After 12 spring practices, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo has seen enough.
Niumatalolo, who is entering his ninth season as Navy’s head coach, decided to cancel his team’s final three spring practices so his players can focus on academic and other military responsibilities.
“Most schools don’t have final exams as tough as those facing our players. Most football programs don’t have players who must pass a swimming test,” Niumatalolo told The Capital Gazette. “I just felt the potential negatives outweighed the positives of using three more practices.”
The Midshipmen’s original schedule called for spring practice to conclude on April 10, but two practices were postponed due to weather. That pushed everything back a week closer to the end of the semester.
“It’s a grind here at the academy and the semester is winding down. I just think it’s time for our players to focus on finishing the school year strong as far as their classes and military commitments,” Niumatalolo said.
“I thought we might need three more practices, but as it turned out I don’t think we do. I feel pretty confident that we accomplished all we needed to.”
Injuries to starting center Blaze Ryder (leg) and slotback Jahmaal Daniel (ankle) also may have played a role in Niumatalolo’s decision. Ryder, a senior, “will likely miss the first two or three games of 2015,” per The Capital. Additionally, Niumatalolo said that Daniel should be ready to go when fall camp rolls around in August.
The Midshipmen went 8-5 in 2014 and beat San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl.
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