Recap of Coach Niumatalolo’s Wednesday Zoom Call
“We are going to practice normally. Touch football is over. Hitting bags is over.” Those are the words of Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo during a Wednesday Zoom call with reporters. “We are the cleanest team in country but we suck at football right now” also sums up his feelings after a blowout loss to BYU on Monday night. During a team meeting on Wednesday he informed the team of his decision and gave the players a final chance to opt out.
Navy lost offensive lineman David Forney this past February. The autopsy showed he died of cardiac arrest. His death came a little over a month after his last game at the Liberty Bowl last New Years Eve. This loss weighed heavily in the decisions Coach Niumatalolo made regarding preseason camp. He felt that after coming back in July, going through a two week quarantine, and not practicing until August that not hitting was the best decision. He also reiterated that he would do the same thing again despite the big loss.
Navy will be hitting more than they would during a normal season to try to get back on track. Offensive coordinator Ivan Jasper will decide which quarterback starts at Tulane based on what happens in the practices leading up to the game. Both Dalen Morris and Perry Olsen struggled behind an offensive line that got dominated on Monday night. Coach Niumatallolo has a reputation for treating his team like they are family and his decisions during the pandemic definitely prove that sentiment.