As expected, Navy fullback Alexander Teich returned to the team Monday after being suspended for last week's game against Southern Mississippi.
Teich, a senior co-captain who had led the Midshipmen in rushing through the first four games, had been suspended by Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo for "leadership issues" in the aftermath of the team's 35-34 overtime loss to Air Force Oct. 1. Without Teich, the Midshipmen were blown out by the Golden Eagles, 63-35, last Saturday.
Currently in the midst of its first three-game losing streak since 2002, Navy (2-3) plays at Rutgers (4-1) on Saturday.
"It hurt not being out there last week with the guys...when you get something like that taken away, (you realize) how much it means to you and you love it even more," Teich said Monday after practice in Annapolis. "It makes me respect the game more."
Asked how difficult it was to watch from the sidelines, Teich said, "It was brutal. It broke my heart...To not get out there with them, I knew I was letting everybody down. I didn't give them the best opportunity to win that ballgame with me being on the sidelines."
Though senior Delvin Diggs rushed for 93 yards and scored two touchdowns in place of Teich, the Midshipmen failed to score inside the Southern Mississippi 3-yard line on their first two possessions. Navy fell behind 28-0 and never caught up.
Niumatalolo again acknowledged that most college coaches might not have suspended a player for what led to Teich's penalty.
"He paid a steep price," Niumatalolo said. "He's did a great job during the game being a leader on the sideline trying to help Delvin and Michael (Patrick) and that was Alex. He put so much pressure on himself in the Air Force game that he did some things that were uncharacteristic. It's over with, he's been leading our team today and Saturday. I'm happy he's back."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun