Navy possessed talent but inexperience at outside linebacker entering the season.
This week, injuries might be a greater concern for the Midshipmen.
Senior Jarred Shannon sat out Saturday’s defeat of Western Kentucky with a shoulder injury. Sophomore Keegan Wetzel, who had six tackles (one for loss) against the Hilltoppers, has watched practice the last two days while recovering from a concussion.
“They’re kind of coming along,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “With a concussion, we have to go through some steps before [Wetzel] can even come out. He’s been coming and listening to everything. He played pretty much the whole game after he got the hit that caused the concussion, so hopefully he’ll be back but we have to wait and see.”
Given the nature of those injuries, it is sensible to take every precaution as the sophomore recovers. Meanwhile, Shannon battled shoulder injuries throughout most of his career at Navy but seemed poised to enjoy a healthy senior season.
There could be some desire on Navy’s part to give Shannon as much time to recover as possible. After Saturday’s visit to No. 10 South Carolina, the Mids (2-0) have a bye week before meeting Air Force on Oct. 1.
“We’ll wait and see,” Niumatalolo said. “We’d like to give him some rest, just with the shoulder. That’s kind of day by day.”
On this week’s depth chart, Wetzel and Shannon are listed as co-starters at outside linebacker. Freshman Josh Tate, who made his debut against Western Kentucky, is listed as the No. 3 option at the position.
—- Patrick Stevens