Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs came into this season with very high expectations, but he’s struggling mightily right now. Whether it’s injuries, offensive line woes or defensive adjustments to Navy’s gameplan, Dobbs has not looked like the dynamic player some were calling a sleeper candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
Dobbs is averaging only 2.4 yards per carry, and has thrown three interceptions to just one touchdown. Fullback Vince Murray has more rushing yards than Dobbs — on 40 fewer carries. Dobbs and the Navy offense have been particularly ineffective in the red zone, and the Mids rank 110th in the nation (out of 120 teams) in points per game.
“Obviously, Ricky is not playing to the level we’ve all come to expect. We definitely need Ricky to play better to help the offense be more successful,” Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo told The (Annapolis) Capital yesterday. “I have great faith in Ricky. Hopefully, he’ll get better and get back to playing the way he did last year.”
Yet it’s not all bad for Navy right now. Even with Dobbs’ rough start, the Mids are 11th in the nation in rushing offense. Murray leads the team with 269 yards on 53 carries — a 5.3 yards per carry average. Slotback Gee Gee Greene is averaging 9.1 yards per carry, while fellow A-back Andre Byrd is averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
The problem is that neither slotback is getting the ball much. Byrd is averaging just four carries per game, while Greene is averaging a little more than five carries per game. Even backup fullback Alexander Teich has more carries than Byrd or Greene.
I won’t pretend to understand the complexities of Navy’s offensive system, but Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper and Niumatalolo have to find a way to get Greene and Bryd more carries. To a large extent, each player is dependent on Dobbs to get the ball because of Navy’s reliance on the option. But Greene and Byrd, in their limited touches, have shown a big-play capability that Navy is sorely lacking. No, Byrd (5-7, 153 pounds) and Greene (5-8, 180) aren’t big enough to get as many carries as Murray or Teich, but there has to be a happy medium between that and what they’re getting through four games.