The Washington Times - August 30, 2011, 10:42AM

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo placed a thumb and two fingers as close as he could. Even that didn’t fully explain how tight Navy’s left tackle competition remains.

After a brief hesitation, Niumatalolo said Graham Vickers is slightly ahead of David Sumrall for the starting job, with Andrew Barker just behind. Navy opens its season Saturday against Delaware.

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“We’re getting close to game time,” Niumatalolo said. “Hopefully one of those guys will distinguish themselves. If they’re that close, obviously we’ll just have to make a decision. Right now, Graham Vickers is probably our top [guy].”

Vickers, a sophomore, did not play last season. Barker, a junior, also has yet to play in a varsity game.

Sumrall has extended experience on special teams, and entered the preseason as a co-starter with Barker.

Niumatalolo said the Mids would be willing to play two tackles, though it is a less-than-ideal scenario. Navy returns its other four starting offensive linemen.

“I don’t think we’d mind doing that,” Niumatalolo said. “Obviously, you’d like a guy to get in there and get a feel of what’s going on in the game, or how the defensive end or defensive tackle is playing. We’d like to stick with one guy.”

Patrick Stevens