Navy middle guard Terry Huxel was deep in his studies when Redskin defensive end Karl Lorch fulfilled a lineman's dream by scoring a touchdown in Washington's victory over the Giants Monday night.
"We have tests all this week, "said Huxel, "so I had to miss the game and study. But I read about it and began fantasizing myself doing the same thing. I've scored from the offensive side lots of times but I would love to make a touchdown playing defense"
If the exceptionally quick, 6-foot, 228-pound junior from Cincinnati ever gets his meathooks on an interception, he won't need a teammate to point in the right direction.
A fullback all through high school and at the Naval Academy prep school in Rhode Island, Huxel switched to defense when the coaching staff told him his chances of "playing regular were much better."
"I didn't mind the switch at all. I wanted to play," Huxel said before today's practice. "They hinted to me I might make a decent down lineman. I hust had to learn to hit people instead of getting hit. That's a lot more fun."
Huxel earned a ball in Navy's 27-6 thrashing of The Citadel Saturday.
He teamed with linebacker Mike Kronzer and linemen Charlie Thornton and Steve Chambers to limit The Citadel to four first downs and 55 yards rushing.
On several occasions, the broad-shouldered Huxel blew past a beleaguered blocker to get to the ball carrier. He was credited with nine tackles -- four of them in the backfield for a minus 18 yeards -- caused one fumble and recovered another.
"He and Thornton did a real fine job Saturday. But then our front five is a very good one," Navy Coach George Welsh said. "I would say Terry graded out very high. We ask our middle guard to do a lot.He's important to our defense. Terry is strong and uses his quickness very well."
Huxel and teammate Mike Sherlock (125 yards rushing and one touchdown) were selected to the ECAC All-East team for their performance Saturday.
Huxel was named ECAC rookie of the week and was picked All-East on successive weeks last year. But bad ankles shelved him much of the season. He returned in time for the Army game and the Holiday Bowl but was not quite the terror he was earlier in the season.
"I know players like running backs get all the attention. The linemen don't nearly get the credit they deserve," Huxel said. "Backs are on a pedestal while we're down in the pits going one on one. But I wouldn't go back to offense -- not know."
Huxel will be looking for another game ball Saturday when the Midshipmen host Connecticut at 2 p.m.
"There's still a lot of work to be done by me before I'm satisfied," said Huxel. "I have to learn to beat the double-team a little better. But I plan to keep improving and hopefully work up to my potential.
"Individually, I haven't set any goals. Our philosophy is a total team effort, but I'll take the glory if I intercept a pass and score."