The first of the two new opponents to appear on a Navy football schedule will be met at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
The Akron Zips, under Coach Gerry Faust, will bring their 3-2-1 record to town for the one and only meeting with the Midshipmen in the foreseeable future.
The ambitious Faust also has scheduled games at Florida, Rutgers and the dangerous Louisiana Tech (loser to Auburn by only 16-14 last week) following the Annapolis visit.
Before being deposed at Notre Dame, Faust had a 5-0 record against Navy during the 1981-1985 seasons. Those Irish-Navy games, incidentally, were reasonably competitive games for that series, the 1984 game being an 18-17 nail-biter. Only in 1981 was Navy wiped out by the Irish, 38-0.
The Faust coaching influence and strategies on the football fortune of the Zips are not entirely new to Navy coach George Chaump and his staff.
Old films are kept for many years and can make interesting viewing to add to the 1990 scout report.
It is ironic that in the year that the Mids have lightened their schedule, at least on paper, they will have met what eventually could turn out to be the two top teams in the nation in Notre Dame and Virginia.
In addition, the new teams on the schedule are no patsies. Toledo is undefeated (5-0), scoring 135 points while allowing 87. It defeated, for example, a Northern Illinois University team that swamped previously unbeaten No. 18 Fresno State, 73-18, and tough football schools in their class like Miami of Ohio and Eastern Michigan.
With James Madison (on homecoming) and Delaware always playing Navy close, the rest of the season should be interesting. And then, there's Army.
As for the Akron Zips, they have been competitive in every game, rolling up 169 points while allowing 91. But, obviously, they can be scored on.
Their toughest loss was two weeks ago, 28-23, to Youngstown State of Ohio, nationally-ranked in Division IAA.
Tailback Doug Lewis leads the seven offensive returnees from Akron's 6-4-1 season in 1989, which included wins over over Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech and Northern Arizona, but finished with a 52-9 disaster at Tennessee.
Other standouts in the Multiple I offensive set are wide receivers Jeff Williams and Gerald Robinson and fullback Tyrone Nelson. In the Zips' Multiple 50 defensive set, eight lettermen make up the formidable nucleus.
Jeff Sweitzer, who threw only one pass last year for a 12-yard completion, is the only returning quarterback.
It was a forgettable day for the Middies at the Air Force Academy, as another complete reversal in their offensive efforts unfolded. The air game picked up again with Gary McIntosh throwing 15-for-32 and 210 yards, but the rushing offense was stymied by the Falcons with Kwame Moulprie, Jason Pace and Dominic Flis gaining only a combined 41 yards.
Air Force's vaunted passing attack deliberately was de-emphasized when the Falcons found out they could run on Navy to the tune of 235 yards in 60 attempts for nearly a five-yard average per carry.
It's always interesting to make educated guesses as to what mind games coaches will play with their opponent. For the past few weeks, the Navy staff has had to make an extended effort to shore up the Mids' defense against a passing attack, having been burned on a number of occasions.
This takes excessive practice time, oftentimes taking away opportunities to strengthen other parts of the game, especially with limited available practice time to begin with.
So, what does Air Force do after reviewing scout reports on Navy? It emphasizes the total execution of its running attack while threatening the pass to keep the Mids sensitive to it, but never really throwing much at all.
Look for an inspired Navy rebound effort tomorrow. The season at this point could go either way, for the Mids or Akron. It should be a wide-open donnybrook.
Navy 150-pounders, led by defensive standout Frank Toodrun, won again last week, beating Pennsylvania, 14-7 . . . Akron's home stadium is named the Rubber Bowl . . . Last week this column referred to punt return records after Jerry Dawson's 69-yard run against Boston College; overlooked was Frank Brady's 100-yard return against Maryland in 1951, tying an NCAA record for longest punt return . . .
Navy's sports information office has even included a pronunciation chart in its football handbook. For example, Greg Hlatky is pronounced Hill-lat-kee. Innovative and helpful . . . Who are those Navy recruiters in Dixie? Eight of the offensive starters are from the Deep South, three from Georgia . . . Army and Navy will be celebrating their 91st game on Dec. 8.
The longest Division IA series in history? Would you believe Minnesota-Wisconsin (98)? . . . A Mid guard in 1947 attained academic heights in being named a Rhodes Scholar. His name: Stansfield Turner. Only the second of two football Middies named to this honor . . .
In beating Notre Dame in South Bend last week, Stanford proved once again what a determined group of thinking young men with limited talent can do against seemingly impossible odds . . . The Army-Boston College game tomorrow will give a reasonable accurate accounting as to how good the Cadets really are.
Earl Schubert, a free-lance writer, is a Baltimore native who lives in Annapolis. A former football coach, he was a secondary school administrator in Missouri and Montgomery County, and worked for 17 years as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Education. His Navy "Blue and Gold" column appears every Friday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.