ANNAPOLIS -- Navy coach George Chaump isn't satisfied with his team's play despite its 2-1 record, so instead of waiting for improvement, he made some changes.
Plebe quarterback Jason Van Matre will switch to tailback, junior tailback Rodney Purifoy will move to cornerback and senior tailback Jason Pace will become a fullback. Pace ran 17 times for 102 yards and one touchdown and caught five passes for 31 yards Saturday in a 23-21 victory over Villanova.
Navy took a couple of small steps forward early this season by beating two Division I-AA teams -- Richmond and Villanova -- it was supposed to beat.
But Chaump said yesterday: "We didn't exactly blow either team away, did we? We have played two teams that are not as good as the others on our schedule, and we didn't put either one of them away. If we play the rest of the schedule like we did this past week, we won't have many victories. We have to improve fast."
Chaump said none of the players moving will start Saturday against Boston College (0-2) Saturday at noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. "We're trying to do the best we can to put people where we can get the most help from them," he said. "We'll try it and see what happens."
Chaump said the changes aren't coming at a good time on the Naval Academy academic calendar (exam week), but added, "No week is a good week at the academy to play football. There are always a lot of academic pressures. But that's why these kids are here. They're special, and they have to deal with it and go on."
With Van Matre moving to tailback, the backup quarterback picture became clearer. Only senior Gary McIntosh and sophomore Brian Ellis remain in contention for the No. 2 spot.
Chaump said yesterday that he was returning McIntosh to the No. 2 quarterback spot he occupied before quitting the team two days before the season opener against Richmond.
"Gary McIntosh is as much a part of the team as anybody else," said Chaump. "I'm not vindictive. Gary will play the position [backup]. Ellis is taking more snaps in practice now than he was. But McIntosh has more experience. I expect him to deliver when I call on him."
The move of Purifoy, 5 feet 7, 186 pounds, to defense after more than two years on offense wasn't easy for Purifoy to accept.
But Chaump said: "He [Purifoy] reacted like a good midshipman should. I told him to try it and that I might also utilize him at tailback at some time."
Purifoy had started all three games this season at tailback and was the team's third-leading rusher (28 carries for 92 yards).
Chaump said the switch of Purifoy was prompted partly because sophomore tailback Ivan Bullard appears ready to play his first down for Navy.
Bullard, who has missed one season and three games with an assortment of injuries, was scheduled to play against Villanova. But the game was so close that Chaump decided not to throw Bullard into action.
"You worry about a guy who hasn't played for so long in a game being hit by somebody and separated from the ball," said Chaump. "I can't predict how a game is going to go. Obviously, I didn't want the game to be that close."