ANNAPOLIS —- A week before the start of spring practice, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said he was looking forward to getting his entire roster plenty of full-contact work.
That meant starting quarterback Trey Miller would be absorbing some hits.
Well, not for long.
During Friday’s practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Miller was in a green non-contact jersey and will remain in one for the remaining dozen practice sessions over the next three weeks.
The rest of Navy’s quarterbacks will still be in full-contact work.
“You always have plans, but you have to have audibles,” Niumatalolo said. “The first couple days watching us, not that I don’t have confidence in John [Hendrick] or both [Cody West and Kody Akers] and Greg [Bryant], but Trey is head and shoulders above the other two guys. I couldn’t sleep at night and I said ‘We’re going to put him in green.’ If he got hurt, we would have two young guys. I just decided we’re not going to get stupid and changed my mind.”
Loosely translated, it’s abundantly clear quarterback is not a position up for grabs at the moment. Miller started one game last season and is the one quarterback on the roster with any game experience. Last year’s third-stringer, Jarvis Cummings, was moved to outside linebacker this spring.
With that established, there’s no reason to place any part of the fall in peril at this time of year, especially for a team coming off a losing season for the first time since 2002. And that’s why Miller won’t absorb much more than a hug from defenders this spring.
“We’ll wrap up in him,” Niumatalolo said. “Everybody else, we’ll be able to tackle. The other teams will be able to tackle against the other quarterbacks. He’s kind of earned his stripes. He was one of the guys who had a live jersey last year and now he’s moved up the ranks.”
—- Patrick Stevens