Navy football coach George Welsh does not like to force his will on anyone, his players included. He much rather would adapt his system to his players.

That is what he has done and the Mids have blossomed into one of the surprise teams in the East.

Midway through last season Welsh took a long look at his personnel and decided to sack the option offense he was so fond of and go with the pass. Pass is what his team does best.

Quarterback Bob Leszezynski has completed 34 of 65 passes for 478 yards and three touchdowns this season. His favorite target is Phil McConkey, the team's game-breaker.

At 5-foot-10, 163 pounds, McConkey is among the nation's leaders in punt returns, can dunk a basketball and long jumped 23 feet last year after only a week's practice.

"The first requirements for a receiver are that he can run and catch. You can't worry about size," says receiver coach Joe Krivak. "McConkey to do."

The other starting wide receiver is former quarterback John Kurowski. He is neither fast nor has particularly great moves, but he too can catch the ball very well.

The sophistication in the Mids attack is what puts them on a par with most other good passing teams.

Our passing game is the result of our coaches' knowledge of the game," McConkey said. "We have different patterns to run for every defense there is. We have a lot of patterns where the receiver reads the defender. I can have as many as three options on one passing play. The quarterback is reading the same man I'm reading and we have to know what each other is thinking.

"We feel we can throw the football on anybody and it comes form Bob being able to read keys so well. He can pick any defense apart, but we don't like to rely totally on the pass."

Welsh is searching desperately for a consistent running attack and thinks it isn't far off.

"Our backs are running well enough, we just aren't blocking that wall," he said.

"We know we can't win by just throwing the ball," Krivak added. "We'd like to think in terms of a 2-1 ratio in runs to passes, but sometimes it comes out to 50-50. The game usually dictates that. But the ideal situation is when you can throw when you want to and not just when the other team makes you."

When McConkey talks about pass receiving it is serious business, such as if he were talking about calculus or political science.

"It seems like I've always had a football in my hands," he said. "I was always playing catch the ball. Like when you're running a crossing pattern. You know you're going to get hit."

McConkey's eyes light up when he talks about returning punts.

"That's my favorite thing," he said. "I like to junk and move around. I like putting on moves and faking guys out. It's fun, You never know what you're going to do."