Opponent Watch: 2018 Navy


They racked up the miles with Hawaii(HI), Air Force(CO), Notre Dame(CA) but still that is alot of traveling.

I think it’s part of their training to become a naval/marine officer.

I saw that Gladchuk said he wouldn’t schedule Hawaii again if he had known they were going to travel so much this season.

Which begs the question…how did he not know?



The Midshipmen must replace seven starters on offense and six on defense with wide receiver, slotback and linebacker among the positions hit particularly hard.

Navy must completely rebuild the wide receiver corps as starters Tyler Carmona and Craig Scott along with backups Terrence Laster and Brandon Colon will all be graduating.

But the biggest on-field question is not a position, one player or a style of play. It comes down to mistakes: penalties and turnovers.

In Niumatalolo’s first 10 seasons, Navy finished No. 1 or No. 2 in fewest penalties per game. Last year, it was No. 8, and that was costly.

“Most people would say, ‘No. 8 is good,’ but for us, that gets us lost,” he said. “We’re driving to score against Army and have two illegal procedures that take us back from field-goal range. We normally don’t do those things.”

Navy Midshipmen
Head coach: Ken Niumatalolo (84-48, 12th year)

2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-6 (69th)

Projected 2018 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-6 (85th)

Five key points:

Navy is holding its own in the AAC, but a particularly hard schedule and a few extra passing-downs struggles dimmed 2017.

The Midshipmen somehow return two different 1,000-yard rushers at QB, but junior Malcolm Perry is a star in the making. He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards while playing slotback for a majority of the season.

Perry needs a bit more help from his slot men and wide receivers, though.

The defense rebounded in 2017 and appears to have balanced experience levels. There are some play-makers to replace, though.

The schedule lightens up a bit this year. They’re probably a couple of steps behind Memphis and Houston, but bet on another eight- or nine-win season.


O’Brien rarely had a full complement of defensive backs at his disposal as a variety of injuries caused multiple players to miss most practices. Rising junior cornerback Noruwa Obanor missed all of spring camp because he was recovering from offseason surgery. Two other top corners – rising seniors Jarid Ryan and John Gillis – also missed considerable practice time with nagging ailments.

“At one point we only had three corners practicing,” bemoaned O’Brien, the secondary coach.

Things weren’t much better at safety with two members of the pre-spring depth chart – current freshmen Kerrick Jones and Mike Cabrera – limited for most of the 15 practices. Classmate Evan Fochtman showed some things early, but he suffered an injury that required surgery about midway through.

“I’ve been proud of the safety group because we’ve been rolling three or four guys most of the spring,” O’Brien said. “We’ve really pushed the guys that were available and asked them to take a lot of reps.”

“The network, Navy and the AAC announced a 10-year agreement that will keep CBS Sports Network the home of Navy football through the 2027 season on Wednesday. CBS Sports Network will televise the majority of Navy home football games, including the Air Force at Navy game.”


Outlook: Normally when a team loses half of its production from the previous season, it’s a cause for concern. But Navy isn’t most teams. The Midshipmen have always embraced the next-man-up mantra to its fullest. They will need players stepping into new roles to make a smooth transition in order for the team to exceed expectations in AAC play.


Both the men’s and women’s basketball head coaches have been told they cannot replace assistants who departed. Other jobs in the athletic department have been eliminated.

Varsity head coaches have been directed to earmark a percentage of summer camp proceeds to the Naval Academy Athletic Association and each sport’s budget was sliced by 15 percent. Retirement plans have been altered to reduce that line item expense.

The Capital spoke to more than a dozen current or former employees of the Naval Academy Athletic Association to paint an accurate picture of the budget.

Multiple individuals who attended a mandatory meeting of all varsity head coaches have stated that Gladchuk cited a $5 million deficit as reason for the belt-tightening. That figure was also included in a subsequent letter sent to select NAAA employees.

If this doesn’t lead to coach N’s departure for BYU or elsewhere, maybe Hawai’i, then nothing will.

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I could see him in BYU if they don’t improve and fire their coach. He turned them down the last time, but if Navy struggles with some of the things they did last year (discipline mainly) then he might be ready to go. He’s been interviewing at quite a few places the last few years, just hasn’t gotten the job for whatever reason.

I think some of it is schools getting cold feet about his style of offense.

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Could be…triple option, if it isn’t working, isn’t exactly crowd pleasing.



This is really a scheduling screw-job if you ask me.

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“I think you have to get ready for both Abey and Perry, which is a challenge because they are very different quarterbacks,” Tulsa head coach Phil Montgomery said. “Abey is a strong, powerful runner while Perry is more of a speed threat. It’s a difficult offense to defend to begin with and having to gameplan for two quarterbacks just adds another layer.”