- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 21, 2002

ANNAPOLIS There are times when Navy left fielder Craig Candeto has to pause on the baseball field and remember where he is.
The sophomore also is Navy's top football quarterback prospect, and sometimes he finds himself meshing the throwing styles of both sports.
"It is a different motion, it really is," said Candeto, who is just one of two Midshipmen to start all 15 games for the 5-10 baseball team. "You bring the baseball a little farther back in your windup, but the football is a lot shorter motion. You really don't think you have to concentrate on throwing, but you have to work with it.
"There are times I catch myself throwing a baseball like a football or vice versa. That's when the coaches will point it out to you, and that's just something you have to be conscious of and really concentrate on because sometimes it doesn't become second nature when you're bouncing back and forth [between sports]."
Candeto came to Annapolis in part so he could play baseball and football full time. This spring, with a new football coaching staff in place, Candeto had to reassess his two-sport status. He made a commitment to first-year coach Paul Johnson to attend every spring football practice, beginning Monday, even if it meant missing baseball. But Candeto has no plans of giving up either sport.
Of the 15 practices for the football team this spring, five correspond with baseball game days. Candeto probably will miss three of those games. As a baseball player, he is second on the team in batting average (.279), total bases (24) and steals (six), and first in hits (17).
"I sat down with Coach Johnson a couple of times and kind of looked at the schedule to see what he wanted," Candeto said. "I had [baseball] Coach [Steve] Whitmyer talk to Coach Johnson about some things, and we worked some things out to see where each coach stood on the issue. It was kind of like starting over again."
Johnson is not ready to make any commitments concerning starting positions for the football team. Johnson will install his one-back option offense Monday and then evaluate the players he has. There will be no five-wide-receiver or shotgun sets this season (last year's coaching staff implemented a spread offense), and he said it is very possible that many players will switch positions this spring.
"The whole thing is wide open," said Johnson, who coached Georgia Southern from 1997 to 2001 and won Division I-AA national titles in 1999 and 2000. "Craig is committed to be at every practice. Hopefully, Craig Candeto can come out on day one and hit a home run, and get locked in [to the quarterback position]."
Johnson has applied his no-nonsense attitude, and the Midshipmen, winless last year, have begun to see a difference.
Johnson installed a 5:30 a.m. running regimen in early March. On the first day, he identified a "country club atmosphere" that he wouldn't tolerate.
"That first day, we did horrible, and he let us know," junior Chandler Sims said. "There were comments made [by Johnson]: 'I can't believe you guys are like this it's a D-I football program.' And today it was better. And it meant something now."
Notes
Quarterback Brian Madden, who missed the 2000 season with a knee injury, dropped his request for another year of eligibility. He will graduate in May. … Brandon Rampani, who was Navy's leading receiver in 2000 but not enrolled in school last year, will play in 2002. He was suspended by the academy after breaking codes of conduct but reapplied for admission, and was reinstated in January. … Gene Reese, a key contributor for the Mids the past two seasons, voluntarily resigned from the academy for personal reasons.


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