ANNAPOLIS – One of the more jarring developments of the first few days of Navy’s preseason practice was the absence of wide receiver Brandon Turner until at least Aug. 20.
Turner, who has 14 career starts, was one of three players who failed to pass the academy’s physical readiness test. Coach Ken Niumatalolo sent the players home until classes resume rather than allow them to practice with the team.
That, unsurprisingly, was the first subject broached with wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis in a quick Q-and-A after practice Thursday.
1. With Brandon Turner and the PRT, how difficult a spot do you think that places your unit at this stage, or does it not really matter all that much right now?
MY: We’ll be OK. We’re expecting Brandon to get back and get back on the team here shortly. But we have a tough group and we have a lot of depth, so we’re not too worried about that right now. We’re worried about the guys we have out here and those guys improving every day,
2. How well established do you feel like Matt Aiken is at this stage after he played as much as he did a year ago?
MY: I think Matt’s in a good spot right now. He had a great summer, worked out hard, came in at a good weight. I think he’s going to do a lot of things for us this year. Now, he just has to polish some things up here in the fall to get ready to go.
3. With Turner absent, it seems like it’s an opportunity for Casey Bolena in some ways to be able to emerge, maybe as a starter. How have you seen Casey come along since the end of last season?
MY: Casey’s coming along. He’s got a chance to be in the starting rotation. Now it’s time for him to perform and show what he can do and he’s done a good job. We’re two days in and we have a long way [to go], and I’m happy where he’s at after two days.
4a. Shawn Lynch is back on offense now. How has that gone since he moved back over in the spring?
MY: It’s gone great. I’m thrilled to have him. It gives us a little more speed. We have a guy now we feel who can take a reverse, can stretch the field for us. He’s doing a great job for us and he’s playing hard and understands what we want. He’s progressing.
4b. Does he seem a little invigorated from having made that switch back?
MY: He’s a new person. He’s excited. He’s got a new pep in his step, smiling, he’s fired up about it. He’s done a great job.
5. How about John O’Boyle? I know he switched from slotback to wideout last year. How has he taken to that and how much further along is he now than he was at the end of last season?
MY: Johnny’s our leader. He’s a guy who gets the troops going. He’s a guy who every day is going to come out, work his tail off and play hard. You know what you’re getting out of Johnny O’Boyle. He’s a lot like Doug Furman. He’s a guy that when things are down, he’s going to be playing hard and guys are going to see ‘Johnny’s going, I’ve got to keep going.’ He’s doing a great job and he’s going to play a lot for us.