The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Navy Midshipmen.
No. 73: Navy Midshipmen
Spring Game: April 14
Navy Midshipmen Spring Status
Just when it seemed like there was a problem, Navy rolled by Virginia 49-7 in the Military Bowl to stop the slide of six losses in the last seven regular season games – including to Army.
The offense wasn’t nearly as strong as the 2016 version, with the defense having to do more work. But now there’s reason to expect more.
Two starters are done from the offensive line, but quarterbacks Zach Abey and Malcolm Brown form a dangerous 1-2 punch. The system, though, has to come up with the other parts of the backfield to step up and rock.
The defense that was so good against Virginia and late in the season losses six starters, but there’s a good rotation to go around enough excellent pieces.
This is supposed to be a team good enough to win the American Athletic Conference title, but rebuilding enough to beat Army for the first time in a few years is part of this, too.
Navy Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Running back. It depends on how the coaching staff uses Perry – the backfield is deadly with Abey in running the attack and Perry hitting the home runs. FB Chris High is gone alone with four of the other top running backs. The work gets spread around well, but now it’ll be up to a few backs to be ready to do far more.
Navy Biggest Issue
The pass rush has to come. There’s a reason the Midshipmen struggled in the secondary – there wasn’t enough pressure. Navy isn’t big on sending the house into the backfield with just 20 sacks in 2016 and 22 in 2015, but coming up with just 16 isn’t good enough. They were spread out throughout the season, missing a steady presence in the face of quarterbacks.
Navy Biggest Positive
Perry and Abey. Perry is a running back playing quarterback, but Abey led the team with 1,413 yards and 19 scores. When Perry was under center, though, he was an unstoppable machine, hitting Army for 250 yards on 30 carries. Now matter how these two are used, assume a combined 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. A little more from the passing game, though, would be a plus.
Really, Why Are The Navy Midshipmen Ranked Here?
They should actually be a little bit lower, but assume the systems and coaching are sound enough to overcome the lost personnel. The running game will be great again, the defense always prepares playmakers for the front seven, and even with the two starting corners gone, the secondary should be okay. As long as the ground attack rocks, everything else will be fine.