George Welsh says he doesn't know whether his Navy football team is good one, and he doubts that Saturday's seasonopener against The Citadel at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m. will help him decide.
The Citadel is not exactly a national power, but it is the type of team "you have to respect," Welsh said.
"Citadel has some people who can hurt you and they play that wide-tackle-six defense which is extremely tough to work against."
As recently as Wednesday, Welsh was moaning about the Mids not being ready to play. With the thought of finally getting to play against someone other than themselves, the Mids buckled down the last two days and Welsh now says they appear ready.
"We better be ready," he said. "I don't have any excuses if we aren't.
"I just don't know if we're a good team yet. I do know that we're going to have to throw and catch the football. We won't beat anybody on the ground."
When it comes to throwing the football, quarterback Bob Leszcynski is probably the best Navy has had since Roger Staubach. He's a drop-back pocket passer and led the Mids to three straight victories with his arm at the close of last season.
"We're hoping to get a 2-1 ratio with our runs and passes," Welsh said, "but sometimes that's hard to stick to. The game situation pretty much will decide that."
The Citadel, which beat Wofford, 7-0 in its opener and likes to take chances defensively. The Bulldogs have enough good athletes in the right spots to make that approach effective.
Today's game very easily could turn into an aerial battle. The Bulldogs have what coach Bobby Ross calls "a complete and involved passing game."
He also has the right man for his system at quarterback. He is junior Marty Crosby, who likes to mix rollouts with his dropbacks. He completed 15 of 28 for 239 yards against Wofford. His favorite target is former Peary High School (Rockville) star Mike Riley.
leszcynski will be throwing to split end Phill McConkey, wingback John Kurowski, the former quarterback he replace late last season, and tight end Carl Hendershot.
Whatever yards Navy gets on the ground, most likely will be gained by tailback Joe Gattuso, perhaps the most versatile Mild and fullback Larry Klawinski.
"I'm not predicting anything," Welsh said. "That never accomplishes anything. We just have to go out now and show people and ourselves what we can do."