Mids like new defense and offense has noticed

Players more aggressive, not giving up big plays

April 21, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Navy football team's new defensive scheme has been returning dividends this spring, boding well for a rebound from last season's 3-8 nose dive.

"I've been impressed with the defense not giving up the big play," said coach Charlie Weatherbie. "They've done a great job of making you go the hard way."

In the second scrimmage last week, the defense limited the top two offensive units to 196 yards in 63 plays (3.1 yards a snap) and enters Saturday's noontime Blue-Gold game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with a ton of momentum.

And the players seem to like the 3-4 alignment installed by new defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter because it allows them more flexibility and freedom.

"They've been real aggressive and flying all over the place," said first-string quarterback Brian Broadwater. "They've shown us we're really going to have a good defense."

"We're seeing some great results because they really enjoy what they're doing," said Weatherbie. "I think they're genuinely excited about the change."

The Midshipmen were involved in a number of high-scoring games last season and lost the majority of them -- by scores like 42-24, 36-33 and 34-30. They should be able to reduce some of those results with a defensive set more tailored to their smaller, quicker personnel.

Despite a rash of injuries, particularly to offensive backs, the coach views the spring season as a productive one because it has allowed reserve personnel adequate opportunity to impress the coaches.

The schedule is tough, with bowl teams Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Tulane among the opponents. Plus Army, of course.

"Georgia Tech is a great way to start, a Top 10 team at home," said Broadwater. "That will give us a good indication of what we can do."

Five of Navy's 11 games will be on national television, including home contests against Georgia Tech and Boston College on Fox.

NBC will carry the Oct. 30 visit to Notre Dame at 2: 30 p.m. and CBS the Army game Dec. 4 in Philadelphia. Fox has the noon game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium against Air Force on Oct. 9.

All Navy home games will start at noon this season.

Pub Date: 4/21/99

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