- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2001

ANNAPOLIS So far, Navy's football season has been about bad starts.

The Midshipmen's 0-6 record jumps to mind immediately. But that mark could have been different had Navy not played so poorly in the first halves of its last three games. In losses to Air Force, Rice and Rutgers, the Mids were outscored 59-15 combined in the first half but outscored their opponents 33-9 after halftime.

"We've got to give ourselves the opportunity in the second half to win football games," said Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie, whose team has gone 1-17 since the start of the 2000 season. "… I think we're not executing in the first half. Defensively, we're giving up things we shouldn't be, and offensively we're shooting ourselves with penalties and turnovers."

Focusing also has been a problem, with some Mids saying world events have become somewhat of a distraction.

"We have to come out aggressive and confident," said junior cornerback Clyde Clark, who got back his starting role when senior Marcus Jackson left the team for personal reasons before the Boston College game Sept. 22. "[The slow starts] could be several things. It could be the feel of the game at the moment. It could be we're caught up in different thoughts. …

"The academy itself [is not conducive] for athletes. There's a lot of things going on in our lives that affect our focus on the games. That's especially true right now."

Even a good start might not help the Mids on Saturday against Toledo at the Glass Bowl. The Rockets fell out of the Associated Press rankings this week after suffering their first loss of the season, 24-20 at Ball State Saturday, but come into the game ranked ninth in scoring offense at 38.67 points a game. Navy hasn't scored more than 26 points in a game this season.

Security update

The academy was reopened to the general public last week with some restrictions.

Visitors must show a photo ID to enter campus during visiting hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but only vehicles with Department of Defense decals will be admitted through the gates. While this won't affect Navy's remaining football game against Tulane on Nov. 10, anyone who wants to attend sporting events on campus including basketball games at Alumni Hall must park in public parking areas in Annapolis. Visitors then can walk or take a shuttle to the venues. The shuttles will run after hours for any night games.

Navy officials didn't know how long the restrictions will last.

Injury report

Weatherbie said senior linebacker Jake Bowen, one of the team captains, could return to action Saturday. Bowen has been out with a sprained left foot since the 70-7 loss to Georgia Tech on Sept. 8.

Senior defensive tackle Matt Berger (MCL tear in left knee), junior fullback Bryce McDonald (broken right hand) and senior fullback Raheem Lambert (torn meniscus in left knee) will not play.

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