Sunday, August 12, 2007

The two brightest stars for Navy in yesterday’s intrasquad scrimmage might not see the field during the regular season, but they did provide a glimpse of future promise for the Midshipmen.

Freshman quarterback Ricky Dobbs rushed for 63 yards on seven carries, including a short touchdown plunge to cap a 70-yard drive with the second-team offense. Earlier in the scrimmage at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, he piloted a drive with the third-team offense that picked up a couple of first downs but was short-circuited by a dropped pass on third down.

Dobbs, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds and is from Douglasville, Ga., was the starting quarterback last season at the Naval Academy Preparatory School.

“I thought he had a good scrimmage,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s a little bit ahead of the other guys. He kind of knows what is going on.”

Another plebe, slotback Andre Byrd, made several nifty moves near the end of the morning. Byrd, generously listed at 5-7 and 165 pounds, finished with 26 yards on five carries and punctuated a mostly successful day for the offense with a 9-yard touchdown scamper.

“He’s quick. He’s a little bit like Reggie [Campbell] in a lot of ways,” Johnson said. “He made some plays.”

It was a pretty typical first scrimmage for the Mids — flashes of brilliance mixed with more frequent mistakes. Junior quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada directed the first team to a touchdown and two field goals in four possessions. He was 4-for-8 passing for 41 yards and ran for 31 on four carries, including a nifty shake past senior linebacker Irv Spencer for a long gain.

Backups Jarod Bryant and Troy Goss had mixed results. Bryant was 4-for-7 for 57 yards but also was picked off by sophomore cornerback Blake Carter. Goss directed the first-team offense the length of the field, but sophomore nose guard Nate Frazier forced him to fumble near the goal line to end the drive.

Seniors Campbell and Adam Ballard looked ready for the season opener, which is Aug. 31 at Temple. Campbell had 42 yards on five carries and Ballard finished with 57 on 13 attempts, including a 7-yard score.

Frazier led all defenders with 10 tackles. Sophomore linebacker Matt Nechak, who is competing with several players to replace Tyler Tidwell and David Mahoney at outside linebacker, had nine stops and recovered the fumble forced by Frazier.

“We’ve got three or four guys in there, but [Frazier] has definitely established himself as the guy that is the ‘A’ nose,” defensive coordinator Buddy Green said. “He’s been making plays and he can run a little bit.”

Several key players, including center Antron Harper, slotback Shun White and linebacker Clint Sovie, missed the scrimmage because of injury. The secondary was particularly banged up, with three players vying for starting jobs (juniors Rashawn King and Ketric Buffin and sophomore Jesse Iwuji) not participating.

Carter and freshman Wyatt Middleton, who had nine tackles, were standouts.

“I think we had some guys with the ‘B’ group that kind of stood up and showed they need to possibly be fighting for a spot on the ‘A’ group,” Green said.

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