Sophomore tailback Ivan Bullard has not played a down for the Navy football team, but he has been compared to Napoleon McCallum.
Coach George Chaump has said that Bullard, 6 feet 1, 215 pounds, "looks a little like" McCallum, the former Navy All-America running back who is now with the Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League.
Chaump said he was talking merely about Bullard's physical build and not about anything that he might accomplish on the football field.
But other people close to Navy football also have said that Bullard reminds them of McCallum, who accumulated 4,179 yards from 1981 to 1985 to become the academy's all-time leading rusher.
Few people know much about Bullard's ability because a serious knee injury prevented him from playing as a freshman. He has missed the first two games this season because of a pulled stomach muscle and a hamstring pull.
Today at 1:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Bullard is scheduled to run the football for the first time for the Midshipmen (1-1), when they take on Division I-AA Villanova (1-1).
"Ivan made it through his first week of practice without getting hurt," Chaump said yesterday. "And he's going to play. He won't start, but he'll be in the game some time."
In other games involving state teams, Towson State (0-2) travels to Dover, Del., for a game against Delaware State (1-1); Morgan State (0-3) is in Greensboro to play North Carolina A&T (3-0); Virginia State (2-1) visits Bowie State (1-1); Western Maryland (1-1) is at Ursinus (1-1) in Collegeville, Pa.; and Salisbury State (0-2) and Frostburg State (2-0) meet at Frostburg's Bobcat Stadium.
For Navy, the debut of Bullard and the first start of the season for offensive left tackle Michael Davis are signs that the injury situation is improving.
Davis, 6 feet 3, 279 pounds, is the biggest offensive lineman the Midshipmen have, but he suffered a broken foot four weeks ago and missed the season opener against Richmond.
Davis played sparingly last week against Virginia and is set to start today.
"The sad thing is that Michael has missed all this practice time," said Chaump, who moved Davis from guard to tackle this week because of a severe shortage of tackles. "He needs to improve his pass blocking but hasn't been able to work on it because of the injury. I think the foot's OK now."
Chaump said he doesn't expect much out of Davis and Bullard today.
"They're both ready to play, but they're rusty," Chaump said. "It's the first time that I know of that Davis has played tackle. And maybe we better let Ivan do some things before we make any more comparisons to McCallum."