Injuries continue to plague Navy’s defense, which on Saturday will have a distinctly different look in the secondary against Rutgers.
Starting left cornerback David Wright is nursing a sore left ankle from last week’s 63-35 loss to Southern Miss, so starting in his place is Kwesi Mitchell, who normally starts at safety. Tra’ves Bush moved to Mitchell’s rover position after starting the last three games at outside linebacker.
Freshman Chris Ferguson will get his first start at free safety to complete the overhaul in the defensive backfield.
“We’re banged up,” Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “Going into Week 6, it’s to be expected. We’ve just got to find a way to continue to get going.”
There was some concern earlier in the week about the status of starting outside linebacker Jarred Shannon, but the senior will start this afternoon and thus allow Bush to slide to safety.
The Midshipmen have been dealing with a host of injuries on defense this season, starting roughly a month ago going into their game against then-No. 10 South Carolina. Shannon and Mason Graham, then a starter at outside linebacker, were unavailable for that game. Shannon was nursing a sore right shoulder, and Mason had a sore right knee.
Injuries in part have contributed to Navy’s recent struggles defensively. The Midshipmen have given up 13 touchdowns and 943 yards over the past two weeks, including 584 against the Golden Eagles.