ANNAPOLIS —- Navy reached the two-week mark in its preseason camp. A little more than two weeks remain before the Midshipmen open the season against Delaware.
And at this stage all but two positions have, to some extent, sorted themselves out. That isn’t to say a player might not be hopscotched for a starting job. But it’s probably less likely for an out-of-nowhere guy to emerge at this stage.
As for the exceptions. …
1. Left tackle. In a conventional system rather than the run-heavy triple option, this might be a more startling issue. (Also noteworthy: Quarterback Kriss Proctor is left-handed, so the right tackle protects his blind side).
Still, it’s a camp competition beset by injuries. David Sumrall, a senior, suffered a concussion last week and is just starting to work his way back into noncontact work now. Sumrall had a solid first week before the injury.
In his stead, Andrew Barker and Graham Vickers have split time at the position. Coach Ken Niumatalolo said Wednesday that Barker is probably a bit ahead of Vickers, a sophomore who was nicked up earlier in camp.
So if the opener was tomorrow? Barker would probably get the nod, since Sumrall still is not fully cleared.
For a Sept. 3 opener? That’s still a tossup.
2. Holder. Yep, that’s about as different a position from left tackle as possible.
It still isn’t settled quite yet.
For all of the concern over Navy losing punter Justin Haan just weeks before camp, his holding duties appear tougher to pass along to someone else than his main position.
Pablo Beltran, a plebe expected to punt, is a logical option. Yet on this week’s depth chart, senior safety Brian Blick (who came to Navy as a quarterback) is listed as the top holder.
The pros for both options are obvious. Use Beltran, and it’s possible for a kicker to work with his usual holder throughout a practice. Use Blick, and maybe a trick play can be more effective with a former QB in the mix.
Either way, it’s one of the few spots where the answer isn’t quite so clear for the Midshipmen.
“The rest of the stuff, it may be a battle who starts, but I think we’ve dwindled it down,” Niumatalolo said.
—- Patrick Stevens