Navy's football team may be the best offensively in George Welsh's six years, but it will take a few more weeks before it makes a believer out of its 45-year-old coach.
The Mids rolled up an impressive 447 yards in their season debut against Virginia in a 32-0 triumph. Navy travels to Storrs, Conn., to take on the University of Connecticut on Saturday.
The Huskies, who have fallen on hard times in recent years 01-10 in 1977 under new Coach Walt Nadzak, are 1-1 this fall, having lost to William & Mary last Saturday, 27-3, after a 21-19 win over Northeastern.
A 38-7 winner over UConn a year ago, Navy probably won't get a real test until it meets Boston College Sept. 30.
"This could be the best offensive team we've had," the Navy coach said yesterday. "But we've got a lot of young players."
"Everything is so mental," said Welsh. "We haven't been tested. We haven't had to come from behind and haven't had to play after losing a game. I don't know how the team will react to those situations."
Welsh was pleased with his team's showing against Virginia, but he is looking for "individual improvement against Connecticut. I don't know whether we played that well or whether Virginia really helped us out (with turnovers).
Obviously Welsh was more than satisfied with sophomoretailback Steve Callahan, who carried 21 times for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Callahan, a 5-foot 10.178 pounder from Groveton, Tex., lettered as a freshman and gives Navy's offense tremendous balance with speed to go with Bob Leszezynski's passing.
But Welsh wants Callahan to be more aware of his field presence.
"He likes to cut a lot" said Welsh. "But he's got to learn to stay outside more. We work with him on the field and show him films. But by making those cuts inside he is taking some hits he shouldn't. He's little and those shots worry me."
Connecticut remembers Callahan from last fall when the tailback was named the East's top rookie of the week after scoring a pair of touchdowns against the Haskies, the first a 48-yard screen pass and later a 77-yard gallop.
Navy should be at nearly fell strength for its second of four straight road games. Wingback Sandy Jones and defensive back Robert Wilson are nursing shoulder injuries while offensive guard Frank McCallister has an "Astroturf" toe. All should be ready.
"Welsh's team ranks ninth nationally in defense against both the rush and pass after opener . . . Mid split end Phil McConkey was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I-A offensive player of the week for his five catches for 149 yards against Virginia . . . Callahan and Leszezysnki also made the team of the week.
Connecticut's two rushing leaders are both freshmen Tony Jordan, 5-9, 166.204 yards on 44 carries, and Raymond Jones, 5-9, 161.88 yards on 21 carries. Conn has three quarterbacks, including Rusty Umberger, a graduate of W.T. Woodson, who called the signals against William & Mary.