For Navy, another tough opener today at Virginia

September 11, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Credit Navy coach George Chaump with being honest going into this afternoon's game against Virginia. While some college coaches will try to persuade you that their team can beat the Dallas Cowboys, Chaump is a realist.

"If I had my druthers, I'd rather play somebody else," Chaump said last week. "That's my preference."

While Chaump won't have his way today, he's hoping his team will, as Navy opens its season this afternoon against Virginia (1-0) at Scott Stadium. If the 1992 season opener against Virginia is any indication, it will be a tough task for the Midshipmen.

Last year's opener started with a lot of promise for the Midshipmen, who boasted of being bigger and stronger. But Virginia quarterback Bobby Goodman started his record-setting performance with a 49-yard touchdown pass on his team's first play from scrimmage, and the Cavaliers rolled to a 53-0 victory, Navy's worst home shutout loss.

"I didn't even mention that game, and I don't like to think about it," Chaump said. "We haven't even looked at the film from then."

Chaump doesn't need to see again that play that probably changed Navy's season, when quarterback Jim Kubiak suffered a separated shoulder during the third quarter. Kubiak had surgery and was lost for the season. With he and backup Brian Ellis (broken jaw in second game against Boston College) sidelined, Chaump abandoned the balanced attack that he has so desperately wanted to implement since arriving at Navy, and went with the option for much of the rest of the season.

Kubiak is back -- 20 pounds heavier, saying he feels a lot stronger -- and has a zip on the football that has Navy coaches smiling.

"He was everything it takes to be a outstanding quarterback," Chaump said. "How Jim goes will determine how we go offensively. I'd like to think he's the perfect quarterback to do what we ask him to do."

But Kubiak has not taken a hit since being knocked out of Navy's opener a year ago.

"I won't be [tentative]," Kubiak said. "There's no sense in being afraid. I just go out and have fun. I'll just go on the field and do my best."

He'll need to be at his best for Navy to compete with a Virginia team that beat Maryland, 43-29, in College Park last week. Virginia fullback Charles Way ran for three touchdowns and gained 136 yards in the win.

"They had trouble tackling him," said Virginia coach George Welsh. "So we just kept going to him."

Virginia fumbled four times, losing three. Two fumbles came on busted options and resulted in points for Maryland.

"We turned the ball over three times deep in our own territory, and we put the defense under a lot of pressure," Welsh said. "But I think we did a credible job."

"We've got our hands full," Chaump said. "But . . . we go down there with the expectations of winning."

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