#53 Navy Football 2014 Preview

Navy Midshipmen

Overall Rank: #53
#3 FBS Independent

Navy Team Page#53 Navy Football 2014 PreviewBuy Navy Football Tickets

Navy finished strong in 2013, winning their last five contests, including a dominating performance over Middle Tennessee in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Midshipmen will take that momentum and reach another bowl game in 2014. Contests against Ohio State, Notre Dame and Rutgers will be tough, but this team is talented enough to win every other game on the schedule.

2013 Record: 9-4
2013 Bowl: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Middle Tennessee (W 24-6)
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (49-30 at Navy, 49-30 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ivin Jasper
Defensive Coordinator: Buddy Green

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Keenan Reynolds, QB, 1,346 yards
Passing: Keenan Reynolds, QB, 1,057 yards
Receiving: DeBrandon Sanders, SB, 805 yards
Tackles: Chris Johnson, LB, 84
Sacks: Jordan Drake, LB, 3.0
Interceptions: Brendon Clements, CB, 3; Chris Johnson, LB, 3; Parrish Gaines, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: FB Noah Copeland, FB Chris Swain, SB Geoffrey Whiteside, OL Jake Zuzek, OL Tanner Fleming, DL Paul Quessenberry, CB Brendon Clements, P Pablo Beltran

Key Losses: FB Darius Staten, LB Cody Peterson, LB D.J. Sargenti, DB Wave Ryder, DE Evan Palelei, KR Marcus Thomas

Last year was one of the best offense performances in Navy history. They rushed for over 325 yards per game and there is no reason to believe that 2014 will not be even better. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds rushed for 1,346 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also added eight more touchdowns through the air. Reynolds is turning into an amazing player and leader of the triple option. If he keeps improving like he did throughout the last year and a half, Reynolds will find a spot in the long and storied history of Navy quarterbacks. Returning other talent in the backfield will help his cause. The Midshipmen had six other players who rushed between 330 and 420 yards last season and five of them are back. Fullbacks Noah Copeland, Quinton Singleton and Chris Swain will likely share carries again this year, with slotbacks DeBrandon Sanders and Geoffrey Whiteside joining the mix. With a very experienced offensive line, led by Jake Zuzek and Tanner Fleming, this will be a great year to watch how a triple option offense is designed to work.

The defense has some big time playmakers to replace; most notable is at linebacker where Cody Peterson and D.J. Sargenti are gone after leading the team with 142 and 110 tackles, respectively. Jordan Drake and Don Pearson are big linebackers who can tackle, but it remains to be seen if they can effectively replace Peterson and Sargenti. The concern up front is depth. Nose guard Bernard Sarra and ends Paul Quessenberry and Will Anthony have talent and experience, but this is a team that needs to rotate players in and out of the line on a regular basis. Finding depth behind those starters is going to be a major issue. The secondary should be in pretty good hands with the return of Brendon Clements, Kwazel Bertrand and Parrish Gaines. Gaines, a senior safety, tallied 65 tackles last season and picked off three passes. If Lonnie Richardson can replace rover Wave Ryder, the secondary will be the strength of the defense.

The Bottom Line:
This is the last season for Navy as an Independent. They are moving to the American Athletic Conference in 2015 and the schedule will be much more balanced. But for now, Navy should be eyeing another nine win season. Teams like San Jose State and Air Force had little success stopping the offense in 2013 and the story should be the same in 2014. If the defense can replace those key losses and find some more quality depth across the board, this could be a special season in Annapolis.

Projected Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 325.4 (2nd in nation, 1st of Independents)
Passing Offense: 85.9 (122, 5)
Total Offense: 411.3 (61, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.5 (35, 1)
Rushing Defense: 178.8 (79, 3)
Pass Defense: 215.9 (37, 3)
Total Defense: 394.8 (57, 3)
Scoring Defense: 24.4 (40, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.9 (12, 1)
Sacks:  0.85 (122, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (29, 2)


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