Navy Preview: Offense

Adam Nettina of offers a preview of Navy's offensive personnel for Saturday's matchup with the Irish.

Note: The following was provided courtesy Adam Nettina of Nettina also writes for TheBirddog, and is the former Sports Editor of the Utah State student newspaper The Statesman .

Navy Offense

Through the first two weeks of the season it looked like it was going to be business as usual for the Navy offense, but over the course of the last five games the offense has struggled with turnovers and red zone production. Navy is coming off its worst game of the season in terms of third down conversion (3-11 against East Carolina) and will find itself without option signal caller Kriss Proctor against Notre Dame. A team effort will be in order to upend the Irish, and a mistake free game is a must.

Skill Positions

Quarterback #3 Trey Miller: Only a sophomore, it now appears Miller will start against the Irish in place of senior Kriss Proctor, who dislocated his elbow against East Carolina. Miller's first three series' against the Pirates went as poorly as can be imagined (one fumble lost, two three-and-outs) but he showed incredible resolve and moxy by nearly pulling a comeback. Miller's option mechanics and field vision are a concern, but his strong arm and determined running will gave Navy fans hope for years to come.

Fullback #39 Alexander Teich: The senior offensive captain had a relatively quiet day in Navy's 38-35 loss to East Carolina, running for just 41 yards. The performance marked the second straight game in which Teich ran for under four yards a pop, and has undercut what had been an extremely promising start to the season from the quick-footed yet hard running fullback. Notre Dame fans will no doubt remember Teich's athleticism from last year, but they may not be acquainted with his assertive personality and on-field fire. His 210 yard rushing day last year against the Irish set a series record, and with this year's bowl hopes now dim, Teich is the kind of player who's capable of putting the team on his back this weekend.

Slotback #21 Gee Gee Green: Perhaps the most electrifying Navy playmaker since Reggie Campbell, Green is coming off arguably his best game of the season (8 carries, 92 yards, 1 TD on the ground last against ECU). He's a seasoned veteran against Notre Dame, and while especially known for his sure hands and cutback ability in space, he has improved his blocking this year. With so much of Notre Dame's attention likely oriented on stopping Teich (who burned the Irish last year) I'm looking for Green to get involved in a big way on Saturday.

Slotback #33 John Howell: The junior may only stand 5-foot-8, but don't call him "Wes Welker." Howell has become Navy's homerun hitter through the first half of the season, still riding high from touchdown runs of 50 and 57 yards against Western Kentucky in week two. If he gets the edge he has the ability to blow up angles with ease, while his small size and quick release make him the idea target for offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper to send downfield.

Wide Receiver #85 Matt Aiken: If there's one offensive player who's looking to put last week behind him, it's Aiken, whose controversial non-touchdown catch on Navy's final drive will go down as one of the biggest head scratches in what was a questionable game of officiating. Usually sure-handed and possessing good speed, Aiken is the kind of player who does his job in the Navy offense, and has his best games still in front of him.

Wide Receiver #86 Brandon Turner: Ever since he stepped onto the Yard, the 6-foot-4 wideout has been compared to former Navy 'athletic freak" Tyree Barnes. While he may not match Barnes' sub 4.4 speed, Turner's proved himself able to get behind defenses in the past, and currently leads all Navy ball catchers with nine catches for 22 yards and three scores.

Key Reserves

It's important to remember that Navy's offense subs on a regular basis. With the exception of Teich, expect to see different jerseys trot on and off the field throughout the game.

Slotback #4 Bo Snelson: Typically regarded as Navy's best blocking slotback, Snelson embodies every "coach's son" cliché you can think of. That's not a bad thing -- he's more than willing to cut much larger and stronger players, and has proved himself in the passing game as well.

Fullback #37 Delvin Diggs: Diggs lacks the explosiveness or open field burst of Teich, but he's good to spell the Senior Captain for four or five carries a contest. He doesn't do anything eye-popping on the ground, but he's solid for four or five yards a carry, and effectively filled in for Teich by running for 93 yards and two touchdowns during Teich's one-game suspension.

Slotback #17 Michael Stukel: Three years ago the athletic Floridian was battling with Kriss Proctor for the rights to be the next in line of Navy options quarterbacks, but despite his promise as an all-around athlete, Proctor has never quite lived up to the hype he generated when coming out of Bishop Kenny high school. He's worked his way into the rotation this season at slotback, but still needs to show more consistency as a blocker if he wants to stay on the field.

Wide Receiver #82 Doug Furman: He's only registered one catch all year, but the tenacious blocker has been too valuable for Navy's coaches to keep on the sideline. He sticks to defensive opposing cornerbacks like glue, and does a great job of coming from the outside in to create lanes for Navy's slotbacks.

Offensive Line

Coming into the season, Navy fans had high hopes for the offensive line, which in terms of career starts put it amongst the most experienced of Navy offensive lines in the triple option era. Senior Brady DeMell leads a upperclassmen-heavy group at center, but the unit has been taken out of its element during the losing streak, often called on to provide pass protection in obvious passing downs and asked to confront small, athletic defensive lines. They've struggled on the interior in red zone situations in particular, and will be challenged to create gaps this weekend. Top Stories