- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — There’s nothing atypical about Navy defensive end Paul Quessenberry’s preparation this week. He’s scouring tape of San Jose State’s offensive linemen, trying to find a tendency or weakness to exploit when the teams meet Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

There is one strikingly different element, though. His older brother David is the Spartans’ starting left tackle.

“It is definitely a weird feeling,” Paul Quessenberry said. “I never really played against him in anything serious in my life. Back at school, maybe a little pickup basketball or something like that. It’s definitely a little strange because it’s on such a bigger scale.”

There is no discounting the importance of Saturday for the Midshipmen (1-2), who have followed up blowout losses to Notre Dame and Penn State with a predictable pummeling of VMI. San Jose State (3-1) arguably provides the first bellwether test for Navy.

Yet the Quessenberry family’s game within a game is just as fascinating, especially considering the two self-made players involved.

David Quessenberry joined the Spartans as a walk-on, eventually adding about 70 pounds and earning a scholarship. He’s started 28 of San Jose State’s past 29 games and was a second-team all-Western Athletic Conference pick a year ago.

“He’s a real tough dude,” Paul said. “Nothing was given to him. He went up there and had a mindset he wanted to earn it, and he worked his butt off. Now it’s all worked out for him.”

While David’s story is inspiration to Paul and their youngest brother, Scott, a high school senior who 247Sports ranks fourth among all class of 2013 centers, Paul has made his own strides.

While not as big as his older brother — David is 6-foot-6 and Paul is 6-foot-2 — Paul found the outside linebacker spot in Navy’s defense an appealing fit for his style of play during his recruitment. The Mids, though, felt Quessenberry might not play much this season at linebacker, opting instead to move him to defensive end before camp.

It got Quessenberry on the field, where he has five tackles in three games. Yet it also set up the possibility of a head-to-head matchup with his brother, who did a little scouting of his own this week.

“It was just seeing how far he has developed,” David Quessenberry said. “The last time I really watched him play was in high school, and to watch him play and just the way he moves and how hard he plays and how big he is, it’s really impressive to think how far he’s come the last couple years.”

Paul Quessenberry bulked up to 245 pounds at the end of the summer, though he’s down to 240 after camp and the first month of the season. He’s provided Navy with a spark on a unit that entered the season with few sure things and offered a hint of a promising future along the way.

“He plays hard every play,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “He’s relentless. He doesn’t give up. He plays the way we want our guys to play, just a thousand miles an hour. We’re hoping that kind of permeates and perpetuates itself with other guys on our team.”

For Saturday, though, there will be an undercurrent of familiarity for the Quessenberrys. Their father, David, is a 1980 graduate of the Naval Academy. Both the younger David and Paul suggested their mother would don a shirt offering support for Navy on one side and San Jose State on the other.

And a family that often travels from their Carlsbad, Calif., home to games, including Paul’s season opener in Ireland earlier this month and David’s home opener a week later, will have the rare chance to see two sons play at once.

“I imagine my whole family is going to be cheering for both of us,” Paul Quessenberry said. “If I make a play, they’ll be happy for me. If my brother’s playing good, they’ll be happy for him as well.”

As for the guys on the field? Paul said he and David have spoken as they normally do this week and figure to seek each other out immediately afterward.

Awkwardness aside, though, both have priorities during the game.

“We’re brothers on and off the field above anything else,” David Quessenberry said. “When we’re both competing, we’re trying to come out there and win. I’m going to go my hardest, and I’m sure he’ll do the same, and I wouldn’t expect anything less than that.”

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