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.
“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