Navy decides simplicity best tack against Kent Fewer offensive options seen helping quarterbacks

September 16, 1998|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

It was midway in the third period and Navy had just surrendered the lead to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Thursday night when starting quarterback Steve Holley was replaced by Brian Broadwater.

The Mids had moved the ball effectively throughout the first half, gaining 193 yards on 38 plays, and Holley had hit half of his eight passes for an impressive 114 yards. Besides passing for a score, a 38-yarder to sophomore Ryan Read, Holley had run for a 5-yard touchdown.

So why was the junior yanked, never to return to the contest?

Initially, Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said, "because we weren't moving the ball." He elaborated yesterday: "It was probably a combination of things. There were times when Steve seemed confused and he made a couple of bad checkoffs. But that could be the fault of the coaching staff; we might have had a little too much in [the game plan] for a young quarterback starting his first game."

As a result and while preparing for their home opener against Kent University on Saturday (7 p.m.), the Midshipmen are streamlining their offense.

"We're cutting down on the number of plays we're preparing for Kent, and we're reducing the number of runs Steve will have to execute," said Weatherbie. "Holley will also have fewer options to consider. On any given call, if he sees it isn't there, he's to go to a [single] alternate."

So, yes, Holley will be getting the nod behind center once again. Chances are it will be thus through much of the season, Holley the starter, with Broadwater coming on in relief. "As I've said many times, both are good enough to start and win games for us," said Weatherbie.

Kent, a member of the underrated Mid-American Conference, comes in a bit bedraggled. The Golden Flashes were manhandled by Georgia, 56-3, in their opener, then fell to Division I-AA power Youngstown State, 24-10, last week.

First-year coach Dean Pees, who was an assistant at Navy from 1987 to 1989, made a quick assessment of the program and wasted no time. His squad includes 37 freshmen, 29 of them true frosh, and 21 sophomores. "It's hard to do a lot of things because we're so young," he said, "but in the long run we think it will pay off."

Meanwhile, Kent will rely heavily on junior quarterback Jose Davis and senior wide-out Eugene Baker. Both are the genuine goods.

Davis has completed 57 percent of his passes (46-for-81), with just one interception. Baker has been one of the most successful receivers in college ball the last few years.

Against Youngstown, while hauling in eight passes for 104 yards, Baker became the 26th receiver in NCAA history to surpass the 3,000-yard mark in receptions. Against Georgia, he caught 10 balls for 124 yards. He has 198 career receptions, good for 32 touchdowns, both MAC records.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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