...as well as some observations from last Saturday's scrimmage.
I got to the scrimmage late so I missed Kaipo running the
offense. However, I didn't miss freshman quarterback Ricky Dobbs. He had some serious poise, presence and
quickness. And how about that name? Ricky
Dobbs - talk about a great football name. I also caught a few
glimpses of fellow freshman, slot back Andre Byrd.
Unfortunately, I probably caught more of him than the Navy defense was
Standing on the sideline, I was able to hear a lot of chatter by Navy
players. Here is some of what I heard:
- On a few of Byrd's runs, I heard a lot of players
saying, "Where's Reggie ( Campbell )…did he just see that?"
- After Nate Frazier tried to exert some leadership by
telling a few other players what they should do, a Navy defensive coach scolded
him from the sideline - telling the sophomore to do his job and he wouldn't have
to worry about other players. Frazier forced a fumble a few
- I also heard two players comment on how back-up
fullback Eric Kettani "punishes" defenders.
- There were also several players introducing
themselves to other players. I am thinking seasoned Mids were
meeting some plebes for the first time.
Media Day Diary Part II
As promised, here is Part II of my second-by-second recap
of Navy football's media day.
3:05 p.m.: Now that the media portion of the event is over, I decide to
venture out to the field to soak up some of the Fan Fest action.
3:05.30 p.m.: I quickly realize that it's really hot; I
remember I have little hair; and I should have brought my ‘Cool as a Moose' hat
for coverage up there.
3:06 p.m.: I notice fullback Adam Ballard is a few steps ahead of me,
making his way to the field. As soon as he gets there, he is
swarmed by fans – including several teenage girls.
3:06.15 p.m.: I wonder what reception I will get as I step onto the
playing field. Autograph seekers? That
would be cool. I'd settle, however, for a rep from that
Chick- fil-A tent in the distance to offer me one of their classic Cookies & Crème milkshakes.
3:07 p.m.: I reach the field and the first person to come to me is a
special needs adult who thinks I am part of the coaching staff.
3:07.30 p.m.: Another special needs gentleman tells me that he hopes Navy
goes 6-0, pauses, and then says Rutgers is "going to kill you."
At that point it hits me how great Navy football is because it reaches so
many people of all different backgrounds. These guys, with
obvious handicaps, were waiting in line for an autograph and talking
football. They were having a blast! I no
longer cared that my scalp looked like a red pepper.
3:09 p.m.: A young man, who I guess is about 15-years-old, notices my
GoMids.com shirt and he says that he reads my column, "Off the
something…" Well, I think, it's a start.
Turns out, his name is Adam and he writes his own Navy football blog. It also turns out he is in
college. I obviously need to work on my age recognition
3:11 p.m.: After making my way past the immediate throng
of fans, I notice a sea of blue and gold jerseys mingling around Jack Stephens
Field. Some players (Kaipo) are obliging hordes of autograph
seekers, while others (insert any lineman's name here) were, um, less
3:12 p.m.: I think I overhear a 7-year-old girl propose
to Kaipo – in Hawaiian.
3:13 p.m.: Breaking News! Coach Paul Johnson
can smile when he is not posing for an official portrait. I swear I saw
him crack one while signing a football.
3:16 p.m.: I see Nate Frazier for the first time since
spring practice. I realize I'm not doing anything to quell
the hype here, but I think he put on some more muscle. That
reminded me to find his classmate, Andy Lark. The only
problem is, I don't know his number. My first dilemma of the
afternoon: look for Lark or make my way to the Chick- fil-A tent.
3:18 p.m.: I arrive at the Chick-fil-A tent and much to my disappointment
there are no milkshakes. I can, however, spin a wheel and win
a free chicken sandwich. As I spin the wheel I notice some
young kids show up to take a turn, but they have to wait because a
thirty-something year-old, mostly bald guy is ahead of them.
Do I feel ashamed? Of course not, it's free stuff –
they can wait.
3:20 p.m.: There is still a line for Kaipo's autograph…but Coach Johnson
has no fans around him. Could Kaipo be more
3:24 p.m.: I run into CSTV play-by-play guru Pete
Medhurst. I had never met Pete before in person. My first
impression is how professional he is and moreover how knowledgeable he is about
college football. I am a bit in awe.
3:35 p.m.: My discussion with Pete becomes a traveling one as we make our
way to the WNAV broadcast tent where I notice a few people just standing there
waiting for something.
3:37 p.m.: BREAKING NEWS! Turns out those people aren't waiting for
something; they are waiting for someone – for me! They are
Mr. and Mrs. Gabbard – the parents of senior offensive lineman Ben Gabbard and
they want to let me know that they enjoyed reading my article about Ben's off-season.
3:40 p.m.: Another family comes up to me – this time it is the GIBSON87
family. GIBSON87 is his message board call sign of
course. Turns out this guy is even more
committed to Navy football than me. He has been banished
from the Air Force board, but keeps trying to get on it using other people's
3:42 p.m.: Much to my surprise, Pete Medhurst asks me to share some air
time with him on WNAV radio. Without hesitation I say "yes,"
because when it comes to microphones, I usually don't shy away.
3:43 p.m.: I love Pete Medhurst's voice.
3:44 p.m.: Pete asks me about Air Force and
3:44.30 p.m.: I give Pete an answer that pretty much
takes care of the entire segment. I need to work on my
two-minute sound-bytes I think to myself.
3:55 p.m.: I run into former Navy fullback and WNAV play-by-play man,
Omar Nelson. We talk about doing some GoMids.com
collaborating with Pete in the future. That should be fun I
4:00 p.m.: Media Day Ends
4:01 p.m.: Kaipo is still signing autographs.