2 Navy senior captains to miss spring practice

But both expected to play in opener, Niumatalolo says

March 24, 2011|By The Washington Post

When the Navy football team begins spring practice Monday, the Midshipmen will be without their two senior captains because of injury, coach Ken Niumatalolo said during Tuesday's spring football luncheon in Annapolis.

Fullback Alexander Teich and defensive end Jabaree Tuani are being held out of all of spring practice for precautionary reasons, but both are expected to be on the field when Navy opens its season Sept.3 against Delaware at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Teich had surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason after one of the most productive regular seasons for a fullback in school history. He finished with 863yards and five touchdowns and twice ran for at least 157 yards.

Teich's most memorable game came in a 35-17 win against Notre Dame on Oct. 23, when he gained 210 yards on 26 carries and caught one pass for 31 yards and a touchdown. He became the first Navy fullback to rush for 200 yards in a game, an accomplishment all the more noteworthy considering that he began the season as a backup.

"It allows us to work on a backup fullback, which in my mind is as big as finding a backup quarterback," Niumatalolo said of Teich's absence. "But the backup fullback is going to play."

Tuani, meantime, is recovering from surgery on his right knee. Tuani started all 13 games last season and logged a team-high 151/2 tackles for loss and 51/2 sacks. He forced three fumbles and broke up two passes.

Tuani's absence means the entire defensive line will be new for spring practice. At nose guard, junior Jared Marks is first on the depth chart with the impending graduation of Shane Bothel and Chase Burge. At the other defensive end, juniors Ryan Paulson and Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick are projected to compete for the starting job vacated by Billy Yarborough.

The defense overall is largely inexperienced compared with last season's unit, which finished 27th in the country in turnover margin (plus-0.54 per game) and 46th in points allowed (23.3). Among the most prominent defensive players gone are safety Wyatt Middleton, a starter for four seasons, and linebacker Tyler Simmons.

Senior Max Blue is expected to compete for a starting position at inside linebacker, but he too will miss spring practice while nursing a sore neck. Aaron McCauley was another player who figured to have received extensive playing time at linebacker this season, but the junior left the team for personal reasons.

"We were surprised," Niumatalolo said. "He was having good workouts during the offseason. Obviously he had a great Army game [with 11 tackles, including 21/2 for loss]. He's a great young man, and we wish him the best of luck, but we've got to move on."

Navy's spring practices are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays through April 22, when the team plays its annual spring game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Iowa: A report on 13 players hospitalized after a strenuous workout in January clears the players, trainers and coaches of any wrongdoing, but recommends that the workout that led to the injuries be abandoned.

A five-member committee appointed by university President Sally Mason released its finding Wednesday to the Board of Regents.

The 13 players, including Jim Poggi (Gilman), were diagnosed with rhabdomyloysis, which breaks down muscle cells and discolors urine. All the players were treated, and none show any lasting effects.

Back squats with heavy weights caused the injuries, but committee members say they can't identify why the injuries occurred because similar workouts in the past did not cause any problems.

Athletic director Gary Barta said he will implement the committee's recommendations.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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