- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 22, 2009

ANNAPOLIS | Navy’s defense was strong in the red zone, yielding no touchdowns Friday in the Midshipmen’s second scrimmage of fall camp.

On the scrimmage’s first drive, the first-string defense stuffed the first-string offense on consecutive plays from the 1-yard line - a fullback dive on second down and a quarterback follow on third down - to force a field goal. On the first-stringers’ second drive, defensive lineman Shane Bothel tipped Ricky Dobbs’ third-and-goal pass to force another field goal.

While being stout in the red zone is a favorable trait for a defense, the coaching staff wasn’t thrilled that the offense was able to drive more than 60 yards in the first place.

“It was good and bad,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “You can say the defense stopped them, but then the offense would have to go 99 yards. It’s a game of field position.”

After thriving through the air in last week’s scrimmage, the Mids marched down the field with their running game Friday. Slotback Mike Stukel had a 38-yard run on a draw play, and receiver Greg Jones gained 30 yards on a reverse.

Backup fullback Jordan Eddington (26 yards on seven carries) played most of the snaps with the first-stringers while starter Alexander Teich rested a minor injury. Eddington, a 6-foot, 225-pound senior who moved from linebacker to fullback in the spring, has since leapfrogged several players on the depth chart.

“I just wish we had moved him earlier,” Niumatalolo said. “The more reps he gets, the better he gets.”

Kicking decision coming soon

As a result of the stalled red zone possessions, the three kickers vying for two roster spots had a chance to make an impression.

Sophomore Jon Teague and junior Joe Buckley were 2-for-2 on field goals; freshman Scott Blasinsky was 1-for-2 with a 42-yarder - the longest of the day.

“Those guys are making it hard,” Niumatalolo said. “They either all miss or they all make it. I thought they all kicked well today. We’re going to probably narrow it down by Monday.”

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