Navy Sports Fan Forum Discusses 2008 Season

In a departure from my column, I have assembled a panel of Navy sports ‘experts' to discuss issues surrounding the 2008 Navy football season. The original idea for such an exchange came from Navy super-fan/blogger Mike James, who joins Washington Post writer and contributor, Christian Swezey, and message board moderator Mike Althouse (USNA86) in the discussion.

Should Paul Johnson be invited to the White House for the presentation of the Commander in Chief's Trophy?


MJ: No. It isn't bitterness or anything, he just isn't Navy's coach anymore.


86: No.  He isn't the coach of Navy any more.  If a player gets kicked out or transfers, they don't get invited.  I see the White House visit the same way for coaches.


CS: No. When he left Navy he left for good.


DA: I actually think Johnson should be invited if the team says so.  Since Johnson was at the helm for both the Air Force and Army victories, I would leave this decision up to the players.  I do believe that Johnson would decline though.


Can Navy find a way to get Ricky Dobbs on the field next season?


MJ: Should Navy find a way to get Ricky Dobbs on the field? Other than in blowouts? I don't think he'll change positions, because he needs to be getting as many reps at quarterback in practice as possible. That means he'd have to beat out Jarod Bryant for #2 quarterback, which is unlikely. If Bryant changes positions (which is just speculation), then maybe Dobbs will get on the field.

86: Sure they can find a way.  A better question is probably "will they?"  My answer to that is "if he earns it."  He's got two pretty good QB's in front of him already, but if he performs better than them during spring practice then he'll find his way onto the field.


CS: Yes. It's hard to ask someone that talented to sit on the bench for two years. If possible, maybe move Bryant to slotback to make Dobbs the No. 2 quarterback. It would be really nice to get some playing time for Dobbs. There is no one else in the program who looks promising at QB for 2009 and 2010.


DA: This situation seems very similar to the one two years ago when Kaipo was a sophomore and blew folks away in the spring game.  A lot of people wanted to get him on the field in any capacity.  However, in Navy's offense it helps to have two seasoned quarterbacks.  Having said that do you really want Dobbs first snap to come against Hawaii in 2009?  Could you imagine Dobbs at QB, Kaipo at WR and Bryant at SB if we are trailing late in a game?  No, I couldn't either, but it's fun to think about.


What are the chances in the next few months that Navy replaces Georgia Southern on its 2009 schedule?   And if they do, who should they look to play?


MJ: I don't know about the next few months, but there's a 100% chance that Georgia Southern comes off the schedule. The only reason they were on there in the first place was Paul Johnson, and he's gone. I don't really care who we replace them with as long as it's still a home game.


86: 100% chance they're off the schedule.  I would prefer to replace them with a 1-A team since Delaware is already on the schedule that year.  I'd like to play a Western Kentucky or Rice or another MAC school - someone from the "should win" category.


CS: I don't think getting Georgia Southern off the schedule is a big priority one way or the other. I'd like to play Georgetown just to smoke them for all the lacrosse trouble they give Navy but otherwise I'm not bothered.


DA: Navy is scheduled to play GSU the week before Notre Dame.  I wouldn't expect the new opponent, if there is indeed a switch, to be from a BCS conference.  With trips to SMU and Hawaii already on the plate, no way this becomes another away game.  So who would like to come to Navy?  How about Louisiana-Monroe?  That would be a ton of fun.


What spring game would you rather attend, Georgia Tech's, Navy's or Army's?


MJ: I don't see the appeal of any of these games other than Navy's.


86: Navy's.  Be serious.  I'm not anything more than a casual fan of the other two schools - one is a rival and the other is a thief.


CS: Navy, but I'm funny like that. Georgia Tech would be No. 2. Does Army even
have a spring game?

DA: For my money, I'd like to see the first half of the Georgia Tech spring game and the second half in
Annapolis.  The first half of the spring game at Navy will have few surprises.  Now - when Dobbs steps on the field, that's a different story.  As for Army, I wouldn't mind seeing their spring game as well (yes, they have one).  It will be the first time in almost a decade that they will be running an option-based offense.  It will probably be a little ugly in terms of execution, but it will definitely give West Point fans hope.


Who will play center and is that the most important position to fill?


MJ: My guess is that either Ryan Burke or Sander Gossard will start. I'd say it's the most important position to fill, or at least the one with the most questions. Irv & Reggie leave some pretty big shoes to fill, but we have a better idea of who's going to replace them.


86: Someone that isn't listed on the roster as a center most likely.  I'm not sure which of the linemen can move from their current position.  Since that position makes the O-line calls it probably is the most important position to fill.


CS: The signs that Harper would move to center from guard in 2007 were evident from pre-game warm-ups in 2006, when he practiced at center with the third team. This year, the center in pre-game warm-ups with the third team was Sander Gossard. Maybe there is a freshman or sophomore in the program we haven't heard about yet. That's one reason why I'm interested in the spring game. And yeah, it's a huge position to fill, especially for an option team. Nebraska's great option teams always had tremendous centers. No better way to establish the fullback than with a people-mover at center.


DA: At first glance, I was a bit concerned about our offensive line next year.  However, after studying the participation stats from the 2007 season, I found that there is ample experience coming back for 2008.  As for who will be the center…I have no clue.




Part Two of the discussion will focus on the opening game against Towson; predicting team captains; and potential on-field changes for the Mids.  Part Two will be for subscribers only.  To become a member, click here. Top Stories