Navy took a shellacking from BYU yesterday and head coach Ken Niumatalolo pointed a finger at himself for that.
… The Midshipmen held a different kind of preseason camp than BYU, too, something that became a focal point to explain Navy’s lackluster performance. The Mids held limited face-to-face contact during practices to potentially limit COVID-19 spread. In his postgame news conference, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo blamed himself for his team’s approach during camp, which he said resulted in the dismal showing. Instead of tackling or blocking one another, the Mids tackled and blocked dummies. There were no live scrimmages.
The Navy staff’s pregame concerns materialized quickly. BYU scored on five of its six first-half possessions, mounting what was Navy’s biggest halftime deficit (31–0) since 2002.
“That’s the worst Navy game we’ve ever played. That’s my fault. I chose to block bags and tackle donuts,” said Niumatalolo, who said he will re-evaluate his team’s conservative practicing model with physicians. “You hope it doesn’t turn out that way and we talked in a lot of staff meetings, ‘Are we going to be ready?’ I heard [the staff] and their legitimate concerns. Last time we tackled anybody was the bowl game. Nine months ago.”
Tackling COVID is fine, but coaches get paid for their players to tackle opposing players. You can bet there will be more than a few discussions this week with medical staff about how far things can go in practice.