The onus at the Naval Academy now falls squarely on Ed Malinowski.
With quarterback Brian Broadwater disengaged for an indefinite period by a fractured larynx, Malinowski receives his first career start Saturday at Boston College, and he says he is ready.
"This is what you're shooting for when you play," the junior said yesterday. "This is my big shot, and I'm really anxious right now."
Malinowski has scant experience at quarterback, primarily playing last season at Hawaii, when he handled 16 plays and gained 34 yards on seven carries before leaving the game with a separated shoulder.
Coach Charlie Weatherbie's line of succession has been reduced to Malinowski, sophomore Christian Chapman and plebe Craig Candeto now that Broadwater and Brian Madden - injured in the spring game and perhaps out for the season - have been sidelined.
"Malinowski has been waiting for an opportunity to play," said Weatherbie. "He's got the right stuff to lead this football team. He hated that Brian [Broadwater] got hurt, but knows that a quarterback named Madden stepped in there and did a pretty good job last season. We expect the same thing."
Madden replaced an injured Broadwater after the seventh 1999 game and led Navy to a 3-2 record, including a near-upset at Notre Dame, and also topped the nation's quarterbacks in rushingy.
Winless Navy lost its second game at Georgia Tech last weekend, but may have found a place-kicker.
Junior David Hills was 2-for-2 on field goals in the 40-13 defeat, connecting from 36 and 41 yards, and also made his only extra point to assure that he will be called upon again.
"He had a fine day," said Weatherbie. "The 41-yarder was against the wind. That definitely gave us confidence in David and him confidence in himself."
Hills entered the season in a nip-and-tuck battle with Justin Willis, who missed an extra point in the Temple game, his only attempt from placement.
Eagles are physical
Boston College is 1-1 after pummeling Army, 55-17, two weeks ago and is making its home debut.
"They're a very physical football team that likes to go foot to foot," said Weatherbie. "They've got some big football players, and I'm sure they'll try to smash-ball us."
Eagles coach Tom O'Brien is a 1971 Navy graduate who was a three-year starter at defensive end. He was also the offensive line coach for six George Welsh-led teams, including three which went to bowl games.
Two other BC coaches, Dave Magazu and Frank Spaziani, also coached at the academy.
O'Brien said preparing for Malinowski instead of Broadwater will be a little different. "I'm sure there will be some new wrinkles [from the Navy offense]," he said.
Navy will also be reunited with wide receiver Ryan Read, its leader in 1998 with 17 receptions for 433 yards and six touchdowns. Read sat out last season after transferring and did not play in the Eagles' 14-10 victory at Annapolis.
Read caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from Broadwater in Navy's 32-31 upset victory at Chestnut Hill, Mass., two years ago. He has two catches this year.