From his days as coach at Indiana (Pa.) University to his four-year stint at Marshall and through three years at Navy, George Chaump has left the job of shaping his team's defense to someone else. But for the first time in his coaching career, Chaump's philosophy is about to change.
When Navy begins spring football practice this afternoon, Chaump's role will be on both sides of the ball. Throughout his 11 years of coaching, Chaump has concentrated on offense, but next season his imprint will be on the team's defense as well.
"I think we have to get our defense strong," Chaump said when asked what his team's biggest concern is going into the spring sessions. "We have a lot to do and a lot to overcome."
Indeed. The Midshipmen have to overcome the loss of defensive coor- dinator Greg McMackin, a popular coach who left the academy last month to become the defensive backs coach at Miami. And the team also has to overcome allowing more than 30 points a game last season, holding opponents to less than 20 points just twice during a 1-10 season.
"I've always given a coach carte blanche on defense, and I won't do that any longer," Chaump said. "I want to know what the defense does and why. And I want to put my defensive ideas into the package."
Chaump's new role has prompted changes in the coaching staff. Greg Briner is the new offensive coordinator. He worked the past three years at Marshall University as the team's offensive coordinator and the past two seasons as quarterbacks coach.
Replacing McMackin as defensive coordinator is Denny Murphy, who will continue to coach the defensive line. Murphy is Navy's fifth defensive coordinator in as many years. Quarterbacks coach Mike Drake has been switched to the defensive secondary. Kevin Kiesel, the tight ends and special teams coach last season, left the academy to become head coach at Albright College in Reading, Pa.
While he won't be devoting full attention to the offense, Chaump says he hopes Navy will be able to go with a balanced offensive attack, which has not existed since he arrived at the academy. Adapting from a wishbone to a passing game and injuries at quarterback have delayed the implementation of a pass-oriented offense at Navy.
"Our quarterback's back, and I hope we finally get into our passing game," said Chaump, who welcomes back Jim Kubiak, injured in the season opener against Virginia and out for the rest of the year. "We plan to get into what I've always wanted to get into. [Briner's] a good offensive coach, and we'll be throwing the ball. But we won't discard the running game."