#51 Navy Football 2015 Preview

Navy Midshipmen

Overall Rank: #51
#2 American

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Navy begins its maiden voyage as a member of the American Athletic Conference after a long extended run as an independent. This move to a conference the caliber of the American Athletic Conference should enhance the ability of the Midshipmen to consistently go to bowl games. This should also help recruiting as now players will have a chance to compete for championships before heading off to defend our freedom after graduation.

2014 Record: 8-5
2014 Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl vs. San Diego State (W 17-16)
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo 57-35 at Navy, 57-35 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Ivin Jasper
Defensive Coordinator: Buddy Green

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Keenan Reynolds, QB, 1,191 yards
Passing: Keenan Reynolds, QB, 843 yards
Receiving: Jamir Tillman, WR, 386 yards
Tackles: Daniel Gonzales, LB, 86
Sacks: Will Anthony, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: Daniel Gonzales, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees:  FB Chris Swain, SB DeBrandon Sanders, LG E.K. Binns, NG Bernie Sarra, LB William Tuider, CB Brendon Clements, CB Quincy Adams, SS Kwazel Bertrand

Key Losses: P Pablo Beltran, DE Paul Quessenberry, LB Jordan Drake, LB Chris Johnson, S Parrish Gaines, FB Noah Copeland, SB Geoffrey Whiteside

The Midshipmen are going to be elite as always with the triple option and running the football. Senior Keenan Reynolds is back at quarterback as the trigger man for the triple option and he will be looking to build upon his 1,191 yard season rushing the football last season. Reynolds also sits as the current record holder for quarterbacks with 64 rushing touchdowns and his experience as a fourth-year starter is going to be invaluable heading into year one of American Athletic Conference play. Defensively, the secondary is going to have to set the tone for a defense that will be rebuilding in the front seven. Opponents only passed for 205.2 yards per game last season and the trio of Brendon Clements, Quincy Adams and strong safety Kwazel Bertrand return to anchor this rock solid secondary.

The quartet of Paul Quessenberry, Jordan Drake, Chris Johnson and Parrish Gaines are going to be very difficult to replace defensively right off the bat. Senior nose guard Bernie Sarra is going to have to be an even greater force at nose guard by occupying multiple linemen to free up his teammates to make plays. Linebacker Daniel Gonzales will also have an even greater role this season as he will have to be the leader of the defense right off the bat. Gonzales had 86 tackles and picked off three passes so the ability is there to be that difference making linebacker. Navy is also going to have to find a way to get more pressure on the quarterback. Defensive end Will Anthony is going to have to elevate his sack totals from a year ago after tallying just 2.5 sacks in 2014. If Anthony can get his sacks numbers up to at least five or six that will be a big step forward for the Midshipmen defensively.

The Bottom Line:
Navy has a pretty good, balanced schedule overall. East Carolina’s visit to Annapolis for the first American Athletic Conference game on September 19th will set the tone for the rest of the season. The Pirates will be reloading as they have to replace quarterback Shane Carden, so it will be a prime opportunity for the Midshipmen to gain confidence defensively. Air Force will visit on October 3rd to kickoff the run to the Commander in Chief Trophy followed by a visit to Notre Dame. This biggest road game in conference play will most likely be at Memphis on November 7th. The Tigers are a fast rising team under Justin Fuente that are going to be very difficult to deal with. Overall, with Reynolds at the control at quarterback, Navy will score points. The challenge is going to defensively and how well they hold up against American Athletic Conference caliber athletes. Bottom line, the Midshipmen will be in the mix for the conference title when November hits.

Projected Bowl: Military Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 338.1 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 81.4 (124, 3)
Total Offense: 419.5 (50, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.8 (43, 3)
Rushing Defense: 198.6 (94, 4)
Pass Defense: 205.2 (31, 1)
Total Defense: 403.8 (70, 2)
Scoring Defense: 27.3 (70, 1)
Turnover Margin: -0.31 (89, 4)
Sacks: 0.62 (124, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.62 (29, 2)


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