Navy boasts new D, tough schedule

3-4 alignment a twist

Broadwater is No. 1 QB

April 01, 1999|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

A few things appeared certain when Navy opened spring football practice last Saturday.

The defense, orchestrated by new coordinator Tim DeRuyter, will feature a 3-4 alignment, and junior Brian Broadwater, after a promising sophomore year, is the No. 1 quarterback.

But there is still a vacancy at offensive coordinator, following the dismissal of Ken Niumatalolo. Head coach Charlie Weatherbie seems to prefer it that way after watching his Midshipmen finish 3-8 last fall.

"I'm going to be the offensive coordinator right now," said Weatherbie, who is 24-21 in his four seasons in Annapolis.

"It might change in late spring or fall, but right now everyone pretty much has a say in what we do offensively. We've got three or four guys on the staff who have been involved in the option offense for 20 years."

Weatherbie is upbeat despite a 1999 schedule featuring five teams that played in bowls last year -- Georgia Tech, Tulane, West Virginia, Air Force and Notre Dame.

"We have pretty much everyone back on both sides of the ball," he said. "From what I've seen of the players in the weight room and informal drills, this is a no-nonsense, blue-collar bunch of guys who won't accept taking a back seat to anybody."

Navy has 36 lettermen returning, including 13 starters.

Weatherbie will still stress the running game, trying to get a more consistent triple option.

Fullback Irv Dingle, last year's second-leading rusher (677 yards), and reserves Matt Harden and Jon Limbert graduated, but Weatherbie has high hopes for sophomore Raheem Lambert.

Slotbacks John Vereen, a senior, and Dre Brittingham, a sophomore, showed potential as understudies last season.

The running game will benefit by the presence of senior co-captain Terrence Anderson, who is being pushed for All-America honors.

But Navy lost its most potent weapon on offense when wide receiver Ryan Read, who averaged 25.5 yards on 17 receptions and scored six touchdowns as a sophomore last season, elected to resign from the Academy last week.

Defensively, Weatherbie adopted the 3-4 alignment after Navy allowed an average of 34.2 points, with an overmatched secondary getting burned for 246 passing yards per game.

"In our defensive scheme last year, we were putting two much pressure on the corners," he said. "I also believe the 3-4 is better suited to the type of players we're able to recruit. It's easier for us to recruit linebackers than big defensive linemen."

It should prove less of a burden on senior safety and co-captain Jamie Doffermyre, who earned All-East honors with 127 tackles, 45 more than his closest teammate.

"We should be able to use our quickness more and pester teams with the 3-4," said Doffermyre. "Hopefully, we'll do more blitzing. We have to put more pressure on the quarterback."

One of Navy's major problems last year was its 27 turnovers.

"We've got to be able to stay in our offense," said Anderson. "Last year, teams were able to take us away from what we like to do. We had too many second-down-and-long situations. But I think our offense will be simpler this season, with less tricks.

"But I like what I've seen so far. Talent-wise, I believe we're as good as the 1996 team that went to the Aloha Bowl. And we've got enough senior leaders who are taking it upon themselves to fix things before they fall apart."

Pub Date: 4/01/99

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