If a game in hand is worth a dozen scouting reports, as Navy Coach George Welsh professes, then once-beaten Virginia has an edge in the Mids' opener Saturday at Charlottesville.
"I would trade places with him," Welsh said, questioned yesterday on whether the team that has played or the team that has been able to do some scouting has the advantage. "Scouting doesn't make up for playing a game. I thing we're at a disadvantage."
Virginia Coach Dick Bestwick would not mind trading away that opening 14-0 loss to Wake Forest and he was not sure that having played it gives the Cavaliers any advantage.
"It probably balances out," Bestwick said. "We do have a chance to correct our mistakes and hopefully, iron out some bugs. They know what we do and can prepare for it, contrasted to our guessing what they'll do."
On past performance and the odds-makers' evaluation, what Virginia is likely to do is lose. Welsh, however, was not merely being polite when he said, "We have no reason to look past anybody."
Navy's last scrimmage proved so aggravating that Walsh stormed off the field, slammed the dressing room door, and scolded his charges at length. Yesterday, he was more sedate.
"We've come out of the doldrums mentally," he said. "We still have some execution problems, which is not unexpected at this stage, because we're still very young. Why we were like that last week I don't know. Maybe four weeks is too long to practice before a game. We wasted a week, culminating in that scrimmage."
Welsh cautioned that Virginia was not as bad as some folks made out in the loss to Wake Forest, a team that lost its last 10 games in 1977.
"The Wake Forest quarterback was eight for 12 and Wake scored the first two times it had the ball," Welsh said. "But on one long pass, Virginia's safety fell down. And after those 12 passes, Virginia did a much better job. I think Wake wound up 15 to 37 for the game."
Welsh promised that Navy would come out throwing, with its outstanding quarterback, Bob Leszczynski.
"We're going to throw the football and see if we have a passing attack," Welsh said. "I don't know if we're capable of the execution needed to march 80 yards in 12 or 13 plays, but we have the guys to break the big ones."
Bestwick blamed his club's offensive failures on a breakdown by sophomoreylinemen. he figures the game experience will help and promised to throw the ball frequently, too.