At Last, Greg Zingler Gets His Chance
Running into the end zone to complete a two-point conversion isn't exactly how Greg Zingler thought he'd score his first points at Navy. When he left Severna Park High School, Zingler figured that he would one day be running and throwing for touchdowns as the Midshipmen's quarterback.
But Zingler spent his first three seasons as the scout team quarterback, and is listed as the third-string quarterback this fall behind junior Ricky Dobbs and sophomore Mike Stukel. He is the holder for place kicker Joe Buckley. In Navy's 32-14 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Zingler scored on a two-point conversion run in the second quarter.
"I think my role the past three years has been more of a vocal, inspirational role," Zingler said. "To see that transfer a little bit more to an on-field role, even if it's just holding field goals, is a great opportunity."
In Zingler's two full seasons as a starting quarterback at Severna Park, the Falcons ran the triple option and studied a lot of Navy game film. As a senior, he ran for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns and passed for 1,364 yards and 15 touchdowns, leading Severna Park to 10 wins.
When Zingler got to Navy in the fall of 2006, he was one of several quarterback recruits. But one of them left the academy, another switched to baseball and a third, Bobby Doyle, moved to slotback.
"Once those guys left, and I was the last one, I figured that when Jarod [Bryant] and Kaipo [Kaheaku-Enhada] left, I'd get a chance," said Zingler, who made a brief appearance at quarterback against SMU in 2008. "But Ricky came in and with the team's success, we started bringing in better and better talent. Ricky had his chance, and he took the most of it. He's definitely developed into a great option quarterback."
Zingler, whose father and two uncles are academy graduates, considered giving up football last season to focus on academics — he's majoring in mechanical engineering — but ultimately decided to stay. "I was able to kind of put my frustration and some of my selfish goals aside and start thinking about how the team is doing and enjoying the time out here with the guys," he said.
When Buckley won the kicking job, Zingler was named the holder, since he had worked with Buckley throughout the preseason (Doyle was the holder for Jon Teague). Zingler was on the field for three extra points against Ohio State, and then he got a chance to run for a two-point conversion against Louisiana Tech.
Navy planned the two-point conversion after watching film and noticing that Louisiana Tech would overload the weak side in an attempt to block kicks. Zingler was to take the snap and run, with the option of pitching the ball to Buckley. Assistant coach Ashley Ingram told Zingler that the end would most likely follow Buckley, leaving Zingler to walk into the end zone. But after watching film, Zingler figured that he would be pursued, so he told Buckley to be ready.
"Even Saturday, I was like, 'Joe, he's going to come take me and I'm going to pitch you the ball,' " Zingler said. "And he did, and for some reason I blacked out or froze up or whatever. I was thankful I was able to get into the end zone and not make Coach look like it was a bad call. That would've been devastating on my part. The guys have been giving me a hard time about it. But I'm just glad it worked out."
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