With only seven lettermen returning on offense, Navy Coach George Welsh has been eager to discover improvement among other veterans and signs of superior talent among newcomers. He found both today in a 2 1/2-hour controlled scrimmage that produced six touchdowns.
Quarterback Marco Pagnanelli, a transfer from Golden West Junior College in California, was the standout, compkleting 14 or 20 passes for 152 yards and escaping several tacklers to score on a nine-yard run.
"Our quarterbacks were a little erratic at times, but they did a good job of getting the ball in the end zone," Welsh said. "Pag did very well considering that he has not played for three years."
Pagnanelli, a sophomore with two years of eligibility remaining, was a backup one year at Golden West and was gurt the other before watching from the sidelines as a Navy plebe. He did not begin well today, losing the ball on the first two possessions through a sack fumble and a faulty pitchout.
Then he guided the second-string offense on two successive 70-yard scoring drives against the No. 1 defense, hitting key passes of 24 yards to senior tight end Mark Fitzgerald, 17 yards to junior tight end Frazier Frantz and 17 yards to flanker John Kennedy, a diminutive senior with good hands who has excelled on the 150-pound team. A short pass from Pagnanelli to Fitzgerald was turned into a 34-yard gain to set up a third touchdown.
"All our receivers are catching the ball well and there are a lot of them," Welsh said. "It's going to be a tough decision to pick the receivers. Fitzgerald is much improved since last season and even the spring, which makes me happy."
Junior Tom Tarquinio, the current No. 1 quarterback, directed two scoring drives, largely on the ground. He completed five of 14 passes for 44 yards. Junior Jeff Korn had better statistics, six of 10 for 70 yards, but saw most of his action against the No. 3 defense.
Senior tailback Eddie Meyers gained 111 yards in 26 carries, and scored one touchdown.
Napoleon McCallum, a plebe with immense potential, ran at tailback with the No. 2 unit and gained 85 yards in 20 rushes, besides grabbing four passes for 27 yards. McCallum 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, is already becoming a legend at the Academy. Shortly after arriving for plebve indoctrination, he entered an allcomers track meet and, wearing his regulation sneakers, high jumped 6-10.
The third-string tailback, plebe Dick Clouse, earned praise, too, scoring two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 27 yards.
Fullback Andy Skehan, whose usual task is blocking for Meyers, ran 45 yards for a touchdown through a hole in the left side.
The offensive blitz surprised Welsh, who expected the defense to be ahead at this stage.
"There were some big holes against the first defense, which worries me," Welsh said. "We got more touchdowns and more yards against our first and second defenses than we have in several years, and I'm a little concerned. The defense should be dominant right now."