Who was Navy's Offensive MVP?

Kriss Proctor (Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE)

Overall 2011 will be remembered as a disappointing season for the Navy football team. Although they defeated Army in their season finale, most fans will want to forget about what took place on the field in the 11 games that preceded it. Before looking ahead to 2012, I thought it would be appropriate to see who fans thought were the MVPs of the season.

Offensive MVP Candidates

Kriss Proctor: If you look at just the statistics, Navy's senior quarterback would be the no-brainer selection as the team's offensive most valuable player. His 914 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns were team highs for the season. His 787 passing yards and 7 touchdowns through the air also led the team. However after his 176 yard rushing and 3 touchdown performance against Delaware in the opener, for the most part, his season went downhill from there. Without a doubt Navy fans were spoiled for the past two seasons with the throwing ability of Ricky Dobbs, but there was hope that Proctor's arm wouldn't become a liability. Unfortunately, at times, it was just that. Proctor never seemed comfortable in the pocket and most times when the ball left his hands, Navy fans took a deep breath not knowing what to expect. Also a major issue with making Proctor the MVP is his gaffe against Air Force in overtime. Sure, without Proctor's second-half performance Navy probably isn't even in that position, but the senior was responsible for the absolute worst mental mistake of the season and it came at the absolute worst time.

Alexander Teich: Through four games, the senior fullback was amongst the leaders in the nation averaging over 100 yards per game and an equally impressive 5.16 yards per rush. He was on pace to put together one of the best seasons of any running back in Navy history. However, his off-the-field lapse of judgment after the Air Force game, which he took complete responsibility for, set in motion a string of eight games when he would average less than 60 yards per contest. If you are starting a team and are looking for an emotional and fiery leader, I'm not sure you will find someone more capable than Teich. His enthusiasm and energy will be tough to replace. It's a surprise to say this, but his production shouldn't be as difficult of a task. Teich's 2010 performance against Notre Dame is one of the best-ever by a Navy fullback – and his performance in 2011 against Air Force was similar, although the end result wasn't.

Aaron Santiago: Quite simply put, Navy was 5-1 with him and 0-6 without him. This fact was mentioned a lot when the senior returned to the line-up after suffering a wrist injury against Western Kentucky and for good reason.  Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo called him the team's most complete player and his absence definitely contributed to the Mids' six-game losing streak. For a team in the past eight years that has relied on getting big plays from unfamiliar places (think Bobby Doyle), Santiago seemed to fit that mold this season. Whether it was a great block on the perimeter or figuring out a way, either on the ground or through the air, to find the end zone, Santiago always seemed to be in the middle of a momentum-shifting play. Although his overall stats for the season (312 total yards) aren't gaudy, every time he touched the ball he averaged over nine yards.

John Dowd: The heart-and-soul of Navy's offensive line for the past two seasons has been New York's finest, John Dowd. The senior has received plenty of post-season accolades for his work on and off-the-field so obviously he deserves more than a casual mention here. Navy will most likely finish the season ranked fourth in the country in rushing yards per game (312) and Dowd is as much of a reason for that success as anybody. Usually it isn't until after linemen graduate that fans don't truly have an appreciation for the grunt work that they were responsible for (see Antron Harper).  Dowd will most likely fall into that category. Unlike the three other candidates on this list, Navy didn't have to see what it would have been like to not have Dowd in the line-up as he started every single game – for the second season in a row. That's no small feat in its own right.

If I had a ballot for the 2011 Navy offensive MVP, I would cast it as follows:

1.       Santiago

2.       Dowd

3.       Proctor

4.       Teich

Vote for your own MVP, HERE . 

 

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