Navy is coming off an big upset of Houston, and head coach Ken Niumatalolo is helping his players recover both mentally and physically.
Navy is coming off two hard-fought games: a disappointing loss to rival Air Force and an exhilarating upset of No. 6 Houston. The Midshipmen were supposed to travel to East Carolina for a Thursday night showdown against East Carolina just five days after the massive win, but flooding from Hurricane Matthew has postponed the matchup to November 19.
For Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, the week off could not have come at a better time.
“It definitely helps us because we had some really physical games, [first] with Air Force and then Houston. Our kids laid everything on the line for two games. I feel not just psychologically but physically, this came at a really good time and we can get some rest.”
The Midshipmen might have been ripe for a letdown after the win against the Cougars. It was such a big deal in Annapolis that Naval Academy Superintendent Walter E. Carter Jr. cancelled classes for Tuesday so the celebration could go on an extra day.
Niumatalolo had most of his plan in place for the short week – he is the coach at a military academy, after all – but he wanted to see how the players were feeling after two brutal battles.
“I had sort of a skeleton shell of what I wanted to do after the Houston game with the short week, but a lot of it was tentative because I wanted to see how banged up we were. All of the other logistical things were firmly in place but how we would practice, how long, when we lifted, and all those other things weren’t in place, so it [the postponement] kind of allowed us to start from scratch.”
Navy will turn its focus toward Memphis and the rest of the schedule soon, as the Midshipmen control their own fate in the AAC West division. For now, the pats on the back and well wishes from other members of the Bridgade of Midshipmen for the Houston upset (and day off from class) will continue.