3 Navy players shuffled to new spots

September 27, 1990|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Correspondent

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 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? If we play the rest of the schedule like we did this past week, we won't have many victories."

Chaump said none of the players moving will start Saturday against Boston College (0-2) Saturday at noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

With Van Matre moving to tailback, the backup quarterback picture became clearer. Only senior Gary McIntosh and sophomore Brian Ellis remain in contention.

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."

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.

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