Some things can't be kept a secret, not even by the Navy.
Although Navy football Coach Gary Tranquill closed an intrasquad scrimmage to the public today, it came as no surprise that tailback Napoleon McCallum rushed for 126 yards on 15 carries and gained 62 yards on five receptions.
Running against the second defense, the first defense and a mixture of the two, McCallum apparently was fully recovered from the fractured left ankle that caused him to miss most of last season. Today, he had five runs of more than 10 yards, including a 23-yarder and a 25-yard burst out of the I-formation in which he ran off left tackle and picked up a down-field block from guard Chris Castelli.
Playing on more than 60 plays from scrimmage, McCallum plunged over the top for a two-yard touchdown and was used extensively as a pass receiver by quarterback Bill Byrne (13 of 20 for 217 yards) and his backup, Bob Misch (nine of 15, 123 yards).
In short, McCallum didn't hold anything back. And that was the way Tranquill wanted it, although he tried to keep things low key.
"Yeah, he's back," Tranquill said. "I'm tired of answering McCallum injury questions."
Tranquill did admit to one concern: the possibility of another injury to McCallum. "Yeah, I get nervous," he said. "We have to do it. He has to do it . . . Why shouldn't we? It's time."
Navy coaches, however, did not allow McCallum to return kicks, which he has done in the past. Still, McCallum probably will be the returner when Navy opens its season Sept. 7 against North Carolina at home.
McCallum was pleased with his performance, although he found some room for improvement.
"The offensive line did a great job," he said. "I know I got a lot of yards today . . . I wanted to run better on the outside. I didn't outrun anybody. That's what I'd like to improve on."
Tranquill continued to assess his defensive backfield, where injuries have forced him to use inexperienced players. Tranquill was impressed by the play of junior Marc Firlie and senior John Carroll. Projected starting cornerbacks Tom Metzger and Steve Brady are expected to return from injuries Monday.
Offensively, the starting fullback position still is undecided, although Tranquill seems to be leaning toward John Berner. Berner, a 6-foot, 225-pounder, ran for 27 yards on 12 carries. The other candidate, Chuck Smith, had been out with a slight leg injury but ran for 20 yards on eight carries.