Gaddy catches on to switch to offense

Little-used cornerback is wide receiver in new flexbone attack

Navy notebook

College Football

April 25, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

If one player personifies the new-look Navy offense, it is Jeff Gaddy.

A sparingly used cornerback last season, the senior has shifted to wide receiver to become one of the focal points of the team's new flexbone attack, which employs multiple formations, a no-huddle approach and as many as five split pass-catchers.

"I believe he has found a home," said coach Charlie Weatherbie.

An all-state receiver at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day School, Gaddy tried to play his new position a bit last fall when injuries depleted the pass-catching crops, but it didn't work out.

"I didn't learn it mentally," he said. "I couldn't play comfortably. I was tentative. But I'm enjoying it a lot more this year. There is quite a lot of passing involved."

Used mainly on special teams and as a reserve defensive back his first two years, Gaddy has 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash and high school experience, making him a leading candidate for the switch. He was also a state champion in the hurdles and all-state in three dashes.

"The tunnel screens and double screens that we run fit right in to Jeff and Dominic's [Bailey, another smallish wide receiver] personality and their game," said receivers coach Matt Wells.

Top QBs will be missing

Brian Madden and Craig Candeto, listed as 1-2 on the quarterback depth chart, will miss Saturday's Blue-Gold spring game, which pits the offense against the defense in what Weatherbie termed a final scrimmage.

Co-captain Madden has been restrained from contact work this spring while recovering from a wrecked right knee suffered a year ago. "We started him doing live drills one day, but then pulled him out," said Weatherbie. "But he's been running all the fundamentals."

Candeto is a member of the baseball team fighting for the Patriot League title and has a doubleheader scheduled Saturday. He "has only missed three practices" to play baseball, according to the coach.

Learning curve

The defense has been ahead of the offense this spring, but defensive end Michael Wagoner said that is because the offensive players "have been running the option all their lives and this system is a little harder for them. But we really got tired the last couple of scrimmages. Not many defense are going to be ready for this offense."

Saturday's lineup

Gates at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will open at 11 a.m. for the 1 p.m. game. Included in the festivities will be chances to win prizes, including an all-expenses trip to the Army-Navy game, entertainment, autograph sessions and displays of autos and military equipment.

(Navy schedule, 10D)

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