As it has all spring, the defense dominated the offense in Navy's Blue-Gold scrimmage, making coach Charlie Weatherbie happy as the early preseason session ended yesterday.
Navy's defense was one of the nation's six worst just two seasons ago. But during the scrimmage, it shut down a running game that led the nation last season with about 300 yards per game. Navy's offense averaged 3.3 yards per carry yesterday, and most of the 231 yards on the ground came on a broken play that resulted in a 64-yard touchdown by quarterback Christian Chapman.
"The defense played pretty well," Weatherbie said. "I was impressed with a lot of the things the defense did; I thought they broke on the ball well."
The defense also provided a tense moment that resounded beyond the final play of the scrimmage.
Starting quarterback Brian Madden was running when three defenders tackled him. One of the defenders hit him in his right knee, and Madden stayed on the ground until he could be helped off by trainers. Team officials didn't know the extent of the injury. Madden is scheduled to have a MRI at Bethesda Naval Hospital tomorrow or Tuesday.
The play, which happened with 1: 40 left in the fourth quarter, was one of the few in which either of the top two quarterbacks, Madden or Brian Broadwater, were hit below the waist.
"It's just unfortunate that that happened in the last series he was in, the last play he was in," Weatherbie said. "We weren't going to tackle Madden and Broadwater. We were going to stay high on them and not go down on them, and that's been our thing the whole spring. I'll have to watch the video, I didn't see what happened." The severity of Madden's injury could determine whether the starting quarterback position returns to Broadwater, who started 12 straight games before breaking his clavicle in the middle of last season.
"I hope it's minimal, and he'll be back and ready to go in the fall," said Broadwater, who hit six of 12 passes for 75 yards. "He's a major part of our team. There's a lot of guys who contribute, but he's a big leader."
Captains usually are named after a winter football game. This season, Weatherbie wanted to see which players would offer the most during the spring practices and the two most impressive were senior defensive end Brad Wimsatt and Broadwater.
Senior running back Josh Bock was named the team's most improved player of the spring drills. Last season, Bock played in two games and did not get a carry.