The Midshipmen have a new Head Coach in Brian Newberry, a new Offensive Coordinator in Grant Chestnut, and newly named Defensive Coordinator PJ Voleker leads a defense returning nine starters when it returns for its 2023 American Athletic Conference campaign.
Former defensive coordinator Brian Newberry replaced longtime head coach Ken Niumatalolo after an abysmal 4-8 season.
He’ll bring some continuity to the defense and work with new offensive coordinator Grant Chestnut to add more dimension to an offense known for running the triple option.
Newberry named linebackers coach Volker as defensive coordinator, and the three are tasked with leading the team to glory this season.
Former Conference USA members UAB, FAU, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, and UTSA joined the AAC, while Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF bolted for the Big-12 Conference.
The Navy has a good schedule, but they open up with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Ireland on August 26th.
The 2022 Navy Football schedule is here⤵️
— Navy Football (@NavyFB) February 17, 2022
The Midshipmen have winnable home games against Wagner, USF, Air Force, and Army but also host solid teams in North Texas, UAB, and East Carolina.
Aside from the trip to Ireland, the Midshipmen have difficult away games against Memphis, Temple, and SMU but have opportunities to win on the road against Charlotte.
The Navy offense is known for its triple-option attack, and quarterback Tai Lavatai will lead them again. Lavatai is a dual-threat quarterback who rushed for 309 yards and five touchdowns with an additional 787 passing yards with five TDs in 2022.
He will be joined in the backfield by fullback Daba Fofana, who rushed for a team-high 769 yards and five TDs.
The Navy passing game hopes to be stronger under Chestnut. WR Jayden Umberger hauled in a team-leading 16 balls for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wideout Mark Walker returns for his senior season and should give Lavatai another solid target.
All this will be done behind a veteran offensive line returning four starters from last season.
The Navy defense is the team’s strength, and they return nine starters to a defense allowing the second-fewest yards in conference play and third-fewest rushing yards in the nation last season.
Leading tackler John Marshall graduated last season, but they returned their top three tacklers.
LB Colin Ramos is expected to lead the defensive front seven while the entire defensive backfield returns to give new defensive coordinator PJ Volker as solid a defensive unit as there is in the college game.
Navy Midshipmen betting odds in 2023
- Win Total: Over 6.5 +110, Under 6.5 -135
- American Athletic Conference Championship Odds: +3000
- National Championship Odds: +200000
2023 Navy Midshipmen Betting Preview
Aside from betting on the actual games, this Navy team has a win total of 6.5 games at DraftKings (+110), and my only future bet is Navy to win less than 6.5 games -135 at DraftKings.
Navy has a schedule that could win seven games but a roster will likely win less than that.
The offense hasn’t done its job the past couple of seasons–they were too one-dimensional with the triple-option and only threw the football when necessary.
This is the style of play Armed Forces teams like the Navy play and has for years. Chestnut was brought in to change that, and I believe he will, but these things take time and probably won’t happen this season.
Five of Navy’s eight losses last season were by seven points or less–the offense didn’t get the job done at all, and it’s tough to tell about this season’s offense with all the changes made.
Lavatai did a solid job on the field, but his season ended prematurely with a knee injury. QB Xavier Airline did a nice job replacing Lavatai, but he’s more of a runner than a thrower.
Defense is the Navy’s strength, and this unit is as solid as any in the country. They might be undersized compared to the larger schools they face, but they play with heart and keep the Midshipmen in games hoping the offense scores enough to win.
Finally, Navy is headed in the right direction, but it doesn’t look like a seven-win college football team right now.
They have a top-five defense that will keep the Midshipmen in games, but can the offense get their act together soon enough to win seven? That’s difficult to answer, so we’ll play Under 6.5 games -135 (DraftKings Maryland).
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