QB Miller Shows Improvement in Second Navy Spring Scrimmage

April 08, 2012 | WNST Staff

Sophomore outside linebacker Josh Tate recorded seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack, while senior linebacker Brye French was in on six tackles and a sack to lead the defense to a 58-53 victory over the offense on Saturday morning at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The defense scored points by coming up with a third down stop (three points), a fourth down stop (six points) a turnover (six points) and a sack or tackle for a loss (three points).

The offense scored points for first downs (three points), plays greater than 20 yards (three points) and touchdowns (six points).

If either side committed a penalty they lost two points, while a personal foul penalty was a minus five points.

“I will have to save judgment until I watch the tape,” said head coach Ken Niumatalolo. “There is always good and bad in every scrimmage. One guy I’m really excited about is Brye French. He’s been super consistent and has done a nice job.”

Senior linebacker John Michael Nurthern was also in on seven tackles for the defense, while junior linebacker Shawn Reed and sophomore safeties Chris Ferguson and James Britton had six tackles apiece.

A week after committing six turnovers the offense did not commit a turnover today. Junior quarterback Trey Miller was extremely sharp, completing 15 of his 18 pass attempts for 159 yards and one touchdown. Miller also rushed for 69 yards on 17 carries despite being hampered by a blown whistle every time he was touched.

“Trey did much better than he did last scrimmage,” said Niumatalolo. “I thought he was pretty sharp and did some good things.Senior slot back Bo Snelson had a solid scrimmage with 49 yards rushing on five carries and he caught a team-high four passes for 28 yards. Fellow senior slot back Gee Gee Greene carried the ball four times for 20 yards and a touchdown and had two catches for 14 yards, while sophomore fullback Noah Copeland had six carries for 34 yards and a touchdown. Third team quarterback Cody West showed some flashes as well, running for 37 yards on seven carries.

Miller’s touchdown pass was a beautiful 20-yard strike to Brandon Turner on the final play of a one-minute drill that wasn’t figured in the final scoring. Turner’s catch came as time expired in the drill. He finished the day with three catches for 42 yards.

Niumatalolo is excited about Turner, who led the Mids in receiving last year with 14 catches for 300 yards (21.4 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.

“Greg Jones is probably the best pure wide receiver we’ve had here, but as far as being a complete player for what we want running, blocking and catching Brandon has a chance to be as good as we’ve ever had. He comes up with some big blocks in the running game that people don’t notice as well.”

Other players that had big plays in the passing game were junior receiver Casey Bolena (1-15), senior fullback Prentice Christian (1-13), senior slot back John Howell (1-20), junior slot back Marcus Thomas (1-23) and sophomore slot back Geoffrey Whiteside (1-16).

“I think we will throw the ball more than we did last year, but we aren’t going to change who we are,” said Niumatalolo.

“Our biggest thing this camp has been about mental toughness and just our overall toughness and we’ve worked these guys hard,” continued Niumatalolo. “We had 800 live reps all last season and we’ve had over 700 live reps this spring so we’ve had almost a full season of live reps this spring so hopefully we are getting tougher and we are getting that mentality back.”

The annual Blue-Gold game will take place on Saturday at 12-noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Admission is free and there is a $5 charge to park. The game will also be streamed live for free on Navy All-Access.