Navy College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Navy Biggest Key: Offense
You know … the running game. It’s Navy. It has to work.
The 2019 version of the Navy offense ran for over 300 yards ten times and failed to get to 280 yards just once in 13 games.
Last year? Navy ran for over 200 yards four times and over 280 just once. Shock of shocks for a team that doesn’t throw, when the offense isn’t rumbling for a gajillion yards, bad things happen.
Navy 3-1 when it ran for 200 yards or more and 0-6 when it ran for fewer. You have to go back to early of 2017 for the last time Navy won a game when going under 200 yards – 23-21 over Tulane, going 0-11 since then when not getting to two bills.
The quarterback situation has to be solid from the start, the line has to be more physical and consistent, and the home runs have to come on the outside.
You know … Navy football.
Navy Biggest Key: Defense
The pass rush has to return.
There wasn’t even a lick of pressure last year when star LB Diego Fagot wasn’t doing something big. It didn’t help that 2019 leading sacker Jacob Springer wasn’t around, but he only accounted for eight the team’s 30 sacks that came from 14 different Midshipmen.
Instead of 30 sacks and 89 tackles for loss over 13 games the Midshipmen generated just six sacks and 45 tackles for loss in ten games – again, with most of the heavy lifting coming from Fagot.
The defense as a whole has to be nastier and more consistent, but being more disruptive is a big part of that.
Navy Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Xavier Arline, Soph.
Or Tai Lavatai, or Jayden Umbarger, or Maasai Maynor. Someone has to take the Navy quarterbacking gig by the horns and make it his. Six different Midshipmen threw more than one pass last season, but obviously for this offense it’s about who can run better.
Tyger Goslin will likely be a slotback, putting the pressure on the 5-9, 165-pound Arline to hold up after running for 210 yards in five games of work. Lightning quick, he might add the spark that was missing.
Navy Key Game To The 2021 Season
Marshall, Sept. 4
Navy was embarrassed out of the gate last season. It looked unprepared, not in football shape – partly because it didn’t get physical in practices – and outclassed in a 55-3 embarrassment against BYU. The team rebounded for a 3-2 start, but it never quite recovered overall – it was a bad tone-setter.
This year, that all has to change at home against Marshall. Lose, and with Air Force, at Houston, UCF, SMU, at Memphis and Cincinnati up next it could be a long, long start to the year.
2020 Navy Fun Stats
– 1st Half Scoring: Opponents 157- Navy 81
– Average Rushing Yards Per Game: Opponents 204.7 – Navy 177.6
– Sacks: Opponents 23 for 123 yards – Navy 6 for 40 yards