Navy and Air Force meet this Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in the first leg of the Commander…
Navy Plebe Will Be a Factor Against Air Force
"I took my official visit to Air Force, but I felt when I came here…I was really attracted by the brotherhood and what this team had to offer as a group," said Beltran. "I really liked that. At Air Force it was more of a ‘do your own thing' and (when) you graduate and that was it."
"When I came here I talked to people like Ricky (Dobbs) and Wyatt (Middleton) and they treated me like a brother before I got here. That was the biggest difference to me," he continued. "Even when you are done playing football, you still have the brotherhood. It's a good feeling."
Beltran also received interest from Army, but in the end he chose to come to play for the Midshipmen.
In three games this season, the freshman is averaging 37.6 yards on 7 punts which includes three kicks which were downed inside the 20 yard line. Beltran's longest effort of the season was a 54-yard punt against Western Kentucky.
The Texas native is well aware of what is on the line this Saturday.
"Obviously the biggest game of the year is Army-Navy, but right behind it is Air Force. The last couple of years, (the Commander in Chief's Trophy) has come down to us and Air Force," said Beltran.
The Texas native is also aware of the recent history between the Falcons and Midshipmen and the important role special teams has played in the outcome including a critical blocked punt which propelled the Air Force to a 14-6 victory last season.
"I've watched film of last year. The blocked punt turned the game around. I am hoping that doesn't happen this year," he said. "Special teams is going to be a huge part because it's always been a close game."
"We definitely didn't have our best game against Western Kentucky – we made a couple of mistakes and that could have been the difference against a great team like Air Force," he cautioned.
Because of Navy's ball controlling triple option offense, Beltran knows that there will be games where he is rarely called upon to punt – like against South Carolina when the Mids only punted once. However, he has learned the importance of staying ready regardless of how much time the offense seems to spend on the field.
"Last year at NAPS, I went in and dropped the snap because I wasn't ready to go in and catch the ball," acknowledged Beltran. "You have to stay ready."
To stay ready, when Navy's offense has the ball on their own side of the field, Beltran and fellow freshman (and long snapper) Joe Cardona practice snapping and holding the ball after each play. If the offensive drive makes it across the 50-yard line, their routine changes to place kicking because in addition to punting, Beltran is also the holder for the Mids.
Therefore, unless there is a combination of unthinkable events and Navy neither punts or scores, Beltran will have an impact on the outcome of one of the biggest games of the season.
One player on the Air Force team who will most likely be watching Beltran's performance closely will be fellow Humble, Texas native and Falcons cornerback Freddie Blow. Blow is currently on the junior varsity team for the Falcons but the two friends have stayed in touch.
"Freddie is one of my best friends but I haven't talked to him in a couple of days," said Beltran. "We probably won't talk for a couple of weeks," joked Beltran, referring to their new status as "friendly enemies."
As far as support in Annapolis, when asked how he would like his fellow plebes to help out this Saturday, Beltran had a message for all of them.
"We need them to be loud. The Brigade has been great this season, and Saturday we will need all the help we can get."
GoMids.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Week 12 Key Matchups
Dr. Roto highlights each and every game upcoming for Week 12 and a Fantasy matchup to monitor within. Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (pictured above) makes his return against the less-than-stellar…Read More
The 10 Biggest Anti-Knife Cities In The U.S.
If you're a hunter or an outdoorsman like us, chances are you carry some sort of pocket knife or multi-tool with a blade at all times. If you visit some of these cities your every-day tool could put…Read More
OU's Perine rushes into record books
Norman has seen a lot of special days, but few will compare to what Samaje Perine did Saturday in rushing for 427 yards and five touchdowns.Read More
6 Biggest Man-to-Man Rivalries in Sports
From Pierce and Lebron to Peyton and Tom to Ali and Frazier, we're celebrating love/hate on and off the field of play.Read More
Apache Administers Death to Taliban (VIDEO)
The Apache helicopter is one of the most famed and efficient killing machines in the U.S Army. Get the skinny on this 'steel dragon' and watch what one does to a platoon of Taliban fighters in…Read More
- American Athletic Conference Standings & Navy's future
- Navy Classic Wrestling Tournament - Saturday Nov. 22
- Coach KN is the highest paid non-Big 5 coach in NCAA
- ESPN All Access program on Navy football
- Service Selections for - Class of 2015