Navarre is Maryland’s iron man | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Navarre is Maryland’s iron man

BY DARRELL MOODY

Nevada Appeal Sports Writer

When you turn on the television 1:30 p.m. Tuesday for the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl matchup between Nevada and Maryland, keep a close eye on Terrapins defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre.

Trust me on this, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Navarre has already garnered the attention of Chris Ault and the rest of the Nevada coaching staff.

“I’m very familiar with him,” Ault said on a recent conference call promoting the upcoming bowl game in Boise, Idaho. “He’s exceptional, at least in our opinion. He’s key in what they do. Obviously they feed off his emotion.”

Navarre garnered a career-best 63 tackles this season along with 2.5 sacks. It’s unusual for a defensive lineman to rack up that many stops. Most defenses are built for linebackers to make the bulk of the tackles.

“I just try to get off the blocks (quickly),” Navarre said during the conference call. “A lot of defensive linemen take up space and let the linebackers make the tackle. If I’m locked up, I try to get off as soon as possible and get to the back.”

That’s all desire and wanting to make a play. Navarre has a never-ending motor. He doesn’t quit on plays, which means that Nevada’s offensive line will be tested.

“Coach (Dave) Sollazzo always has us playing hard,” Navarre said in an interview with a member of the sports information staff. “He emphasizes that it doesn’t matter how athletic you are, and that as long as you play hard and tough, that will get you where you need to be. I am not the most athletic guy, but I play hard all the time and that has gotten me to where I am now.

“Coach (Ralph) Friedgen is old school. I try to come out and practice hard and that carries over to the games. That’s what I try to do. I got the most fun out of it that I possibly could.”

There is no mistaking that. Navarre has been the Terrapins’ iron man. He didn’t miss a single game in his four-year career, and that’s amazing when you consider how much pounding a defensive lineman will take.

“He’s a very good football player,” Friedgen said. “He’s a throwback. He’s a tough kid. He comes to work out there. He’s started every game since he’s been there. He graduated in three years. He’s a favorite of mine. I’m going to miss Jeremy.”

“I have been fortunate to stay healthy,” Navarre said. “I try to take care of my body. I work hard in the weight room, and it caries over to the field.”

The Terps will obviously miss his leadership. The Maryland senior said he definitely leads by example first and foremost, but that he always tries to stay in his teammates ears, too. He said he tries to keep everybody up.

Navarre hopes to parlay his college success into an NFL career.

“I’ve talked to some guys,” Navarre said. “I think I’ll definitely get a shot. It’s up to me. Everything is on me. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I’ll work as hard as I can and see what happens.”

– Part of the fun in playing in a bowl game is participating in the activities that the bowl plans for each squad.

Nevada arrived in Boise Friday morning and participated in a bowling competition with Maryland at Westy’s Garden lanes in Garden City. The event featured the starters on both sides of the ball squaring off.

The Nevada offense beat the Maryland defense 109-67. Dominic Green recorded a strike for the Wolf Pack. In the second match, Maryland’s offense defeated Nevada’s defense 129-104. Jonathan Amaya, Isaiah Frey, Dontay Moch and Brandon Marshall all rolled strikes for Nevada.

Nevada won the overall competition 213-196, meaning that 426 pounds of beef will be split among Boise’s Life Kitchen and the Evelyn Mount Food Drive in Reno. Two pounds of beef were donated for each pin knocked down.

A snow day has also been scheduled for both teams. I don’t imagine the coaches get really excited about players going down a steep hill on an inner tube or going snowboarding.

– Am I the only one not excited about the Giants acquiring Randy Johnson? To pay a guy $8 million for one season after he went 11-10 last season seems a bit much. The guy is 45 years old and certainly not as intimidating guy as he once was, and he’s had back problems for several years.

I just think the price tag was too steep. I would have paid him $3 or 4 million with a lot of incentives for wins, total starts, starts past five innings.

The only positive is that he will win his 300th game in a Giants uniform. He currently has 295 career victories. That will at least be good for some national attention during the upcoming season.

– Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1281