Army's receivers guaranteed to put spring in Mids' steps

6-6 pair pose challenge for shorter cornerbacks

Navy notebook

December 04, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

When Navy's defense lines up against Army on Saturday, it will be staring at some tall timber on the flanks.

Two of Army's wide receivers stand 6 feet 6 inches, with co-captain Clint Woody weighing in at 230 pounds and the talented Aaron Alexander at 203. They could pose all kinds of problems for the Midshipmen, particularly for the much-smaller cornerbacks who will be assigned to cover them.

"Everybody they've played, they have effectively thrown the ball against," said Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green. "When you have 6-6 guys on both sides, you can't look at it and just throw your tallest guy to one side. There is a height disadvantage everywhere. What we have to do is get as many people around the ball as we can."

Like the Ravens with Todd Heap, the Black Knights try to create mismatches and jump-ball situations.

Army can be compared to pass-happy and former Navy foe Tulane - the Black Knights are averaging 41 passes a game - but Green said it runs from even more formations.

"They run out of a little bit of everything, and they're tough to defend," he said. "What's really dangerous is they've been running the football better lately. But they really like to throw it up there and have those big guys get it."

"They're tall and athletic, and they make good plays," said Navy senior cornerback Shalimar Brazier, who is 5-11. "The competition has to play up to their level."

Navy has the fourth-ranked pass defense in the nation; the showdown will be interesting.

"We believe in each other," said Navy's other starter at cornerback, Vaughn Kelley, who is 6-1. "We've got chemistry back there. If everybody plays like they're capable, we'll be OK."

Candeto reflects

Craig Candeto entered the 2002 Army-Navy game as a relative unknown. He emerged from it as a national figure.

The Midshipmen's quarterback scored a school-record six touchdowns and passed for one in the 58-12 trouncing, perhaps the greatest single-game performance in academy history.

Asked what changed in his life afterward, Candeto said yesterday, "It put me in the spotlight. The game is on national TV and I got a lot of fan mail from people I didn't know. I guess it put me on the celebrity list."

The attention has continued this season during the team's return to winning ways, and Candeto said he relishes it after nearly three years in virtual obscurity.

"You've got to do a lot of interviews. It was ridiculous before Notre Dame," he said. "But I don't mind talking."

Also a standout on the academy baseball team, Candeto, a Florida native, is looking forward to spring and not only because of improved weather.

"With school, spring football and baseball all at once, it was really tough," he said. "You get so banged up in spring football, it was really hard physically. Hopefully, this spring, with only baseball, I can do justice to school."

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