DuPaix: Navy football is on the map

In Part II of the interview with Navy's new slot back coach, Joe DuPaix discusses the differences between Cal Poly's offense and the Mids; the reputation of Navy football on the West Coast; the challenges of recruiting; and whether or not he thinks he can make the Navy offense even better.

The Annapolis move is presenting DuPaix with a couple of firsts.  It will be his first time living on the East Coast and it will be the first time he has coached slot backs.


"I've coached quarterbacks my whole career but having the opportunity to coach the A-backs, I am fired up for it."


DuPaix said that Cal Poly runs pretty much the same offensive system as Navy with a few minor differences.


"What we did at Cal Poly was multiple versions of what we do here with the triple option.  We played with a few more things based on personnel…blocking schemes might have been a bit different," said DuPaix.  "We played a little bit with the shotgun.  We threw the ball more at Cal Poly than we do here…traditionally speaking.  Apart from that it's a lot of the same stuff."


And while Navy competes at a level above his former team, DuPaix says the players at both schools are similar.


"The overall level of athlete is not very different…we were very athletic at Cal Poly.  We have some really good players [at Navy].  It's like comparing apples and oranges a little bit, but it would be safe to say that the depth is better here than at Cal Poly." 


DuPaix, having coached in Utah and California for most of his career, noted that the reputation of the Midshipmen football program away from the East Coast is pretty impressive.  He even has a unique way to measure its popularity.


"[My wife] Monica told her friends that we were moving to Annapolis, Maryland and that her husband was going to coach at Navy.  They knew what Navy football was and for all of the wives to know…that's a little different," said DuPaix.  "Navy football is on the map.  There is a tremendous amount of pride that rides along with the program.  People know what Navy football is and what they represent.  It's pretty exciting to be here [now] and to experience it firsthand."


DuPaix has been at the Academy for several months now and to him the one thing that has stood out is the type of the student-athletes that come to play football at Navy.


"The young men are incredible people.  They are college kids that have a vision that is bigger than just ‘me'.  They can see the bigger picture.  They can see down the road.  And to be around people like that on a daily basis is kind of fun."


DuPaix, who describes himself as a "laid back kind of a guy," said that he will be able to motivate his players "with punctuation" as needed.


"I like to think of myself as a guy who is going to be more of a teacher, and be able to help the players understand why they are doing what they are doing.  So through their knowledge they are motivated to do it right.  That's more of what I try to focus on."


"Sure, football is an emotional game and I'll get after them – don't get me wrong.  But I'm more of the person who will try to motivate and try to build the person up from within…and ride them on a daily basis to look for that improvement," continued DuPaix.


One dimension of the job DuPaix acknowledges he has some catching up to do is with recruiting.


"I have Northern Texas.  I'd like to think that I had some impact on recruiting [this year] but to be honest, it was a brand new area to me.  I also have Oklahoma, Arkansas and Utah," said DuPaix.  "It's a good thing that we have GPS systems in cars now - helping to get me from high school to high school, but it will be good to get out this spring so I can have more of an impact next year."


"I think recruiting to Navy is an honor to go out and look for the young men that are going to play football for us…men who will receive great educations and continue on to serve our country."


DuPaix said the biggest rivalry he has been personally involved with prior to now was the Cal Poly-UC Davis game.  And when asked how he thinks that will compare to a certain showdown in December, he replied: "Not even close."


"I've watched the Army-Navy game ever year [on television] with my dad since I was three years old.  I understand the magnitude of the game.  It is the game."


What Navy fans really want to know though about the team's new slot back coach is can he somehow make a near-perfect offensive machine better?


"I think the whole staff thinks that.  That's why you coach," remarked DuPaix.


"The [staff] understands that [the new coaches] know football.  But knowing football and being on the same page are two different things.  I think Coach Jasper has done a phenomenal job with that part of it."


"The bar is pretty high right now.  There has been a lot of great success with the Navy offense and the program over the past five years and it's time to keep that going.  The arrow is up and we need to keep it up."




REMINDER: There are two fundraisers currently taking place to honor the life and sacrifices of two Naval Academy graduates killed in the line of duty.  The first is the GoMids.com tailgate party, raising funds for Doug Zembiec's daughter Fallyn; and the second is a scholarship fund established for the late Navy Seal, Erik Kristensen. 


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