Chaump's changes for 'second season' aim to take pressure off Navy players

November 05, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

An 0-7 start has prompted Navy coach George Chaump to make some changes. Not in personnel. Not in style of offense. But a change in the way his team approaches a football game.

This week, going into what Chaump and his players are calling the "second season" of Navy football, the Midshipmen will undergo a change in preparation as they attempt to shake their season-long slump Saturday against visiting Tulane (2-6).

During a team meeting on Monday -- coming off last week's 38-7 loss to Notre Dame -- Chaump and his staff came up with the following changes that are expected to carry through the rest of the season:

* No Friday practices.

"The life of a midshipman is strenuous," Chaump said. "We're going to go right to the hotel after school and get rested."

* Change in attire. Normally at the hotel on the night before the game, team members wear their Navy sweats. Starting tomorrow, the players will be dressed as midshipmen.

"I want them to look like someone different and special," Chaump said.

* Elimination of team meetings the night before the game.

"We've got some tired minds and bodies," Chaump said. "After we eat, we're going to get together collectively and go to the movies."

The changes, Chaump said, are being made to relax the players and to shake them of the lackluster effort that has hampered the team during the first half of games this season. Navy has failed to score in the first quarter this season and has been outscored 157-10 in the first half through seven games (the 10 points were all scored in the second quarter of an 18-16 loss at Air Force).

"It's so ridiculous it's not worth talking about," Chaump said, comparing his team's first- and second-half efforts this season. "The first half has been somewhat of an embarrassment."

After being shut out in the first three games, Navy has outscored its opponents 48-35 in the second half of its past four games. All four of those opponents have winning records, and three of them are nationally ranked (No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 18 North Carolina in Division I-A, and No. 6 Delaware in Division I-AA).

"We've actually played well in the second half," Chaump said. "We actually played Notre Dame well in the second half [7-7]. They had good football players on the field."

Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was resting some of his players, including quarterback Rick Mirer. But Navy's play in the other three games does indicate that the Mids are a better second-half team. After falling behind North Carolina 17-0 at the half, Navy had a 14-11 second-half advantage against the Tar Heels. Trailing Air Force 15-10 at the half, Navy had a 6-3 second-half advantage and would have won it if not for a botched call by the officials. In the Delaware game, Navy was down 23-0 at the half, but outscored the Blue Hens 21-14 in the second half.

Whether Navy's new approach will work remains to be seen. But when you're 0-7, a change can't hurt.

"We're not changing because of superstition, or because of quirks," Chaump said. "We want a fresh approach. We're basing our approach on motivation and pride.

"We talked to the players and they seem to be enthusiastic about it. During the next four games we'll see what happens. TC hope this will result in higher and stronger motivation."

NOTES: The Tulane game is a rematch of last year's contest between winless teams at the Superdome in New Orleans. Navy was 0-9 and Tulane was 0-10 -- the Green Wave came away with a 34-7 win for their only victory of the season. . . . One of Tulane's losses was to Boston College, 17-13, two weeks ago. . . . Tulane's quarterback situation is unsettled. Shawn Meadows has been inconsistent since becoming the starter five weeks ago. In last week's 62-20 loss to Memphis State, he was replaced by freshman Bob Aylesworth, who had never taken a collegiate snap. A starter hasn't been named for the Navy game. . . . Navy has failed to score at home against a Division I-A team this season.

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