It took only an embarrassing 56-14 whipping by San Diego State Saturday night in its season opener for the Naval Academy to shake up its coaching staff, with head coach George Chaump dismissing Greg Briner, the Midshipmen's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
A terse statement released yesterday by the academy public relations staff read: "Coach George Chaump announced he has fired Greg Briner over philosophical differences in running the football program."
Reached at his home in Arnold, Briner said he preferred not to discuss his dismissal at this time. He said, however, that he was the offensive coordinator "in name only."
"George runs the offense and Richard Bell runs the defense, and I'm sure they won't miss a beat the rest of the season," he said.
Briner, 44, a former Southern Cal quarterback, was hired by Chaump in 1993 after serving as an assistant coach with Portland State, Oregon State, the Indianapolis Colts and Marshall University.
He was credited last year with the rapid development of quarterback Jim Kubiak, who set 10 academy passing records last season. Briner also installed a more elaborate offensive scheme than the Mids had employed in previous seasons.
But Kubiak and the entire offense struggled Saturday night against San Diego State. The Mids failed to pick up a first down until 5:36 remained in the first half, and trailed 49-0 before scoring in the third quarter.
Kubiak completed seven of 18 passes for 49 yards in the first half and was intercepted three times.
Navy's running game also was stymied in the first half, producing only 12 yards.
After the game, Briner said: "I don't think San Diego State did anything defensively we didn't anticipate. They were just quick.
"Kubiak did a good job keeping his composure in the second half, but I thought he could have done a better job throwing the ball long. [Wide receiver] Damon Dixon was open a couple of times. Kubiak still has a lot of room for improvement."
Chaump, 11-34 since being named Navy's head coach in 1990, signed a two-year extension after finishing 4-7 last year.
He was not available for comment last night. After Saturday's game, he said: "We have a lot of kids on our team, and I thought they were overwhelmed tonight. I hope this kind of a game will serve as a wake-up call and make us a better team."
No replacement for Briner has been named, but there was speculation that Doug Williams, the former Washington Redskins quarterback and Super Bowl XXII MVP, would assume the role. He is coaching the running backs.