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Blue & Gold scrimmage highlights

Known for its productive triple-option rushing attack, Navy used yesterday's Blue & Gold scrimmage to work on the passing game. That caught several players by surprise, including slotbacks Gee Gee Greene, Bo Snelson and Andre Byrd, all of whom are accustomed to taking pitches on the move rather than catching balls out of the backfield.

Still, those slotbacks excelled as receivers. Greene, a sophomore, had a 65-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Ricky Dobbs, and Snelson, another sophomore competing for playing time at slotback, had two catches for 13 yards, including a touchdown from Dobbs.

"It seemed liked we almost threw the ball more than we ran the ball," said Byrd, a senior who had four receptions for 58 yards. "Ricky has a great arm, and he has good decision-making skills, so they want to put the ball in his hands and our hands in the open field. I'm in for it."

Navy quarterbacks combined to go 23 of 39 for 321 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Dobbs finished 10 of 20 for 179 yards and two touchdowns, although he had an interception.

Yesterday's scrimmage was open to the public, and Navy's coaches were well aware there could have been scouts from the University of Maryland in attendance. That might explain the heavy dose of passing so as not to reveal too many intricacies of the triple-option. The Midshipmen open the season on Sept. 6 against the Terrapins at M&T Bank Stadium.

"You know as coaches we're paranoid," Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo said when asked about the play-calling. "We're paranoid about everything, so we didn't show too much today on both sides of the ball. Just try to be very basic, very simple, because after this we're going to start closing things."

The offense did have issues with penalties, most notably a handful of false starts. Navy was the least penalized team in the country last season, and with a run-heavy offense designed to move down the field methodically, long-yardage situations are especially difficult to overcome.

On defense, junior linebacker Max Blue led the way with seven tackles, and freshman nose guard Barry Dabney had six. The defense had 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. Sophomore cornerback De'Von Richardson had the only interception.

Among the major position concerns Navy coaches want to address during training camp is at linebacker, where Tyler Simmons is the only player with extensive experience. The first-team linebackers for the opening series of the scrimmage consisted of Simmons and Caleb King on the inside and Jerry Hauburger and Aaron McCauley on the outside. On a subsequent series, Collin Sturdivant had a chance to work with the first team at outside linebacker.

"Every missed tackle is a bad missed tackle," defensive coordinator Buddy Green said of his entire unit, not only the linebackers. "I saw a few. Just poor body position. We've got watch the film. They ran to the ball and had some hustle today. They don't understand the level we yet we've got to play."

Navy gets back to practice tomorrow morning at 7 with another session at 4 p.m. There will be another two-practice day on Wednesday and a scrimmage on Friday that is closed to the public.

By Gene Wang  |  August 15, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Gee Gee Greene , Ken Niumatalolo , Ricky Dobbs , Tyler Simmons  
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