#49 Navy Football 2016 Preview

Navy Midshipmen
Overall Rank: #49
#2 American
Navy had a fantastic 2015 season, winning 11 games and making a significant splash during their first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference. The Midshipmen also came very close to losing their head coach Ken Niumatalolo to Brigham Young, but Coach Niumatalolo chose to stay in Annapolis which is fantastic news for the program moving forward.
2015 Record: 11-2, 7-1
2015 Bowl: Military Bowl vs. Pittsburgh (W44-28)
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (68-37 at Navy, 68-37 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ivan Jasper
Defensive Coordinator: Dale Pehrson
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dishan Romine, RB, 378 yards
Passing: Tago Smith, QB, 30 yards
Receiving: Jamir Tillman, WR, 597 yards
Tackles: Micah Thomas, LB, 73
Sacks: Kevin McCoy, DE, 2.5; Micah Thomas, LB, 2.5
Interceptions: Brendon Clements, CB, 6
Other Key Returnees: LB David Gonzales, DE Amos Mason
Key Losses: RB Chris Swain, RB DeBrandon Sanders, QB Keenan Reynolds, OL E.K. Binns, OL Joey Gaston, S Lorentez Barbour, CB Quincy Adams, DL Will Anthony
The defense is going to have to lead the way in 2016 for Navy as that is where the majority of the experience lies on this roster. Brendon Clements is the top returning playmaker in the secondary as Clements intercepted six passes. It will be important for Clements and the rest of the defense to cause turnovers early on the season to give the offense some shorter fields to work with. The entire starting linebacker group is back for the 2016 season. Micah Thomas is the leading returning tackler with 73. David Gonzales is going to be another key player at linebacker to watch as he had 65 tackles last season. If Gonzales can stay healthy for an entire season, he could make a run at 100 tackles. Jamir Tillman is the only starter that returns for the offense in 2016. Tillman is a playmaker that makes the most of his opportunities at wide receiver in this run-heavy triple option offense. Don’t be surprised if you see a little more emphasis on throwing the ball early on in the season to keep opposing defenses honest.
With the departure of one of the greatest leaders and players in program history in Keenan Reynolds, the offense has a significant challenge ahead of them in 2016. Now, if you add in the fact that the offensive unit returns just one starter, the beginning of the 2016 season could be a very challenging one while the offense comes together as a unit. Also, now teams in the American Athletic Conference have a year of game film to draw from as far as preparing for the triple option is concerned. There is also some work to do along the defensive line as nose guard Bernie Sarra and left end Will Anthony have graduated. Amos Mason should have a golden opportunity to increase his production at right end as he showed some signs of being a potential playmaker last season.
The Bottom Line:
There is a standard of excellence in place with Navy over the past 13 seasons that will set the Midshipmen up for another pretty good season in 2016. The month of September is not overly challenging and should give Navy plenty of time to get ready for the trip to Air Force on October 1st. Houston visits on October 8th in what will be a golden opportunity for the Midshipmen to shock the college football world if they can beat the Cougars. A neutral site battle with Notre Dame on November 5th in Jacksonville along with season finale against Army are always signature games on the Navy schedule that will be highly entertaining win or lose. If the defense can stay healthy and play aggressively, they will give the Midshipmen plenty of opportunities to win games all year long. Look for about an eight win regular season with a chance for nine if they can pull an upset against a Houston or Notre Dame.
Projected Bowl: Armed Forces Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 326.7 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 98.5 (125, 12)
Total Offense: 425.2 (48, 6)
Scoring Offense: 36.8 (22, 4)
Rushing Defense: 143.0 (32, 4)
Pass Defense: 221.9 (62, 4)
Total Defense: 364.9 (40, 3)
Scoring Defense: 21.8 (26, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.46 (3, 2)
Sacks: 1.69 (91, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.08 (9, 1)


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