Navy brings all kinds of trouble


POSTED: Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knowing what to expect from Navy is one thing.

Defending against the Midshipmen and their triple-option offense is quite another.

The Warriors (5-6) have one week to prepare for an offense that bears little—if any—resemblance to the 11 they've previously faced and got to work yesterday afternoon in advance of Saturday's game with the Midshipmen (8-3) at Aloha Stadium.

“;It's the execution of the option,”; Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin said. “;You might have people in the right place, but these guys really execute their technique. The academies are very disciplined, they're full-speed players. I coached at the Naval Academy; I know what kind of players we're playing (against). So we're in for a big challenge.”;

Riding a three-game winning streak to close the Western Athletic Conference season, the Warriors must now shift gears for a Navy offense that ranks third in the country in rushing. The Midshipmen average 282.3 yards per game under the leadership of head coach Ken Niumatalolo and offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, both former Hawaii quarterbacks.

With the Warriors' postseason hopes at stake, focus and discipline during this week's practices become magnified, as those same traits will be tested by Navy on Saturday night.

“;We have to watch a lot of extra film on our own, because it's not a conventional WAC offense,”; safety Spencer Smith said. “;The focus has to be there from everyone.

“;Everyone's got to read their keys and we can get beat mentally. If we get beat mentally, we stand no chance.”;

Smith could tap into a resource back home for some pointers on playing the option.

Smith, a product of Kell High School in Georgia, keeps in touch with former teammate Jonathan Dwyer, now the starting fullback at Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets also run the option under the guidance of Paul Johnson, the former UH offensive coordinator who installed the system at Navy.

“;He's my best friend back home,”; Smith said of Dwyer, the Jackets' leading rusher. “;I watch him whenever I can and he tells me about their practices are and how intense they are. I'm sure that's exactly how Navy practices.”;

In the Warriors' preparation this week, freshman quarterback David Graves will be squarely in their sights as he plays the role of Navy playmaker Ricky Dobbs on the scout team.

“;I ran a lot of option through high school, so I'm going to try to give the defense the best look I can,”; Graves said. “;It's just quickness and precision. The best (option) offenses, the quarterbacks run it clean.”;

Still, it won't be until Saturday night that the Warriors get the full taste of the scheme.

“;I really believe if you can get through the first quarter you're going to be OK,”; McMackin said. “;Because it's the first time you see the speed and the techniques that are involved in the option.

“;You have to get them ready enough, but it's going to be way faster and we can't cut (block) our guys in practice. We work on the technique, but it's slow speed, and it's going to be full speed when we play Navy.”;

Moniz eyeing return

Quarterback Bryant Moniz is planning on being back behind center come Saturday night.

“;It's a gotta-play situation,”; Moniz said yesterday.

After six straight starts, Moniz sat out last week's win at San Jose State after seeing limited practice time while resting his bruised ribs. Shane Austin went the distance and threw for 299 yards in the Warriors' 17-10 overtime win.

As has become the routine, Moniz said he'll take it slow early in the week, then ramp up his repetitions with tomorrow's practice.

McMackin reiterated yesterday that Moniz will retain his starting role if he's healthy.

“;If Bryant is well, which we think he's going to be, then he'll be our starter,”; McMackin said. “;Because I've always believed you don't replace a starter because of an injury. You've picked him as the starter, so he gets his position back when he's ready to go.”;