Navy sophomore quarterback Perry Olsen entered the transfer portal on Friday afternoon, apparently unhappy about having to compete with Dalen Morris for the starting job.
Scott Strasmeier, Navy’s senior associate athletic director for sports information and football contact, confirmed to The Capital that Olsen has left the team and intends to transfer.
In a Twitter post, Olsen wrote, “I have a lot left in the tank: 3 years of eligibility left and ready to continue chasing my dream."
Olsen’s decision comes one day after offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper said Navy would be evaluating the position but declined to say the competition for the starting spot had been reopened.
Olsen was the backup behind Malcolm Perry last season and entered preseason camp atop the depth chart. Just over one week into padded practices, Jasper announced that Morris had seized the starting job away from Olsen.
Neither Olsen nor Morris performed all that well in the season opener against BYU, largely due to poor blocking.
Morris finished with 2 rushing yards on seven attempts, mostly the result of a sack and several tackles for loss. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound senior completed 2 of 4 passes for 16 yards in the face of a fierce pass rush.
Olsen took over in the second half and did not fare much better, although he broke loose for a 31-yard run off a scramble. The 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore had 46 yards of positive rushing yardage but absorbed three sacks that resulted in minus-21 yards — leaving his final total at 25. The Oklahoma native completed 2 of 4 passes for 14 yards.
Jasper was noncommittal on Thursday when asked if the quarterback competition would be renewed before Navy’s American Athletic Conference opener at Tulane Sept. 19.
“We’re going to take the next two weeks and reevaluate it. There were things as a quarterback that you should be prepared for regardless of how you practice,” Jasper said. “As a quarterback there are certain things that I expect you to see whether we’re going full-speed or not. You have to be able to recognize things the defense is doing and make checks.”
Olsen entered this season as the only quarterback on the roster to take meaningful snaps in a game.
Olsen last season led Navy on two touchdown drives against Notre Dame and ran for 35 yards on five carries and scored his first collegiate touchdown against UConn. Both contests were decided when Olsen relieved Perry to perform mop-up duty.
Navy runs two huddles during practice, which means the backup quarterback receives as many repetitions as the starter. Jasper expected Olsen to separate himself from the other quarterbacks during the 2019 campaign because of that factor and was disappointed he did not do so.
“I didn’t see Perry getting better as the season went along. I never said, ‘Wow, he’s really picking this thing up.’ I didn’t see Perry take himself to another level,” Jasper said in early August. “What’s hard about that is he got all the reps. It’s not like he’s so far ahead of those other guys, and that’s a concern.”
Olsen was not offended by that comment from Jasper, describing it as accurate.
“It’s not harsh at all. It goes along with what I already knew. If anything, I needed to hear that,” Olsen said in early August. "I can give you a million excuses, but the bottom line is that I didn’t get better last season.
“I don’t think I progressed any physically. If anything, I deteriorated. Mentally, I felt like I had a roadblock that held me back all season.”
Olsen underwent knee surgery while at the Naval Academy Prep School and was still rehabilitating when he arrived for plebe summer in Annapolis. He developed an extreme case of tendinitis in both knees, which hampered strength and conditioning, and he says he couldn’t squat lift, run or jump.
“I didn’t tell anybody. I kept my mouth shut and did my job,” Olsen said. “I felt if I spoke up, I wouldn’t be helping the team out.”
Being back home in Yukon, Oklahoma, from mid-March through the end of June was beneficial for Olsen, who has shed 20 pounds after getting up to 220. Olsen said he was back to 100%.
“My mindset has not changed one bit. It’s been the same my whole life. I’ll always be the underdog in my mind, whether I’m atop depth chart or bottom,” Olsen told The Capital in a telephone interview just before the start of preseason training camp.
Sophomore Massai Maynor was No. 3 on the depth chart for the season opener and presumably becomes the backup behind Olsen. Junior Tyger Goslin was part of the competition with Olsen and Morris last season for the backup job behind Perry, who is now on the 53-man roster of the Miami Dolphins.
A pair of freshman — Xavier Arline and Tai Lavatai — may also now be in the mix due to the departure of Olsen.