Blue Ribbon Preview: Navy

Originally Published: July 4, 2012
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ABOUT

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo knows that there's plenty of blame to go around for his team's poor performance last year, in which the Midshipmen finished 5-7, and failed to go to a bowl game for the first time in eight years. A good portion of it, Niumatalolo believes, belongs to him.

"I look at myself, and I think I got a little soft," Niumatalolo said. "I got caught up in the little things, like worrying about what our team meal was going to be, or what hotel we were staying at, or when we were going to have our power milk. I got caught up in the details."

Niumatalolo wasn't the only person who got soft. It was bad enough that Navy turned in a sub-.500 record. But what made it worse was the fact the Midshipmen arrived at their record by being pushed around by other teams. Navy ranked 86th out of 120 FBS teams in total defense, including 92nd in rushing defense.

"We weren't as physical as we needed to be, not up front, not in the pass, not in the run, not anywhere," defensive coordinator Buddy Green said.

With the bad taste of last year still in their mouths, the Mids focused on toughness during the spring to try and return to their winning ways. They even made it one of their mantras. Niumatalolo said several times that his team was trying to "establish a culture of toughness."

Now's a good time to start establishing that type of culture, because Navy will need it in 2015, when it becomes part of the Big East.

"The Big East will be a monumental task for our program," Niumatalolo said.

THE STAFF

Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (Hawaii '90)
Record at school: 32-21 (4 years)
Career record: 32-21 (4 years)

Assistants:
• Ivin Jasper (Hawaii '94) Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
• Buddy Green (NC State '76) Defensive coordinator
• Chris Culton (Georgia Southern '01) Offensive line/tackles
Justin Davis (Maine '01) Defensive line
• Tony Grantham (Radford '00) Outside linebackers
• Ashley Ingram (North Alabama '96) Offensive line/centers and guards
• Steve Johns (Occidental College '91) Inside linebackers/special teams coordinator
• Keith Jones (The Citadel '75) Secondary
• Mike Judge (Springfield College '05) Fullbacks
• Shaun Nua (BYU '05) Defensive Line
• Danny O'Rourke (West Georgia '00) Slot backs
• Dale Pehrson (Utah '96) Defensive line/recruiting coordinator
• Mick Yolkitis Wide receivers