A 49-14 defeat to No. 10 Georgia Tech in the opener is not the kind of result to breed overconfidence, but Navy's football team at least figures to feel a lot better about its chances this weekend.
The Midshipmen step down several notches to visit Kent, an opponent that has lost 14 straight games and was walloped, 41-3, by Cincinnati last Saturday.
"They have lost so many in a row, I don't think they'll come out flat," said Navy fullback Raheem Lambert. "You can't say it's too easy, but we definitely expect to win."
To rebound, coach Charlie Weatherbie believes Navy needs an attitude reversal.
"We didn't play up to our capabilities in a lot of areas last week," Weatherbie said at his weekly news conference. "I believe we will change that. It's a matter of getting physical and being aggressive.
"We've got to start making plays on both sides of the ball. I just believe it's a matter of not being intense and tough enough. Whatever it was, something is not being conveyed to the players. We've got to get back up and get upset about being knocked down."
Navy has never lost to Kent, winning last year's shootout in Annapolis, 38-24.
"You don't want to underestimate any opponent," said cornerback Davede Alexander. "With all the hype before Georgia Tech, there was more pressure. But we're expected to do well this week. It's a double-edged sword."
Alexander had a fine game while going against All-American Dez White in the opener and should find the Kent game a comparative vacation.
Kent has lost its excellent receiver, Eugene "The Touchdown Maker" Baker, who rolled up 227 yards in receptions and two touchdowns in the teams' meeting a year ago. Against Cincinnati, the Golden Flashes threw for 14 yards on four catches.
"Cincinnati is a very talented team," said Weatherbie. "Their talent is as good as anybody's."
Not in the dark
The starting time of 6 p.m. is unusual, but the Navy staff isn't concerned because the team has practiced and scrimmaged under lights during the preseason.
"We wanted to prepare for our two night games [Kent and at Rice] and for the game at Hawaii," Alexander said.
"Waiting around all day can cause you to feel sluggish and start slowly. But we think we'll be ready."
Pub Date: 9/08/99