Midshipmen motivated for Ga. Tech


Navy's football team has no reason to lack inspiration this week.

After a dull effort in a 17-6 opening-game loss to Temple two Saturdays ago, the Midshipmen move to higher ground with a visit to a Georgia Tech team that extended No. 2 Florida State to the final whistle before losing, 26-21, last week.

Moreover, Georgia Tech - with All-American Joe Hamilton at quarterback - blasted the Mids, 49-14, in Annapolis to start 1999, by far Navy's worst defeat of the season. Play it back for payback purposes.

"I know they're as good a team as we'll play," said coach Charlie Weatherbie. "We're going to have to play hard-nosed Navy football."

Hamilton and standout receiver Des White are gone, but the Yellow Jackets have 10 returning starters on defense and their two-headed platoon at quarterback has worked smoothly.

Unfortunately for Navy, the Tech defense has permitted only 81 net rushing yards (1.4 per attempt) in two games to rank 10th nationally. If Navy cannot advance the ball over land, its offense will be in big trouble again.

So, the Midshipmen must be aroused for this game or face an 0-2 start.

"Many of the problems we faced were caused by us," said offensive tackle Hoot Stahl. "We expected a lot more than we showed against Temple."

"We didn't come prepared emotionally," said Weatherbie. "I expect a ton of improvement this week. Most teams improve the most between the first and second ballgames."

Lawston playing for Tech

The Yellow Jackets' roster includes freshman Anthony Lawston, a first-team all-state selection from Eastern Tech as a wide receiver two seasons ago.

Coach George O'Leary has shifted the 6-3, 228-pound Lawston to linebacker after he was redshirted last fall after one game.

Lawston is listed as the top backup to Recardo Wimbush.

Double duty

Weatherbie said he has no qualms about playing Chris Lepore, an All-America candidate at safety, as a kickoff returner.

"We have put our best players on special teams, guys who have the opportunity to break something for a touchdown," he said. "We want them in position to make plays. There is no more danger of getting injured there than in the defensive backfield."

Not enough offense

Navy's 148 yards of total offense in the opener were the fewest by a Weatherbie-coached team. The previous low was 175 against SMU in 1998. And the seven first downs were the fewest by a Navy offense in 205 games, or since a 38-0 loss to Notre Dame in 1981. ... The game will be televised regionally by HTS.

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