Navy Spring Football Round-Up

It took almost the entire spring game for ‘it' to happen, but when ‘it' did; well, ‘it' was very nice. The ‘it' that I am referring to is the Ricky Dobbs Show. With starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada not participating and due to the familiarity fans have with back-up Jarod Bryant, most of the anticipation for the annual Blue-Gold game was focused on the rising sophomore.

The Ricky Dobbs Show


It took awhile for Dobbs to get into gear, fumbling the ball on his first series and failing to gain any yards on his second.  However with less than seven minutes to play, Dobbs gave fans a glimpse of what they were waiting for.  On a play designed to go to the left, Dobbs managed to escape a headlock put on him by a Navy defender as he raced around the right end.  Once in space, Dobbs made at least one other player miss as he showed a burst of speed to advance the ball 32 yards down the field.  It was easily the highlight of the evening for the 3,000 fans in attendance on the balmy 75-degree night.  After the game, in recalling the scamper, Dobbs uttered a phrase that could very well define the type of player he could become.


"I was just trying to make a play – trying to make something out of nothing," said Dobbs.  "The play broke down, but we had to just keep going."


And while all indications are that the Douglasville, Georgia native will see a lot of time on the sideline this year, there is the potential with Bryant being a possible starter at slot back, for Dobbs to be one play away from the field.  But does he think he's ready for that possibility?


"Yes – I'm ready for that. Yes," he said.


Some fans have gone as far as to label Dobbs as the future of Navy football.  It seems as though the youngster does not mind the hype.


"Yes, I'm comfortable with [the label] and I'm ready to take on the role.  Kaipo and Jarod are both doing their part in getting me prepared.  I'm ready to take it forward," said Dobbs. 


"With Kaipo – he's going to help me with his long distance speed and Jarod is going to help me with the quickness.  And then [I'll] try to learn from each of them and from the mistakes they make as well." 


Happy Paul Johnson is Gone?


Guess which member of the Navy staff told me earlier this spring that he was "excited about [Coach Paul Johnson] being gone?"  If you guessed Ashley Ingram, the Mids' new offensive line coach, pat yourself on the back because you are correct.  Now before you run to the message boards to heckle the first-year assistant, allow me to give you some context for the exchange.


I started a question by asking the coach if "With Coach Johnson gone, are you excited…" and before I could finish my question and without hesitation, Ingram answered – "Yeah I'm excited, because if he wouldn't have left, I wouldn't be here. Yeah, I'm excited he's gone," he laughed.


I then continued with my original question in regards to whether or not, with Johnson gone, the staff is excited about continuing to build on the momentum the former coach helped to create.


"There's no doubt that [Johnson] did a great job here but I think they've got the right guy for the job here.  Coach Niumatalolo has coached every position in this offense and obviously he learned from the best," said Ingram.   "He's not Coach Johnson – he's his own man.  I think he's done a great job of keeping Ivin Jasper here to run the offense, and done a great job of keeping Buddy Green.  Is there pressure to win?  Sure there is but I don't think there is any added pressure…there's no pressure from outside that we don't already put on ourselves."


With plebe summer approaching for the latest batch of recruits, Ingram said that he is well prepared when it comes to the number one question he will have for his offensive line: Are you getting enough to eat?


"I'm sure [the question] will come up," said Ingram.


"Let's hope they come here in pretty good shape," he continued.  "They are no different than any other midshipmen that come here.  It's required of them.  We fully expect them to hold their end of their obligation and when we get them back, we'll bulk them back up.  It's part of the reality here."


Cart Gate


During the media luncheon press conference in March, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said that there would be very few differences on the field from what his predecessor did while at the helm of the team.  The new head coach did say, though, that one change would be that players probably wouldn't see him sitting in a cart during practices.


A few weeks ago, I had a chance to ask Paul Johnson about Niumatalolo's comment regarding the all-terrain golf vehicle and he responded with a chuckle, "It was Kenny's idea in the first place to get the cart." Tailgate Party


The final tally is not in yet, but it looks as though's first fundraising venture is going to be a major success.  As frequent readers of this column know, threw its first-ever tailgate party prior to Saturday's spring game.  All of the proceeds are going to benefit a trust fund established for Fallyn Zembiec – to honor the memory of her late father, Marine Corps Maj. Doug Zembiec (USNA '95).  We had a great turnout – over 70 tickets sold – and the reviews from the party have been equally impressive.  When all the donations are accounted for, will release the numbers.  But in the meantime, let me personally thank everyone who contributed to what hopefully will be a new tradition for the community. 


If you have a comment for David, send him an email. Top Stories