ANNAPOLIS –A half-hour in Friday morning’s practice, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo returned to one of the themes of the first week and a half of the Midshipmen’s preseason football camp.
He emphasized how the Mids couldn’t waste time, couldn’t make mistakes and couldn’t mentally check out if they were to match their success from previous years.
“I don’t know if I always do that,” Niumatalolo said. “I guess you’re always paranoid as a coach with where your mindset is, and that’s our big emphasis this year, just making sure we know mentally how we play – how Navy plays – and making sure we don’t look to the past. This is a brand new season and we have to play like Navy plays for us to even have a chance.”
It was also the Mids’ last practice before their first scrimmage of camp. Niumatalolo moved the practice from its scheduled time in the afternoon to the morning to ensure his players had extra time to recuperate for the noon scrimmage Saturday in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Still, it wasn’t particularly crisp early on as Navy invested time in special teams work. The final half-hour or so was dedicated to more game-like situations.
“Even though you’re on the sideline, I don’t want you looking at the sailboats,” Niumatalolo said. “Make sure you’re dialed into what’s going on, even if you’re not involved. I thought once we got through the special teams to the team [periods], I think some of our guys were still looking at the sailboats. Once that started, I think it got better.”
As for the scrimmage, it will be the most realistic situation yet for Niumatalolo to assess what he has as the Sept. 3 opener against Delaware approaches.
“We’re relatively healthy after going over a little bit more than a week of practice, so I’m excited,” Niumatalolo said. “I’m excited to see where we’re at. I’m not really sure where we’re at, but I feel good.”
– Patrick Stevens