I knew my time at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on Saturday was limited because I brought son Will, 2, with me for the first time while on a GoMids.com assignment. I really had no expectation as to how much of the scrimmage I was going to be able to actually pay close attention to, but as it turned out I was pleasantly surprised.
Proof that I am raising my son in the correct mold was evident early as he was fascinated with the inner workings of Navy's triple option offense. For at least two minutes, he stared at the field in dead silence, soaking up the atmosphere along with about 200 or so other fans in attendance. Of course football alone wasn't enough to keep his attention, but I caught a break as an airplane streaked above the clear sky.
"Daddy, airplane," exclaimed, Will.
It was the first of several airplanes that got his attention, which allowed me to feverishly type player's numbers into my blackberry during the scrimmage for further dissecting at a later date. And the one number that really caught my attention was 17.
It took about 20 minutes of mainly sloppy play by Navy's offense, which seemed to be running very basic plays, before someone broke loose for a big gainer. That someone was rising junior Mike Stukel. I am almost 60 percent sure (remember I had some other distractions) that Stukel's biggest run came on some type of counter play usually reserved for fullbacks. I know this because I quickly typed: 17, fb (for fullback), and big run in quick succession for future reference. Stukel hit the whole fast and showed, as best as I could tell, the best burst of speed for the entire day. He followed that run up a few plays later with another significant gallop. He finished the day with five carries for 54 yards, most likely firmly placing himself at the top of a crowded depth chart at slot back.
Other Scrimmage Notes:
- I noticed that Stukel was trying his hand at kick-off returns. He was third in line after Alexander Teich and Gee Gee Greene gave it a go. I do not remember if any of the runs produced any sizeable returns, which means they probably didn't.
- Navy's offense was called for a chop block by the referees, who did not get an earful from head coach Ken Niumatalolo as a result. I guess it was just weird for me to hear the words "chop block" to come from a referee, and then no loud objections by coaches or fans alike.
- Third-string quarterback Tyler Lynch had to depart the game momentarily because of a cut on his knee. I thought this was interesting for two reasons. First, quarterbacks were in green jerseys, which meant they were not to be tackled, yet there was Lynch hobbling a bit off the field for treatment. I think it was possible that he tripped and just scratched his knee of the turf. The other reason it was interesting was because when he went out momentarily, fourth stringer Travis Keating was nowhere to be found to replace him. He was about 50 yards away from the play which elicited a shout of, "What the heck are you doing all the way down there?" from one of the coaches. It was pretty funny…to me…and not to Keating I presume.
- It is probably too early to tell if this will be any indication of who is the vocal leader of the defense, but on more than one occasion, I heard inside linebacker Caleb King talking it up pretty good to his teammates. With Tyler Simmons out for the spring, King, who had eight tackles, seems ready to assume a leadership role in his temporary absence at middle linebacker.
- The ball was on the ground a lot. The inexperience at quarterback definitely had something to do with that.
- Second string quarterback Kriss Proctor looked very Jarod Bryantesque in the open field.
- Starting quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who is coming off knee surgery, was simulating every part of the game, up until the snap. He was in every huddle and every ensuing discussion after each play by the first team offense. I thought he was going to try and sneak in a snap or two, but he didn't.
- Navy's defensive line seemed to dominate Navy's offensive line for most of the scrimmage…especially the second and third teams.
Who Played With What Team (Lists are not complete and there was also a lot of rotating going on.)
First Team Offense: Proctor,
First Team Defense: Middleton, Hauburger, Mitchell, Blue, Yarborough, Burge, Wright, Porlas, Marks, Jones, Bush, and King.
Second Team Offense: Lynch, Dryden, Teich, Beaty, Andrews, Sumrall, Stukel, Basford, Dowd, Pescaia, Archibald, Snelson, and Gazaille.
Second Team Defense: James, Mills, Doogan,
Third Team Offense: Keating, McCarthy, Spada, Boddiford, Christian, Eckel, Hess, Fischer, Gazaille, and Sumrall.
Third Team Defense: Richardson, Stein, Stellato, Sperry, Lydick, Hozey, Bush, Moore, Johnson, and Junga.