ANNAPOLIS, AUG. 13 -- A dozen Navy football players were so anxious to get the season started that they ran several miles Sunday night from the Academy grounds to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, scaled a fence and enjoyed a romp around the newly sodded $100,000 Bermuda grass field.

More than a new season was kicked off. There are changes in coaching, systems, attitude, philosophy and scheduling, all designed to bring the Midshipmen their first winning campaign since 1982.

The coach is George Chaump, an enthusiastic sort who spent the last four years as a winner at Marshall University, where his teams were known for their offensive fireworks. He touched on his philosophy today, saying, "We come out of the locker room throwing the ball, we go in there throwing the ball and we do it during practice sessions too."

The man expected to handle the bulk of the passing is senior quarterback Alton Grizzard, who supplied what limited offensive spark Navy exhibited the last three seasons and was the ringleader of Sunday's incursion onto the stadium turf.

"I love it, it's fun," Grizzard said of Navy's new look. "There's a new attitude, everybody's eager to play and . . . enjoying it. He {Chaump} is great around us and being around him makes us feel better. . . .

"I don't care whether we run or pass, as long as we go down the field and score."

Neither Chaump nor Grizzard would admit to any specific goals, although a winning season, a Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and a Liberty Bowl bid would seem reasonable, now that Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been dropped to make the schedule more realistic.

"I know what I'd like to do -- win every game and go to a major bowl," Chaump said. "Maybe that's unrealistic, but . . . we think we have a chance to win every game we go in."

"I'd like to be 12-0," Grizzard said. "Might as well shoot for the stars. . . . There is one thing. I threw four interceptions as a plebe, three the next year and two last year. I'd like to throw one this year -- four, three, two, one, what a great goal. But of course that's unrealistic, because we'll be passing a lot more."

Under Elliot Uzelac's wishbone, Grizzard threw only 289 passes in three years, while running 476 times. Not once in 33 games under Uzelac did Navy complete more than 10 passes.

"Ten completed passes -- I'd say that's a pretty good quarter myself," said Charlie Donnor, the offensive line coach who has assisted Chaump for seven years.

Donnor is one of the busiest of Navy's platoon of 19 assistant coaches, because of inexperience along the offensive line.

There are defensive problems, with senior linebacker Jay Harrell (ex-DeMatha) and tackle Chris Graham, a three-year letterman, electing to pass their final season. But the return of senior tackle Chris Janke from ankle surgery is a big plus.