2023 Season Preview – Navy Midshipmen

2022 Record – 4-8; 4-4 American

2023 Schedule

  • 8/26 – VS Notre Dame (In Dublin, Ireland)
  • 9/9 – VS Wagner
  • 9/14 – at Memphis
  • 9/30 – VS South Florida
  • 10/7 – VS North Texas
  • 10/14 – at Charlotte
  • 10/21 – VS Air Force
  • 11/4 – at Temple
  • 11/11 – VS UAB
  • 11/18 – VS East Carolina
  • 11/25 – at SMU
  • 12/9 – VS Army (In Foxboro, Mass.)

2022 Recap

The 2022 season started off on a negative note for Navy, who lost to Delaware out of the FCS. This was followed up by a blow out loss to Memphis. The first win of the season came on the road at East Carolina in double overtime.

The first Commander Cup game against Air Force was a tight one. After trailing 10-0 at the half, the Midshipmen battled back to the tie the game earlier in the fourth. They could not punch ahead though and Air Force kicked a field goal to win the game 13-10.

Navy would follow up this loss with their only blowout win of the season, beating Tulsa 53-21. They would play close in almost every other game during the year. Six of their last seven games were decided by 10 points or less. This included a thrilling game against Army at the end of the year, which was a 20-17 loss in double overtime.

Navy would finish the season with a 4-8 record, 4-4 in American play. This became the third straight season of four wins or fewer and led to the dismissal of head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

2023 Preview

The first question for any team with a new head coach is how will the team respond. The good news is the new coach is former defensive coordinator Brian Newberry. Having someone from in the program move up means there will be less change within the program. This is especially important at a program like Navy that has special traditions.

Quarterback is up for grabs at the moment. Tai Lavatai returns, but is coming off a knee injury. His resiliency will decide if he returns to the starting position or if someone else starts off the season behind center.

Leading rushed Daba Fofana returns after going for 769 yards in 2022, but as all Navy teams this is very much a running by committee type team. This means it will be heavily dependent on the offensive lines. With four started returning there, the chance to open holes is high which could lead to a stronger running game in 2023 for the Midshipmen.

Navy was second in the nation in rushing defense in 2022. If they can continue this strong run defense then the offense might have a chance to catch up. Leading tackler John Marshall is out which will hurt. Colin Ramos will try to step into that leading role at linebacker after finishing second in tackles last season.

There are many other returning starters on the defensive side. This should continue to be the strength of this team in the new season.

2023 Projection

Navy will start off the season in Dublin, Ireland, against Notre Dame. Although this will be an exciting atmosphere, it will be a tough start to non-conference play. Luckily, they will be able to follow this up against Wagner from the FCS to get the Midshipmen to 1-1 going into conference play.

The American conference is one that is going through massive changes in the 2023 season. Many new teams are in play making it hard to get a firm grasp on how things will go. With UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston all moving to the Big 12 and no Tulane on the schedule, there is a chance for Navy to make an impact.

The two likely hardest games in the conference bookend Navy’s schedule with road games at Memphis and SMU. There is also a tough game against newcomer UAB along the way. I think Navy will be competitive in the American this year, but fall short in several games along the way.

Let’s also not forget the two non-conference games against the other two military academies. Air Force is always very strong, and you can always appreciate the grander of the Army-Navy game to close out the college football regular season in December.

At the end of the day, it will not be a great season for Navy, but they will likely exceed their 2022 win total. They also have a decent chance to make it to a bowl game this season.

Prediction – 6-6

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