Navy's football team is bruised, battered and winless, and the burden does not lighten this week.
When the Midshipmen return home Saturday for their fourth game, they will be greeted by nationally ranked Texas Christian and its candidate for the Heisman Trophy, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who needs only 86 yards to break the school's rushing record. It is another major task.
"Our goal is to hold him under 100," said Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie, whose team was pounded for 625 total offensive yards in a 48-7 loss to Boston College. "He is a great running back and he is going to gain some. They try to give the ball to him 25 times a game. He will not run out of bounds often. He lowers his shoulder and bowls over you."
Tomlinson was a first-team All- American last season after leading the nation in rushing and setting the NCAA single-game record with 406 yards against Texas-El Paso. He currently ranks second nationally with 186.3 yards a game and is tied for first in scoring (14.0) as the Horned Frogs, ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll, have bolted to a 3-0 start against rather soft opposition.
TCU coach Dennis Franchione said his star back possesses "great strength, explosiveness and is elusive. He has run a 4.36 [40-yard dash] for us and went 4.40 for pro scouts. I have called him a blend of Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith."
"I've got him touted more like Earl Campbell," Weatherbie said. "A physical guy with speed. We've got to tackle and get off the blocks quickly."
The Horned Frogs have plenty of other weapons, including a defense rated fifth in the nation and a quarterback, sophomore Casey Printers, who has shown a propensity for completing the bomb. Printers has completed 61.1 percent of his passes and thrown for five touchdowns.
Broadwater due to return
Quarterback Brian Broadwater, who suffered a fractured larynx two Saturdays ago, is due to return to the Navy helm after resuming practice this week.
"I believe he's going to be fine for the game," Weatherbie said.
Broadwater drove to Boston to offer encouragement to his teammates against Boston College although he couldn't play. Ed Malinowski quarterbacked the team for the first time in his career.
The No. 1 quarterback has resumed practice, but without contact.
Schulz replaces Yeh
Junior Brian Schulz has replaced senior Philip Yeh at left guard after Yeh was knocked out with a fractured right ankle.
Schulz summarized the squad's problems thusly: "We're shooting ourselves in the foot. Small mistakes are adding up right now. But each game the offensive line has gotten better. I'm pretty upbeat with the way we played Saturday."
His appearance in the lineup has broken up what was an all-senior offensive line that has been disappointing so far. Navy, which topped the nation in rushing last season with injured quarterback Brian Madden excelling, has gained just 350 net yards on the ground in three games.
The 1960 Navy team, which was ranked as high as No. 4, will be honored at halftime Saturday as part of their 40th class reunion. Led by Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award winner Joe Bellino, that squad went 9-2, including a 21-14 defeat to Missouri in the Orange Bowl. Another member of the team, Greg Mather, was an All-American the next season. ... The TCU game will be carried nationally by Fox Sports Net and also will be on certain HTS cable systems from Washington south.