"I think what [offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ivin] Jasper has always told me is that how much we do that stuff is based on the decision-making at the quarterback," Reynolds said. "In practice and games make the best decision possible and try to be as creative as possible, playing scared and knowing that one mistake can change the game."
Reynolds is also aware that as the quarterback of the football team, he is viewed differently by others outside the team. The one disappointment last year for Reynolds was his academic performance. A better-than-straight A student in high school, Reynolds said he struggled to reach a 3.0 [B] average as a freshman and promises to do better this year.
"I don't like mediocrity in anything I do," he said.
Navy at a glance
Coach: Ken Niumatalolo (sixth season)
Last season: 8-5
Radio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM
Stadium: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Tickets: Single-game tickets available for all home games except Air Force (Oct. 5). For more information, go to navysports.com
Offense: Triple option
Outlook: Niumatalolo has said from the start of preseason camp that this is the most talented Navy team he has been around in his 16 seasons in Annapolis as a head coach and assistant. The Midshipmen are led offensively by sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who threw for 10 touchdowns and ran for nine. Navy has been spending a lot of its practice time running more of a spread offense, but the Midshipmen will certainly be a run-first team in its trademark triple option. Another sophomore, Chris Swain, could start the season at fullback ahead of returning starter Noah Copeland, who was the team's second-leading rusher with 738 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Though playmakers Gee Gee Greene and Brandon Turner have graduated, Reynolds will have solid receivers in seniors Matt Aiken, Shawn Lynch and Casey Bolena. The slotback group is deep but relatively inexperienced. Keeping Reynolds healthy is a priority since neither of his backups, juniors John Hendrick and Kody Akers, are anywhere close to his level. Defensively, the Midshipmen could be the most athletic and physical bunch of players seen in Annapolis in a long time. After giving up 62 points to Arizona State in a bowl game, defensive coordinator Buddy Green has challenged his unit throughout the spring and summer. The key could be replacing linebackers Keegan Wetzel and Matt Warrick. Junior inside linebacker Chris Johnson, who was expected to start last season before tearing his ACL in a preseason scrimmage, has the talent to be the quarterback-blitzing force that Wetzel was as a senior, while senior inside linebacker D.J. Sargenti, a converted quarterback, could be one of those one-season tackling machines that Navy always seems to have. The Midshipmen should make a bowl game again as long as they keep Reynolds upright, and with a rebuilding Air Force team coming to Annapolis this season, should have little trouble retaining the Commander In Chief's Trophy.