Delaware game could lift Mids' spirits, bowl hopes I-AA Blue Hens might mean 6th win, momentum return

Navy notebook

November 07, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy plays its only Division I-AA opponent of the season this weekend and has very little to gain except momentum lost in last week's drubbing from Notre Dame.

A victory over Delaware (7-2) is anticipated. A defeat can only harm the 5-2 Midshipmen's stock in the eyes of the postseason selectors.

"The bowl committees wouldn't look at this as a great win," said Navy slotback Cory Schemm. "But if we lose, they'll look at it as a tremendous setback."

With five victories over Division I-A teams, Navy needs only one more to officially qualify for a bowl. Navy's final three games are against Tulane, Georgia Tech and Army.

So, for the moment, the incentive is a winning season, an achievement foreign to the academy since Gary Tranquill went 6-5 in his first year, 1982.

"A winning season is one of our goals," said coach Charlie Weatherbie. "And a win would keep us undefeated at home [2-0]."

No excuses

Was the sloppy field responsible for the Midshipmen's performance in Ireland? How about the time change? Or was Navy's worst performance of the year just a matter of Notre Dame being much better?

"It was just a big disappointment," said defensive tackle Jason Snider. "We gave them too many opportunities with missed tackles and assignments."

Navy's players didn't make excuses for the 54-27 loss, and Weatherbie cited "a couple of cheap touchdowns we gave them and big turnovers. During the game, we felt like we were getting physically hammered, but when we watched the video later, we didn't see that."

Navy dominated many of the offensive statistics and scored more points against the Irish than any team this season.

"I feel like maybe we pressed a little," said Weatherbie. "We tried to play above what we should and a lot of times made mistakes because of it. I think we learned a lot from that game."

Raymond's impressed

Delaware coach Tubby Raymond said this Navy team "doesn't have anybody like [Napolean] McCallum, but has a lot of people who really want to play. This is the best one I've seen, better than 1985."

The Blue Hens have been an almost-annual opponent for Navy since 1985.

"They were probably a marginal I-A team when we started playing them, but they certainly aren't now," said Raymond.

Miscellaneous

Weatherbie has been chosen as one of 10 semifinalists for Football News' Coach of the Year. The list will be pared to three on Nov. 22; final selection is Dec. 3.

The only seats available for Saturday are on the hillside in the northern end zone. Senior linebacker Clint Bruce has been picked to play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu. He will be the first Midshipman in a postseason all-star game since Kevin Hickman in 1994. Navy gained 184 yards on the ground against Notre Dame, but dropped from third to fifth in the national rankings (average of 289.3 yards). Army leads with 365.5.

Pub Date: 11/07/96

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