Off the Yard: Scrimmage, Media Diary Part II
...as well as some observations from last Saturday's scrimmage.
I got to the scrimmage late so I missed Kaipo running the offense. However, I didn't miss freshman quarterback Ricky Dobbs. He had some serious poise, presence and quickness. And how about that name? Ricky Dobbs - talk about a great football name. I also caught a few glimpses of fellow freshman, slot back Andre Byrd. Unfortunately, I probably caught more of him than the Navy defense was able to.
Standing on the sideline, I was able to hear a lot of chatter by Navy players. Here is some of what I heard:
- On a few of Byrd's runs, I heard a lot of players saying, "Where's Reggie ( Campbell )…did he just see that?"
- After Nate Frazier tried to exert some leadership by telling a few other players what they should do, a Navy defensive coach scolded him from the sideline - telling the sophomore to do his job and he wouldn't have to worry about other players. Frazier forced a fumble a few plays later.
- I also heard two players comment on how back-up fullback Eric Kettani "punishes" defenders.
- There were also several players introducing themselves to other players. I am thinking seasoned Mids were meeting some plebes for the first time.
Media Day Diary Part II
As promised, here is Part II of my second-by-second recap of Navy football's media day.
3:05 p.m.: Now that the media portion of the event is over, I decide to venture out to the field to soak up some of the Fan Fest action.
3:05.30 p.m.: I quickly realize that it's really hot; I remember I have little hair; and I should have brought my ‘Cool as a Moose' hat for coverage up there.
3:06 p.m.: I notice fullback Adam Ballard is a few steps ahead of me, making his way to the field. As soon as he gets there, he is swarmed by fans – including several teenage girls.
3:06.15 p.m.: I wonder what reception I will get as I step onto the playing field. Autograph seekers? That would be cool. I'd settle, however, for a rep from that Chick- fil-A tent in the distance to offer me one of their classic Cookies & Crème milkshakes.
3:07 p.m.: I reach the field and the first person to come to me is a special needs adult who thinks I am part of the coaching staff.
3:07.30 p.m.: Another special needs gentleman tells me that he hopes Navy goes 6-0, pauses, and then says Rutgers is "going to kill you." At that point it hits me how great Navy football is because it reaches so many people of all different backgrounds. These guys, with obvious handicaps, were waiting in line for an autograph and talking football. They were having a blast! I no longer cared that my scalp looked like a red pepper.
3:09 p.m.: A young man, who I guess is about 15-years-old, notices my GoMids.com shirt and he says that he reads my column, "Off the something…" Well, I think, it's a start. Turns out, his name is Adam and he writes his own Navy football blog. It also turns out he is in college. I obviously need to work on my age recognition skills.
3:11 p.m.: After making my way past the immediate throng of fans, I notice a sea of blue and gold jerseys mingling around Jack Stephens Field. Some players (Kaipo) are obliging hordes of autograph seekers, while others (insert any lineman's name here) were, um, less busy.
3:12 p.m.: I think I overhear a 7-year-old girl propose to Kaipo – in Hawaiian.
3:13 p.m.: Breaking News! Coach Paul Johnson can smile when he is not posing for an official portrait. I swear I saw him crack one while signing a football.
3:16 p.m.: I see Nate Frazier for the first time since spring practice. I realize I'm not doing anything to quell the hype here, but I think he put on some more muscle. That reminded me to find his classmate, Andy Lark. The only problem is, I don't know his number. My first dilemma of the afternoon: look for Lark or make my way to the Chick- fil-A tent.
3:18 p.m.: I arrive at the Chick-fil-A tent and much to my disappointment there are no milkshakes. I can, however, spin a wheel and win a free chicken sandwich. As I spin the wheel I notice some young kids show up to take a turn, but they have to wait because a thirty-something year-old, mostly bald guy is ahead of them. Do I feel ashamed? Of course not, it's free stuff – they can wait.
3:20 p.m.: There is still a line for Kaipo's autograph…but Coach Johnson has no fans around him. Could Kaipo be more popular? Never!
3:24 p.m.: I run into CSTV play-by-play guru Pete Medhurst. I had never met Pete before in person. My first impression is how professional he is and moreover how knowledgeable he is about college football. I am a bit in awe.
3:35 p.m.: My discussion with Pete becomes a traveling one as we make our way to the WNAV broadcast tent where I notice a few people just standing there waiting for something.
3:37 p.m.: BREAKING NEWS! Turns out those people aren't waiting for something; they are waiting for someone – for me! They are Mr. and Mrs. Gabbard – the parents of senior offensive lineman Ben Gabbard and they want to let me know that they enjoyed reading my article about Ben's off-season.
3:40 p.m.: Another family comes up to me – this time it is the GIBSON87 family. GIBSON87 is his message board call sign of course. Turns out this guy is even more
committed to Navy football than me. He has been banished
from the Air Force board, but keeps trying to get on it using other people's
3:42 p.m.: Much to my surprise, Pete Medhurst asks me to share some air time with him on WNAV radio. Without hesitation I say "yes," because when it comes to microphones, I usually don't shy away.
3:43 p.m.: I love Pete Medhurst's voice.
3:44 p.m.: Pete asks me about Air Force and Army.
3:44.30 p.m.: I give Pete an answer that pretty much takes care of the entire segment. I need to work on my two-minute sound-bytes I think to myself.
3:55 p.m.: I run into former Navy fullback and WNAV play-by-play man, Omar Nelson. We talk about doing some GoMids.com collaborating with Pete in the future. That should be fun I think.
4:00 p.m.: Media Day Ends
4:01 p.m.: Kaipo is still signing autographs.
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