Navy's Madden, Broadwater armed for duel

`Good friends' push each other for QB job

April 26, 2000|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

At many schools, the situation would provide perfect ammunition for a quarterback controversy, but at the Naval Academy it is the perfect setting for competition.

As the Midshipmen near their annual Blue-Gold game Saturday, the double Brians, Madden and Broadwater, are waging a friendly war for the job with their positions just the reverse from a year ago.

Madden, then a precocious sophomore, stepped in for an injured Broadwater at midseason in 1999 and proceeded to lead the nation's quarterbacks in rushing and his team to three wins and two near-wins in five games.

Now, senior Broadwater is completely recovered from a fractured clavicle and pressing No. 1 Madden to get better on every snap.

"Those two are both capable of taking this football team where it wants to go," coach Charlie Weatherbie said yesterday. "They're both Division I starters and great quarterbacks for this [option] offense."

"We keep each other going," said Madden, who rushed for 897 yards and nine touchdowns and directed Navy's season-ending victory over arch-rival Army. "Hopefully, we can improve each other. It helps when you know that somebody can step up at any moment and take the job."

"We've exchanged roles," said Broadwater. "Having to win the job back is something I've been excited about trying to do every day. We're real good friends. It's good we both push each other."

Because Broadwater was becoming a senior, the coaching staff gave only a passing thought to shifting him to another position as it had done with Steve Holley before 1999. "No one approached me about a permanent switch," he said. "My goals were to get healthy, put on some weight and contest for the job. That's what I've done."

There is hope that Madden will be less reluctant to pitch the ball to breakaway threats like Dre Brittingham and Raheem Lambert this season and that both quarterbacks will improve their passing. The staff believes that a more effective air attack -- especially in late, come-from-behind efforts -- could help stave off another season like last when Navy dropped six games by a touchdown or less.

The Midshipmen may open up the passing "to give ourselves a chance in the closer ones," according to Broadwater.

During a spring of primarily non-contact work, the aerial game is much more emphasized than normal and Weatherbie believes he has capable receivers in Brandon Rampani, Brian Williams and Billy Hubbard.

The Midshipmen also plan to involve the slotbacks, Brittingham, Josh Bock, et al., in the offense more frequently.

"This has been the most productive spring since I've been here," said Weatherbie, who is 29-28 in five years at Navy. "The young players have been getting a lot of repetitions."

NOTES: Weatherbie believes he has found a placement specialist in David Hills, who has been strikingly consistent from the 25-yard line in. It was one of the team's most glaring vacancies with the graduation of Tim Shubzda. ... The team captains will be announced at halftime of the spring game, which starts at noon Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. ... Lambert, offensive tackle Hoot Stahl, fullback Marlon Terrell and defensive back Chris Lepore are among the notables who may miss the game because of injury. ... Season tickets (at this time the only way to guarantee a ticket for the Army-Navy game) are on sale at Ricketts Hall or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY. Single-game tickets (except for Army) go on sale May 1.

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