Navy Football: Midshipmen have high expectations in 2018

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /


Due to the nature of being undersized, the defense always appears as an area of weakness for Navy. However, the defense typically plays up to the level of its competition. The same will likely be true for Navy this year.

Veterans Upfront

The defensive line is where Navy has the most experience. On the edges, seniors Josh Webb and Jarvis Polu will be expected to lead the defensive line. At nose tackle, the 310 pound junior, Jackson Pittman will cause havoc up the middle. All three of these players have extensive playing time and successful performances. A strong line will allow the rest of the defensive to fill holes and make tackles as necessary.

Navy’s Big Hitters

At the next level of the defensive, the linebackers bring the second-most experience. Led by senior inside linebackers Hudson Sullivan and Taylor Heflin, the defense will be directed by two extremely aggressive players. Heflin, who was ejected in last year’s game against Memphis for a controversial targeting call, brings great energy and work ethic to the team. Additionally, Sullivan has contributed on defense and special teams since his freshman year.

At outside linebacker, Cromartie is poised to have a great season. Recently switching from defensive line, Cromartie is listed as the starter in the Raider position. This is the position from which Navy brings many blitzes. Look for Cromartie to lead the team in both sacks and tackles-for-loss.


And finally, the secondary. The secondary is the area from which Navy is often beat. Whether it is a fellow service academy receive slipping behind the formation, or a Notre Dame receiver blowing by a cornerback with speed, Navy often gives up big plays in the passing game.

Another big question for the defense is whether Navy will come out in a man or a zone coverage. After last year’s mid-season switch to man coverage, it is unclear as to whether Coach Niumatalolo will stick with man coverage, or revert back to his traditional preference of zone coverage. This will be an interesting thread to follow in the coming month