Madden hopes to give Midshipmen a spark

Senior QB won't start, but he'll be ready to play

College Football

September 22, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Naval Academy football team confronts another major challenge today in big and beefy Boston College, as the season resumes after a one-game pause for security, patriotism and prayer.

And, for the first time in more than 21 months, Midshipman Brian Madden will be in uniform and available to play quarterback.

Madden, the nation's leading rusher among quarterbacks in 1999 despite starting only five games, missed the entire 2000 season after his right knee was wrecked in that year's spring game.

Then, he was suspended for the first two games this season for violating academy rules in connection with an incident in May in which he was charged with the theft of a parking meter in Baltimore. The charge was later dropped, and Madden voluntarily relinquished his captaincy.

Madden won't start, and his playing time probably will be limited, but just his presence should provide a boost to a Navy team that absorbed the worst defeat in its history last time out, 70-7, to Georgia Tech.

"It seems like forever since I last played. This is long overdue. I've been ready to come in for at least a year now," said the 220-pound senior from Lawton, Okla. "This team needs a spark and a physical nature, and I think I can provide that."

A fierce competitor who went unbeaten in wrestling as a high school senior, Madden has led Navy to a 3-2 record in games he has started. But for a questionable fourth-down spot in the 1999 Notre Dame game, it would be 4-1.

When anyone else opens at quarterback, Navy is 3-17 since Madden joined the varsity.

"I expect to win every time out there," he said. "If I can help get everybody on that page, we'll be much better off."

Madden is itching to learn what he can produce in the team's new flexbone attack, which he believes "is a better fit for me. It's a good offense for the personnel we have. I want to see what I can do with it."

Repetitions the past two weeks have prepared him for the multiple sets and wide receivers Navy now uses often.

Madden watched the rout by Georgia Tech from the stands and squirmed and gnashed his teeth.

"That was frustrating," he said. "When you allow a team to go up and down the field at will, it's embarrassing. But I think the week off gave us a little more time to focus."

Madden has no reservations about the long layoff, says the knee feels good and pronounces himself ready. He will wear a small brace on the joint for protection.

"As a sophomore on the varsity, you always ask the question, `Can I play here?' I think you're a little more comfortable once you've been there. People are going to wonder if I can regain the form of 1999," he said.

"Yes, I believe I can get this thing going again. I still have a little soreness, but I think I'm going to answer those questions positively."

Next for Navy

Opponent: Boston College (1-1)

Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis

When: Today, noon

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM), WNAV (1430 AM)

Line: Boston College by 19 1/2

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.