ANNAPOLIS —- It was four weeks ago when Navy opened camp. Coach Ken Niumatalolo has fielded nearly every question imaginable about his team, and the Midshipmen’s opener against Delaware is just three days away.
This, of course, is a good thing for everyone. Players are eager to see a different opponent, and coaches are eager to know exactly what they have in a game situation.
(It’s also good for scribes who are about out of questions, most of which can only be answered in a game, anyway).
So, with all that in mind, it seemed reasonable to ask Niumatalolo about the greatest unknown his team faces at this stage.
“I feel good about our guys,” Niumatalolo said. “We’ve seen them respond in practices and scrimmages. I feel very confident they’ll do it in a game. Only within a game do we know how they’ll do. Obviously, we have some young guys who haven’t played as much. I’ve been very comfortable and excited with what they’ve done out here in our scrimmages, but you have to do that under the lights.”
There will be plenty of Mids in far larger roles than they are accustomed. Based on this week’s depth chart, as many as 13 of 22 starters own no more than three career starts coming into this season.
As for a few lingering positional tidbits …
* It’s still too close to call at left tackle, where Graham Vickers, David Sumrall and Andrew Barker remain in a tight competition.
“It was Vickers coming into practice [Tuesday], and it wasn’t one of his better practices … ,” Niumatalolo said. “It was Vickers going into it. I’m not sure where we’re at right now.”
* On the defensive line, Jared Marks and Wes Henderson are listed as co-starters at nose guard, with Henderson and Jamel Dobbs the co-starters at right defensive end.
“That’s still a battle right now,” Niumatalolo said. “I’m not really sure who that’s going to be. There’s some guys battling in there. Regardless, I’m sure we’ll see them all.”
—- Patrick Stevens