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Highlights From the Navy Football Luncheon

Coach Ken Niumatalolo hosts a luncheon that's open to fans of the program on the Tuesday before big games (season opener, Air Force, Notre Dame, Army). Here are some highlights from today's edition:

Niumatalolo praised offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper for the "Dr. Phil-type coaching job" that he did with quarterback Ricky Dobbs last week. The usually upbeat Dobbs was understandably upset following his performance against Pittsburgh, and Jasper found a way to help him improve without breaking him down. Dobbs rebounded with a terrific performance against Western Kentucky.

Navy's past six games against Air Force have been decided by a total of 33 points, and one reason behind the Midshipmen's success is their confidence, and their ability to flourish and make big plays under pressure. "In critical spots, our stars have stepped up," said Niumatalolo, who then rattled off the names of former standouts Kyle Eckel, Adam Ballard, Reggie Campbell, Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada — all of whom had big games against the Falcons.

Niumatalolo said that he expects outside linebackers Ram Vela and Clint Sovie to be able to play on Saturday, which would allow Wyatt Middleton to shift back to his normal spot at rover. With Middleton playing outside linebacker against WKU, Navy played its safeties pretty deep; said Niumatalolo, "We would not be that conservative if Wyatt was back there."

Niumatalolo was asked if he's able to properly evaluate the strength of Air Force, considering that the Falcons' three victories have come against lesser opponents (division I-AA Nicholls State, New Mexico and San Diego State). "Sometimes you can get paralysis by analysis," Niumatalolo said. "With our new video systems, we can break down everything, from formation to tendencies, all the things that they do. Sometimes you've got to throw that stuff out the window, from the standpoint of I don't really look at the win-losses. If they came in there 0-4 or 4-0, I wouldn't look at it, because I think in rivalry games that doesn't matter…. It's important for us to look at some of the core things of who they are, and they're a very, very good football team."

By Camille Powell  |  September 29, 2009; 5:12 PM ET
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Next: Wednesday Morning Links (9.30.09)


Thanks for the info on the luncheon, and the great Mids coverage in general this season.

Posted by: kevharb | September 30, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

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