In 2012, the Midshipmen’s defense failed to deliver a consistent performance. They were successful against the traditional running games of San Jose State and Central Michigan and the spread offenses of Indiana and East Carolina. But they struggled against the athleticism of Arizona State, Penn State and Notre Dame,teams that used strength and speed to exploit the Midshipmen. Nationally, Navy finished a respectable 54th in points allowed per game.
Last season the coaching staff rotated six to eight players along the defensive front so most players in the depth chart have some game experience. DE Evan Palelei, a senior returning starter, will provide leadership while junior DE Paul Quessenberry should develop into a dangerous edge rusher.
At linebacker, Navy loses three starters: Keegan Wetzel, Brye French and Matt Warrick. The loss of three key contributors could seriously hurt Navy’s ability to stop the run and rush the passer. LB Cody Peterson and LB Obi Uzoma, both seniors, will need to carry the load and develop a group of inexperienced replacements.
In the secondary, Navy experiences a rarity as they return three starters which should improve a unit that struggled to defend the pass in 2012. Navy returns four cornerbacks with game experience: Parrish Gaines (69 tackles, 2 interceptions) Kwazel Bertrand (39 tackles), Quincy Adams (28 tackles) and Shelley White. The safety position will be anchored by returning starter S Wave Ryder and last season’s nickel package safety, Chris Ferguson.