ANNAPOLIS, SEPT. 30 -- Brian McGoldrick, Navy's starting right offensive guard, has quit the football team.
The 6-foot-3, 267-pound junior from Valparaiso, Fla., started all 11 games last season, becoming the first sophomore offensive lineman to start for the Midshipmen since 1978, when Frank McCallister, later an all-America, did so.
Although McGoldrick's name did not appear on a tentative two-deep chart for Navy's game Saturday at Virginia Tech that was distributed before Coach Elliot Uzelac's weekly news conference, Uzelac did not mention McGoldrick's decision while running down six other lineup changes that are being considered this week. McGoldrick had started all three games this season.
Asked afterward about McGoldrick, Uzelac said, "He's no longer with the team. Other than that, I have no comment."
Asked whether McGoldrick's departure had had any effect on the team, Uzelac said, "No matter how I answer, it's negative. It's either negative to him or negative to the program, so I don't have any comment on that. . . . I never talk about things like that; I never do."
In a brief interview yesterday McGoldrick said that his decision was made for personal reasons. He added that his decision "had nothing to do with the way the season's going."
He declined further comment.
Meantime, Uzelac expressed concern for the first time yesterday that his team's 0-3 start might be having an effect on the players' morale and that the reasons for the Midshipmen's difficulty might go beyond their lack of experience.
"I think if you go out and get hammered, everybody starts asking you what's wrong -- everybody. It's a common question. You ask it, I ask it. So you start questioning everything, and that's the wrong thing to do," Uzelac said. "I told them, 'Don't question anything, just get your head on right and things will work out in the long run. Don't worry about it.'
"I think the problem is a tremendous lack of experience -- there's no experience to speak of except for a couple of kids -- and the void of losing," he said. "When have they won? My problem is they haven't won. You have to break old habits and we're having a hard time doing it."
Navy has lost 10 consecutive games, the second-longest losing streak in academy history. The Midshipmen's last winning season was 1982, when they were 6-5. Their record since then is 14-32-1. After playing the Hokies, Navy plays Air Force, Penn, Pittsburgh, fifth-ranked Notre Dame and Syracuse.
The lineup changes Uzelac is considering week are: moving halfback Chuck Smith or running back Don Holl to fullback; giving freshman halfback Jason Pace some playing time; moving wide receiver Clay Stackhouse to defensive back; moving defensive tackle Mike Sweeney to offensive center; making freshman linebacker Tony Domino a starter; making center Matt Felt the long snapper ahead of Dan Bishop and Joshua Skule. Competition at quarterback continues with John Nobers and Alton Grizzard splitting time with the first team offense.
"We're not changing just for change's sake," Uzelac said. "We're making them so we can become more productive."