A rash of injuries within the offensive line of Navy's football team have forced Coach George Welsh to "completely revamp the line" for Saturday's game against Villanova, Navy's last home game of the season.
Welsh has lost six offensive linemen, including four substitutes, to injuries in the last two weeks, but he refused to blame last week's surprising loss to Air Force in Colorado on injuries. "We just didn't play with as much emotion as they did," said Welsh, who said he did not want to discuss his team's second loss of the season. "That Air Force game was over and done with as soon as we looked at the films on Sunday night.
"We just didn't have that edge I feel we need to win," he continued. "We'll have to play with more emotion this week, for sure. We had an excellent practice Tuesday."
Even with more emotion, the Mids will miss starting tackle Cliff Hagen, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior who will be out the rest of the season because of a knee injury suffered Saturday. Another tackle, senior Rick Welch (6-5, 268 and a two-year starter) will miss at least one week with a bruised knee.
As a result, all-America candidate Frank McCallister -- a starting guard -- will move to tackle, as will junior Keith Boring, who has started only one game this season. Junior Steve Hooper will start at guard.
Welsh insisted on telling observers that his team was not as good as some have claimed, nor defensive statistics have indicated.
"I kept telling people all along that we weren't as good as those defensive stats said we were," said Welsh, whose team is still ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in total team defense. "But how do you convey to your team that they're not that good?