The questions are getting redundant, as are the results.
Navy is 0-3.
"It's more frustrating than anything else," Navy Coach Gary Tranquill said today. "Young men are more resilient than coaches, I think, and they can come back. The frustration is being 0-3. And if we lost three by 28-7 it wouldn't be as frustrating (as losing by two, three and three points). You can go back through it all and cite 15 or 20 things that if we did differently, we might be 3-0."
Now in his fourth season as head coach, Tranquill is 13-22-1 overall. He said this start might be the toughest stretch of his tour of duty.
"In terms of frustration, it is because I still don't think we're that bad of a football team," Tranquill said. "If you get hammered, it may be easier to accept than if you get beat by a couple of points. Then you start with the 'what ifs,' 'could haves' and 'should haves,' looking back at things that might've been that weren't that caused you to be 0-3. When you get hammered three times, you don't look back much."
Looking ahead, he sees Virginia (2-0 overall, 1-0 in the ACC), ranked 20th by the Associated Press this week, which will play Navy at 12:20 p.m. Saturday in Charlottesville.
Tranquill pointed to a couple of defensive mistakes that occurred in last Saturday's 38-35 loss at Indiana -- mistakes in areas in which Virginia excels.
"We can't give up the big plays we did on third down," Tranquill said. "That lifts the spirits of the offensive team and affects you. We've got to get better play from our interior five than we got Saturday or against Delaware (which won 16-13). A lot of things that happen on third down (conversions) are not always the fault of the secondary. Sometimes it's up front. It was not a good pass rush."
Virginia's offensive line starts four seniors, including Jim Dombrowski, and one junior, and it has allowed quarterback Don Majkowski to be sacked only once in two games. The Cavaliers are averaging 280.5 yards per game rushing, with the tailback combination of Howard Petty and Barry Word pulling much of the load.
"Dombrowski is a big tackle (6-foot-5, 295) with good technique," Tranquill said. "And, as George (Welsh, Virginia coach) said, we think their center (Harold Garren) is very impressive."
Concerning his own quarterback, Bill Byrne, Tranquill said, "Bill's performance was good." Tranquill is not as pleased with his punters, senior Scott Quinlan (37.4 average for eight punts) and sophomore Andy Mueck (29.2, nine).
"We told both punters that we would chart every kick this week in practice, and the one with the best (average) will punt," Tranquill said.
Navy blew an opportunity to score in the last minute of the Indiana loss despite having three timeouts that were never used.
"We spent a little time on it," Tranquill said of the two-minute drill.
Navy Athletic Director J.O. Coppedge said today that it was too early in the season to make judgments on the direction of the program.
"We don't really know how it's going. They lost three by close scores, so we don't know," Coppedge said. "We'll assess things at the end of the year, as we always do. Now we're looking at the overall picture."
And how does the picture look?
"We really don't know at this point," Coppedge said. "We have Air Force and Army left, which are important to us."