ANNAPOLIS —- Senior inside linebacker Matt Brewer is not expected to play this season for Navy, coach Ken Niumatalolo said.
Brewer was suspended for a violation of school rules during spring practice.
“Right now, he’s out pretty much the whole year,” Niumatalolo said.
Brewer was Navy’s fourth-leading tackler a year ago, making 61 stops (two for loss) while forcing four fumbles. He started 10 of 12 games.
Captain Brye French moved to inside linebacker this spring, and the senior is projected to start alongside Matt Warrick (team-high 103 tackles in 2011) this season.
A few other tidbits from yesterday afternoon’s discussion with Niumatalolo …
* Niumatalolo’s optimism about the direction of this year’s team remains strong a little more than two months before Navy’s Sept. 1 season opener against Notre Dame in Ireland.
“I’m excited about what our guys are doing,” he said. “Our approach to this summer and this year is just keep our mouth quiet. Just bust our butt and go to work. We have the hardest start I believe ever since I’ve been here. Regardless of what we do or what we say, we have our hands full so let’s just go to work.”
Navy went 5-7 last season, its first losing year since 2002.
* No surprise here: The biggest question Navy will carry into preseason camp remains finding a placekicker.
Navy brings in several freshmen who will have a chance to replace the graduated Jon Teague.
“We’re going to have more kickers than some guys will have running backs on their squad,” Niumatalolo said. “They’ve got the month of August to win the job. It’s wide open. … If they kick like we’ve seen them on tape, I think we’ll be OK. But you never know how they come out of plebe summer. Did they lose the pop in their leg?
* Niumatalolo said Justin Haan, who spent last year on a religious mission, will rejoin the Mids and is a strong candidate to handle the kickoff duties this season.
* Sophomore cornerback Togasii Peko opted to end his football career but will remain in school. Peko was a third-stringer on the depth chart.
—- Patrick Stevens