Navy’s starting lineup on defense has been fluid all season because of injury and in some cases poor performance, so it comes as little surprise the Midshipmen will have two more players making their starting debuts with that unit on Saturday against Notre Dame.
First is junior Josh Jones, who starts at right defensive end ahead of Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick. Jones is the fourth player to have started at right defensive end this year. Sophomore Jamel Dobbs started the first three games, and junior Wes Henderson started the next three. Dowling-Fitzpatrick started at the position last week in a 38-35 loss to East Carolina.
Also starting for the first time is Parrish Gaines. The freshman got the nod at left cornerback over Jonathan Wev, who started last week. Senior David Wright had started at left corner for the first five games until injuring his heel in a 63-35 loss to Southern Miss.
Gaines recorded five tackles last week against the Pirates while receiving extensive playing time as defensive coordinator Buddy Green continues to search for the right combinations. Gaines’s first appearance came against Southern Miss.
Navy has used a different starting lineup on defense in seven of eight games. Only left defensive end Jabaree Tuani, inside linebacker Matt Warrick and right cornerback David Sperry have started every game this season for the Midshipmen, who are ranked 95th in total defense and 111th in pass defense efficiency.