- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2001

Navy football coach Charlie Weatherbie believes his teams make the most progress between the first and second games of the season.

After dropping their opener at Temple, the Midshipmen will have to improve exponentially to beat 10th-ranked Georgia Tech, which visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium today at noon. The Mids have lost 30 straight games against ranked opponents dating back to 1985.

"Our guys will make a ton of improvement," Weatherbie said. "People forget how good [Tech's] defense is because they talk about their offense all the time. Their defense is exceptional… . They don't stay blocked."

This does not bode well for the Mids (0-1), who had trouble blocking the Owls in their season-opening 45-26 loss. Temple totaled three sacks and seven tackles for a loss against Navy's flexbone attack.

Georgia Tech (2-0) will pressure Navy quarterback Craig Candeto often and is disciplined against the run. Tech's two defensive tackles take up a lot of space and demand double teams, opening room for its linebackers to roam and make plays. If Navy cannot block Tech's linebackers, Candeto and backup Ed Malinowski will have a long day running the option.

"Those two defensive ends will be as good as we will play against this year," Weatherbie said. "They have very good quickness, strength. They rush the passer very well, and they do a great job of defeating a block."

Today could be the last opportunity for Candeto and Malinowski to show they have a strong grasp of the offense. With projected starter Brian Madden returning from a two-game suspension next week at Northwestern, Candeto or Malinowski must step up today to guarantee playing time down the road.

Last week, Navy's offense was aided by tremendous field position in the return game. Unfortunately for the Mids, their good starting points all came after Temple touchdowns.

Navy slotback Tony Lane set a school record for kickoff return yardage against the Owls, returning five kicks for 205 yards, including a 67-yarder.

"They returned four kicks for over 40 yards against Temple, so we put some extra time in our kickoff coverage," Tech coach George O'Leary said. "[Lane] has good vision, and he sees the crease and hits it [hard]… . And he has the ability to break to the outside with some speed."

Said Lane, a Georgia native: "[Tech] recruited me for awhile, then they backed away from me. [Today] gives me an exciting chance to prove to them what I can do on the football field."


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