Intro- When covering Baltimore and Maryland sports, it’s often easy to forget about the sports at the Naval Academy. While they are Division 1, they have a different focus when it comes to sports. Sports are generally secondary or tertiary priorities for these guys. That being said, it is becoming challenging to neglect the Naval Academy’s football program. Providing a solid scare to Ohio State and defeating the likes of Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Missouri, this team is good and this season I would like to keep an eye on these guys and get your thoughts on their season.
2010 Offensive Line- The strength of the Midshipmen’s O-Line is going to be their tackles. Both LT Jeff Battipaglia (Sr. 6-4 256 Newtown, PA) and RT Matt Molloy (Sr. 6-3 260 Berlin, MD) have been starting since their sophomore seasons. They are both returning from a line that last year helped the Mids to 280.5 rushing yards per game (No. 4 nationally). It is really quite unbelievable when you consider the size of these guys. Consider the fact that Maryland will likely start one guy who is 6-6 300 and the other who is 6-7 320. These guys know how to play within their scheme really well. They execute their blocks and the team is effective.
The remainder of the line is still young and untested. The guards are LG Josh Cabral (So. 6-3 270) and RG Brady DeMell (Jr. 6-3 295 Mentor, Ohio). Cabral only made it into 1 game all season and DeMell spent some time at both Guard and Center although he only started 2 games. The center, Eric Douglass( Jr. 6-2 267 Owasso, Okla), is a converted NG and he didn’t make his first start until the Notre Dame matchup.
Based on the other starters on offense, people are expecting the Mids to be strong once again. But no matter how talented Ricky Dobbs is, he will still need an effective blocking scheme in order to be successful. Hopefully, the leadership and strength at the tackle positions will provide stability at the middle.