NAVY FOOTBALL 2020 SEASON PREVIEW: RENT DUE
Navy finished the 2019 season with a school record 11-2 record, the Commander In Chief’s trophy and a Liberty Bowl win over Kansas State. Matching that success won’t be easy. Malcolm Perry is trying to make the Miami Dolphins and several other pieces won’t be back but the Mids usually find a way to get the job done. Coach Ken Niumatalolo made the decision not to hit before the season to help contain the spread of Covid 19. That means the team’s first live action will be in the opener against BYU.
On offense senior Dalen Morris beat out sophomore Perry Olsen for the starting quarterback spot. Olsen was second string last season and considered the favorite to start before preseason camp started. At fullback the tag team of Nelson Smith and Jamale Carothers returns. Last season they combined for 1,322 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. Depth at slotback is a question mark for for 2020. Two contributors from last season decided not to play for Covid reasons so after seniors Myles Fells and CJ Williams there isn’t a lot of game experience. Former receiver Chance Warren has been brought in after a stop at quarterback to help out. Mychal Cooper and Ryan Mitchell return at receiver. Cooper will be looking to build on an 18 catch sophomore season. His 6-5 frame makes him an end zone threat. Team captain Billy Honker will anchor the offensive line at right tackle.
Seven starters return on defense led by linebacker Diego Fagot. The junior had 100 tackles last season and was one of the leaders on a vastly improved group. Senior Mike Flowers will be tasked with replacing Jackson Pittman at nose guard, Those are big shoes to fill as Pittman will go down as the best to play that position at Navy, He capped off his career by putting on a show vs Army West Point, He spent the whole game in the backfield disrupting the Black Knight’s running game. Flowers will be joined by returning starters J’arius Warren and team captain Jackson Perkins on the defensive line. There will be a position change as Perkins moves inside from defensive end to tackle. The biggest question on defense is at striker where the three returning players with game experience all decided to transfer. Senior Austin Talbert-Loving is the leader to start this season. The majority of his playing time has been on special teams in his career. The secondary has a chance to be good with seniors Micah Farrar & team captain Cameron Kinley at corner. Kevin Brennan and local product Evan Fochtman are returning starters at safety. Year two in Defensive Coordinator Brian Newberry’s system means more big plays are ahead.
Kicker Bijan Nichols also returns for his sophomore season. He went 12-17 on field goals and made 98% of his PAT attempts. The team has decided this year’s mantra will be “Rent Due.” Another slogan they are using is “success isn’t owned it’s leased.” Basically you have to pay your dues every day to stay in the house and be part of the team.
After BYU the schedule continues with the American Athletic Conference opener at Tulane on the 19th of September and Temple at home on the 26th. October starts with the CIC trophy opener at Air Force on the 3rd. The Falcons only have Army and Navy on their 2020 schedule after the Mountain West canceled their season and their traditional FCS opener was also canceled. AAC action continues on the 17th with a trip to Est Carolina. Houston comes to Annapolis on the 24th and SMU will be the opponent on Halloween in Dallas. The home schedule rounds out with Tulsa on November 7th and Memphis on the 14th.. A trip to Tampa to play South Florida rounds out AAC action. As always the regular season concludes with Army West Point on December 12th. Right now that game is scheduled for Philadelphia.