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Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Five UH players to watch against Navy


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The Cougars have to rely on other players as they take a different approach against Navy. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

The Cougars have to change up their offensive and defensive game plans upon facing the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen.

Navy runs a triple-option offense, which is uncommon in today’s game, so UH’s defense has to adjust. Wind and rain from Hurricane Matthew will challenge the Cougars offensively since deep passes are harder to complete.

The Cougars must rely on a bevy of players, especially these five, to overcome the game’s challenges.

Sophomore safety Garrett Davis

Davis has started in all but one game and has been a huge part of the defense’s success.

He played safety to start the season, but was asked to move over to the nickel corner after senior Brandon Wilson was injured. In his last game as the nickel, Davis led the team in tackles, tackles for loss and even added a sack.

He’s a big and aggressive defensive back who will be vital in stopping Navy’s run-dominant offense.

Junior linebacker Matthew Adams

Adams was forced to sit out against the University of Connecticut after a scuffle with a fellow teammate, but he should be ready to go against Navy.

Although he’s only had one sack in four games, he’s had four tackles behind the line of scrimmage and is third on the team in tackles. Adams is also a hard hitter as seen in his two forced fumbles.

After sitting out a game, Adams should not need any extra motivation to stop the run.

Sophomore linebacker Emeke Egbule

Last game, Egbule replaced injured teammate Tyus Bowser in the starting lineup. He will continue to do so until Bowser returns.

He hasn’t had any backfield tackles or sacks, but has been able to put pressure on the quarterback this year.

Egbule will be needed to fill a huge void left by Bowser, so his effort against Navy should be high.

Junior running back Dillon Birden

Behind starting redshirt sophomore Duke Catalon, the backfield rotation has been in flux. It’s hard to say who will back Catalon up assuming he returns against Navy.

With that said, Birden started the previous game and has been able to find the end zone twice this season. That’s one more than Catalon.

Birden doesn’t have the size of freshman Mulbah Car, but he’s a patient runner. Even if Catalon plays, the Cougars will likely have to run the ball more if the weather is bad.

This should give Birden plenty of opportunity.

Senior tight end Tyler McCloskey

McCloskey has seen few passes thrown his way, but has been productive when his number is called. He has 80 receiving yards and two touchdowns on just seven catches.

If the weather affects the game, expect the Cougars to throw short screens and inside passes. McCloskey’s 6-foot-2 frame should come in handy then.

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