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Navy update: Injuries and kicking woes trouble Midshipmen

Aug 13, 2012, 1:59 PM EDT

Trey Miller Navy Ishaq Williams

We’ll spend some time later this afternoon taking a look at Irish training camp updates, but until then, a few notes about Notre Dame’s first opponent caught my eye. Here’s a quick rundown on where Navy stands, with less than three weeks until they kick off the season against the Irish in Dublin.

If Ken Niumatalolo‘s offseason was dedicated to fixing his kicking game, Navy’s preseason scrimmage Saturday showed there was still work to be done. After missing nine kicks in twelve games last season, the Midshipmen kickers got their chance to exorcise their demons during Saturday’s intrasquad session.

As Kevin Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner notes, they didn’t quite do it.

In a disturbing reminder of last year when kicking woes haunted Navy, five Mids candidates went 0-for-5 from 46 yards, 2-for-5 from 47 yards, 2-for-5 from 32 yards, and 5-for-5 from 27 yards.

Junior Stephen Picchini, who is listed No. 1 on the depth chart, made his two shorter tries, but was short from 47 yards and had the other blocked, booting it low. Freshman Austin Grebe (North Stafford) made his two short tries, but was wide on his two longer attempts.

Injury-riddled junior Brynmor Hughes made a 47-yard attempt, but clanged a 32-yard try off an upright. Freshman Nick Sloan made his 47-yard attempt with distance to spare, but was wide from 32 yards.

“They’ve been kicking a lot better at [practice], but that’s with nobody watching.” Niumatalolo quipped.


In more optimistic news for Navy, quarterback Trey Miller is showing an unusual strength in the passing game, completing 13 of 19 throws in Saturday’s scrimmage. But filed in the category of “one step forward, two steps back,” the Midshipmen are without their two starting wide receivers, with starter Brandon Turner failing the Naval Academy’s physical readiness test in July and ineligible to workout with the team until August 20th.

Making things worse is a knee injury suffered by Matt Aiken on an end-around during the scrimmage. Aiken, who was also expected to return punts for the Middies, is undergoing an MRI this afternoon that’ll determine the severity of the injury.

If the passing game of the Midshipmen is hindered, it’ll likely spell trouble for the Navy offense, with Miller nowhere near the option technician as previous quarterbacks Kriss Proctor and Ricky Dobbs. Miller completed only five of 13 throws last season against the Irish in Notre Dame’s 56-14 romp when he subbed in for an injured Kriss Proctor.

  1. bernhtp - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    If we need to depend upon the Middies to miss field goals, it will indeed be a very long season for us.

  2. vegasmark - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    How does a D1 (I know it’s Navy, but still) athlete fail the military physical readiness test?

    • bernhtp - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      Football injury?

  3. kgirish - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Irish will dominate this game. (even more so with injuries to Navy)….

    • irishbornraised - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Last time we thought this way was 2010, we went into 2011 with respect for our opponent, knowing that there were still 60 minutes to play. Navy is always tricky, this mindset could cost us the game which could doom the season

      • kgirish - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        Absolutely no reason we dont dominate. We’ve all got respect for Navy, but we’ll still dominate. In fact, we’ll dominate against Purdue as well.

      • irishbornraised - Aug 14, 2012 at 1:22 AM

        They won’t be going in with it penciled as a loss, we shouldn’t go in with it penciled as a win

  4. 11thstreetmafia - Aug 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    56-14 again, why not?

    • 1historian - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM

      who leads in the series – over the last 5 years?

      THAT’S why not.

      • irishbornraised - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:32 AM

        It’s the option!
        It’s the definition of a trap game!
        It’s a rivalry game!
        It’s in a foreign country!
        It’s the Irish!

        Go Irish!
        Beat Navy!

  5. gtizzo - Aug 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Other woes for Navy stopping the Irish ground game and blocking All American Linebacker Manti Teo. I figure Keith those points should also be counted as “woes” for Navy.

  6. jcarrillo7828 - Aug 14, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    My biggest concern with playing Navy is injuries on our defensive front. Their chop blocking style usually results in guys with banged up knees and ankles. We need to win and walk away healthy. We will need every body for the tough schedule this year . Go Irish !!!!

  7. yaketyyacc - Aug 14, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    hmmm…. seems like I heard that song before, last year before the USC game. and I posted, if we swallow that hype, USC will use the Notre Dame football team as a mat to wipe their feet on as they leave our stadium with a victory. of course being sportsmen, they added salt to the wound calling
    us “losers and quitters” as they wiped their feet exiting.
    I don’t care if the whole Navy team is on crutches; that is their problem.
    our job is to show Ireland why we are : THE FIGHTING IRISH OF NOTRE DAME!

    • ndgoldandblue - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      “I don’t care if the whole Navy team is on crutches; that is their problem.”-I agree, wholeheartedly. Let’s use their weaknesses to our advantage. Have Golson go out there and play a solid (not necessarily spectacular) game, so he can hang on to the starting job going into the Purdue game, and let the defense and running game dictate things as they did last year. If we do those things, I see a comfortable victory (maybe not as comfortable as last year, but who cares). Frankly, I wouldn’t care if the Irish ended the season with an undefeated record that was aided by injury problems to all of their opponents. It’s still an undefeated record. And as you said, injuries are their problem; not ours.

  8. irisheyesnate - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    I’m very exited for THE IRISH to start the season!!! I have tickets to purdue,BYU,Stanford,and MICHIGAN STATE..I do think that injuries will give us the edge but,navy is always dangerous due to chop blocking and they always have tricks hidden up their sleeve..I think our first test will be purdue… They will generate offense which te’o and kappy,tuitt,Williams will step up and make us 2-0 going to may

  9. goldenirishson - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Hello everyone newbie here. first do you think the Irish will be over excited from the trip and maybe be flat the first half? And everyone is right Navy always gives us fits

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