O'Boyle Battling to Get on the Bus

I had an idea a few weeks ago to try and highlight some of the lesser known members of the Navy football team – the guys who are doing everything they can to just make the traveling squad. The first player I had the pleasure to interview was slot back John O'Boyle. There is a traffic jam ahead of the sophomore on the depth chart, but that isn't stopping him from working as hard as he can.

If you ask Navy slot back John O'Boyle where he stands on the depth chart he sums it up pretty succinctly in one sentence.


"Right now I'm at the bottom."


That wouldn't be such an unfortunate place to be if O'Boyle was competing for a spot as the punter or perhaps along the offensive line where Navy can never have too much depth. However, the Charlotte native is a slot back and the Mids have as many slot backs as the NCAA has watch lists.


"We probably have nine (slot backs) that are competing for traveling spots right now…including two freshmen from NAPS who are learning (the offense) really quick," said O'Boyle.


There is good news for O'Boyle because of the 17 slot backs on the Navy roster only four of them are either a junior or senior. Including himself there are 13 slot backs who are sophomores and freshmen. But even though time may be on his side, the former four-sport standout at Charlotte Catholic High School is doing everything he can to impress the Navy coaching staff. And according to O'Boyle, one of the best ways to do that is in the off-season.


"This summer I took an extra class because I knew I would be fighting and clawing and doing everything I could (this fall) to get a spot on the team. I also wanted to stay at school to make more workouts. My goal was to make more workouts than I had to and that's what I did."


O'Boyle was on the scout team last season and the primary role of that squad is to learn the opponent's offense to help his teammates prepare for the next game. Unfortunately, that means that the sophomore still has to learn Navy's offense. In the meantime, he is also competing for openings on special teams.


"Right now I am working on the punt return team with Coach O'Rourke and a little bit on kick-offs," said O'Boyle. "My ultimate goal is to help the team win games…whatever we can do to win games. But honestly I want to be on the squad so bad. I want to be on the bus."


In addition to taking a class this past summer, O'Boyle, who plans on majoring in Economics, had an opportunity to spend some time at sea aboard the guided-missile destroyer Gonzalez (DDG-66).


"It was alright. I stood a ton of watch. I stood watch with an enlisted Sailor in the engineering department all the time. We'd stand six hours of watch, go eat, and go stand another six hours of watch."


"(The experience) was pretty cool, but I think I know now that I don't want to be on a ship (after I graduate). I want to fly – I think it would be a lot of fun," said O'Boyle.


Speaking of fun, one place where the slot back had a good time this past school year was in the last place he would have suspected – in the classroom of none other than Naval Academy professor Bruce Fleming. O'Boyle had heard about some of Fleming's controversial positions regarding the football team, and he also heard that the professor's English class was no joy ride.


"At first, I was like, ‘dang, I got this guy?' I had heard stories about him (being a tough professor) and at first I thought (the class) would be tough. And at first, it was, but I didn't work as hard as I could of," admitted O'Boyle. "(Fleming) is a tough professor. But I enjoyed having him. I never worked so hard. I mean I got a "C" but I worked my butt off for it. He helped me a lot. I feel like I am a better writer because of him."


O'Boyle continued, "I saw all of the stuff that (Fleming) said and I don't agree with all of the views that he has, but I enjoyed having him as a teacher. He finds ways to make you excited for class, and that is the hardest part (here)."


It will also be hard for the sophomore to get off the scout team this season however he plans on applying the same work ethic he uses in the classroom on the football field.


"It's tough because (the scout team) is not the ideal place to be, but you just have to suck it up and realize that it's not about you. It's about the team. Heck, this whole place isn't about you. But maybe if I do well on the scout team, I will be able to get (on the field) so I might as well work my butt off."




If you have a player in mind for David Ausiello to interview, send him an email.


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