to get into the "Let's Host a Bowl Game" act. That pretty much only leaves Boston, New York and Philadelphia left as major Northeast markets that have yet to express interest in hosting Navy in a bowl game. I have calls into their city officials to see when we can expect them to announce that they are working on deals that could include having the Mids come there way in December. I can just see the press release now from the city of Philadelphia, "We would love to involve Navy in some type of bowl game scenario on years in which we may not be fortunate enough to host the Army/Navy game." Boston officials would declare their city has a long history with the U.S. Navy, and New York would probably suggest having the bowl game during Fleet Week. Yes, I know Fleet Week is in May, but if they get a retractable roof on that new NFL stadium being built in New Jersey, maybe they could move Fleet Week to December to accommodate the hottest bowl ticket outside of the BCS. It's nice to be wanted.

Lots of Worthy Candidates

No, I'm not talking about the 2008 Presidential election; I'm talking about the candidates to be captains of the 2007 Navy football team of course. One of the two questions I received was from Chris at Allstate (Insurance?) who wanted to know what the deal was on hearing about who had been selected as captains of the football team. His timing couldn't have been more perfect as I had just sent an email to the highest levels of the United States Navy asking them to unveil what seemed to have become a state secret. I'd have to think the voting, especially on offense, had to be pretty tight. Fullback Adam Ballard and center Antron Harper must have been serious contenders. I was a three-striper once…ah, the power it gave me, not to mention the expense to change those uniforms. Speaking of old uniforms, some of them are still in my garage. I won't tell you if they still fit. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, congrats to Reggie Campbell and Jeff Deliz on being named the captains.

San Francisco is my New Favorite City

Why you ask? Because Casey in San Francisco not only sent me a question, but a comment regarding why he believes West Point won't open its athletic department to the most successful columnist whose name rhymes with yellow in the history of Casey wrote:

Do West Point and Air Force have prep schools like NAPS that they use to help build up football talent. It seems like a lot of Navy's players are going through NAPS which seems to help.  It seems like the tour at NAPS for Navy players gets mentioned a lot in news articles and broadcasts but I don't hear the same mentioned as often regarding Air Force or West Point.  
Per your column I think West Point won't grant any interview access to you because of the frustration over losing 5 years in a row in Football.  If they win (which I doubt this year or next for sure) I bet they'd sweeten up.  

Well, Casey for your efforts you are going to receive a memento from the 1997 Army/Navy game. As for your question – yes, both Army and Air Force have prep schools. West Point's prep school is located in Monmouth, New Jersey whereas the Air Force's prep school is conveniently situated in Colorado Springs. As you probably know, Navy's prep school overlooks Narragansett Bay in Newport, Rhode Island. And Casey, if you get a chance, be sure to ask Coach Paul Johnson how much he would like to relocate NAPS to Annapolis. Maybe when I am appointed as the Secretary of the Navy, I'll make that happen for him. But as SECNAV, I will have to tell you that the primary mission of the prep school is not to "build up" football talent. 

As for your comment on why West Point won't play nice. I think you may be on to something there. I think when things go bad, regardless of where you are, there can be a tendency to circle the wagons per say. I, on the other hand, believe that when things get a little rough, that is when you really need to be aggressive in your messaging to the public. If wants to do a feature story on one of Army's athletes, who exactly doesn't benefit from that? 

Moreover, I linked this story to Army's prep school above. Now, what if my new good friend Casey in San Francisco tells his friend about the great deal West Point offers at their prep school. (Side note: Monmouth County may just be the best place to live in New Jersey – close to the Shore, NYC, everything.) And if Casey's friend turns out to be a star prep athlete…well, you get the idea. Sounds like a win-win situation to me…

That's all for this edition of "Off the Yard." After all, I have diapers to change and burps to administer. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Tuesday's USA Today. In the print edition, you will find a complete listing of the Division I-A football schedules with dates and television coverage information. Two things that stood out: 1) Navy's television exposure is off the charts. 2) Army is playing Akron at Cleveland Browns stadium in what may be the "first of a series of games (the Cleveland Sports Commission) will call the Patriot Bowl and feature a MAC school and one of the service academies in the season opener every year." 

If you have a comment for David, send him an email at If you are the first to do so after this column goes live you could win free stuff. Top Stories