Part of a position-by-position look at Navy football this spring
Starters returning (0): None
Other notable returnees: FB Mike Patrick (15 carries, 96 yards)
Starters lost (1): FB Alexander Teich (186 carries, 883 yards, 4 TD, 11 starts)
Other notable departures: FB Delvin Diggs (36 carries, 186 yards, 2 TD, 1 start)
Emerging names to know: FB Noah Copeland (sophomore), FB Prentice Christian (senior)
Career starts returning: 0
Career starts lost: 25 (Teich 24, Diggs 1)
Navy probably doesn’t quite have its answer on how to replace Alexander Teich.
But, as detailed late last month in the dead-tree edition, there’s a model for how the Midshipmen plan to move along at fullback now that Teich has graduated.
Namely, with a guy roughly the same size (and perhaps smaller) than Teich.
In any case, there’s no question this will be a learn-on-the-go unit in the fall for the Mids. The returnees present during spring practice own all of 17 career carries. Two of them belong to Noah Copeland, who had a memorably productive performance on special teams against Army. It’s certainly easier to recall his work in that game than his blink-and-you’ll-miss-them carries last season (one against Southern Mississippi, the other against Troy).
Mike Patrick is easily the most experienced option, but that hardly says much. Consider: Teich averaged nearly 17 carries a game last season. Patrick had 15, and none in the second half of the season.
The assumption late last month was the depth chart could fluctuate wildly as the spring unfolded. Instead, not a ton has changed. Copeland remains listed as the starter, while senior Prentice Christian overtook Patrick recently for the No. 2 slot.
The curiosity here might have less to do with who winds up starting and more with whether Navy relies heavily on one fullback. Teich accounted for 85.3 percent of the fullback carries (186 of 218) in the 11 games he played in last season. The two years before, he and Vince Murray split time at the job.
It’s a quandary that probably isn’t solved quite yet —- but one certain to generate some interest once the Mids reconvene in the summer. Copeland is no doubt the favorite, but it could require two men to step into Teich’s role in the fall.
—- Patrick Stevens