Navy offensive coordinator Jasper wrongly linked to Vanderbilt job

November 30, 2010|By Gene Wang, The Washington Post

While the Navy football team was enjoying the Thanksgiving break away from practice, offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had his weekend turn unexpectedly eventful when reports erroneously linked him to Vanderbilt's vacant head coaching job.

Jasper's name surfaced on Twitter on Saturday afternoon via a tweet by Tony Barnhart, who wrote, "Hearing Ivin Jasper of the Naval Academy will be the new head coach at Vanderbilt."

Then Nashville radio personality George Plaster said Saturday night: "It looks like Ivin Jasper appears to have emerged as the guy they're going to hire, and it looks like it's going to be done no later than in the next 48 hours. I've had at least one source tell me he's here."

Well, Jasper was still at Navy on Monday, getting the offense ready to play Army on Dec. 11 in the team's most meaningful game of this and every season. After practice, Jasper reiterated he had not been in touch with Vanderbilt, or any other school for that matter, and revealed he had to turn off his phone to gain some peace and quiet.

"Again, it was all a surprise to me," he said. "So it was just like, 'Huh?' I was just wondering where it was all coming from. You kind of giggle about it, but again it's just one of those things about how things spread like wildfire. You laugh about it. You giggle about it, but at the same time we've got a big game coming up. We've just got to try to stay focused."

Not that Jasper doesn't have head coaching aspirations. He has plenty, and his track record of production with the triple option understandably makes him an appealing candidate. He's learned from two of the best in the business in Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, who left Navy in 2007 for the Yellow Jackets, and current coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was an assistant under Johnson before taking over when he departed.

Jasper has been Navy's offensive coordinator for three years, during which the Midshipmen have finished first and fourth nationally in rushing offense. This season, Navy ranks third at 302.6 yards per game, has averaged nearly 50 points per game during its three-game winning streak and has scored on 33 of 34 chances from the red zone, including 31 touchdowns.

"It's what you're in the job for, to become a head coach someday," Jasper said. "I hope that day will come, but I'm not in a rush for it. I have a great job here coaching great kids. So, if that day comes, it'll come. If not, I'm fine with what I'm doing now."

Navy (8-3) has a pair of signature wins this season that showcased Jasper's aggressive play-calling. The first was 35-17 over Notre Dame on Oct. 23, when junior Alexander Teich ran for 210 yards to become the first fullback in school history to amass 200 yards in a game. The Midshipmen ran for 367 yards in all, the most by a Navy team against Notre Dame.

Two weeks later, Navy throttled East Carolina, 76-35, scoring at the time the most points in a game in Division I-A. The Midshipmen accumulated 596 yards of total offense and scored the most points in the modern era of the academy.

"It's that time of the year," Niumatalolo said. "There's going to be a lot of things coming out, a lot of 'He's going there.' It's part of the profession. It happens every year around this time. … If somebody does came after Ivin or [defensive coordinator] Buddy [Green] or anybody on the staff, we'd be excited for them. They're all great coaches.

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