Lack of experience does not faze Malinowski

Junior quarterback ready to lead Navy vs. Boston College

September 21, 2000|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

He comes from the area that spawned the greatest quarterbacks: John Unitas, Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Dan Marino.

Ed Malinowski idolized Marino and particularly Montana during his youth, but his goals are temperate in comparison.

All he wants to do is perform well and lead the Naval Academy to its first victory of the season Saturday at Boston College.

Thrust into the limelight by last week's injury to Brian Broadwater, the unexpected starter is approaching the assignment philosophically.

"I've been thinking about this all week," he said. "I kind of have the feeling we've got nothing to lose. We can put it all on the line. Hopefully, we'll be so tired somebody will have to carry us off the field."

A 197-pound junior from Canonsburg, Pa., Malinowski wasn't supposed to be in this position. With Brian Madden and Broadwater ahead of him, Malinowski was shifted to safety last spring behind All-America candidate Chris Lepore, which didn't bode well for playing time.

"I was hoping to be on a few of the special teams and maybe work into the nickel package," he said. "I really wasn't expecting to be moved back to quarterback."

But late in the spring game, Madden wrecked his knee and was knocked out indefinitely, perhaps for the season.

Back you go, Ed.

In a similar situation last season - behind Broadwater and Madden - Malinowski carried the ball a total of 10 times for 51 yards and threw three passes, completing one.

His most significant experience was against Hawaii, when he ran 16 plays.

Yet, he realizes the chances were good that his time would come.

"We run a really physical offense and the quarterback is going to get banged up because he is like another running back," he said. "Brian [Broadwater] has had some problems in the past [a broken collarbone last season]. I kind of had the feeling that at some point I'd get to play."

Coach Charlie Weatherbie said Malinowski is "a tough, hard-nosed player and very intelligent. He knows what we're trying to do and he's a good field general, like a coach on the field. Football is in his blood. He's a coach's son."

The last time Broadwater was knocked out of the lineup, Madden became a star, leading the nation's quarterbacks in rushing and leading Navy to three wins in five games and two narrow defeats - at Notre Dame and Hawaii.

The similarity of the circumstances is not lost on Malinowksi.

"Boston College is kind of like Notre Dame," said Malinowski.

He believes that the shift to safety - a spot he played in high school - was a benefit because "you have to understand the defense to run the offense. You have to know coverages and how the defense is going to attack you."

A pro-style quarterback who ran the option sparingly at Chartiers Houston High, Malinowski said he "might have made three checks [play changes at the line of scrimmage] there. In this offense, every other play it seems you have to make one check. I think we'll keep it rather simple this week. It's almost like I'm a freshman."

Ready or not, here come the Eagles with their 300-pound linemen and 250-pound linebackers bearing down on him.

"Last season was a little disappointing," he said. "Sixteen plays and a separated shoulder. That's not much to say for your college career. But I have some experience and lately I've been throwing better than I have the last couple years.

"I was pretty surprised when I was moved back, but I felt like I knew what I was doing. I felt comfortable at quarterback. This is my big shot."

NOTES: Broadwater suffered a fractured larynx with less than a minute to play and Navy trailing Georgia Tech by four touchdowns. Why was he still in the game?

"It never entered my mind," Weatherbie said of removing him from the lineup. "We rotated some of our second-team guys in there, but I felt like we needed Broadwater. He got hit on a pass play. In 30 years, I've only seen something like that happen one other time. It was a freak injury. There is nothing we can do about spilled milk."

Navy had out-gained Georgia Tech in the game, but was undermined by fumbles.

"Running the option, you're going to get some dings," said Weatherbie. "But in any offense you run the risk of losing the starter. We're talking to the second team all the time about being one play away."

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