CFB: Navy QB Proctor gets 1st career start on Saturday
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Experience will not be on Navy’s side when the Midshipmen host Wake Forest on Saturday.
Wake Forest’s spread offense is led by Riley Skinner, a four-year starter and the school’s all-time passing leader. Navy’s run-oriented triple-option attack will be directed by Kriss Proctor, a sophomore making his first career start.
Proctor is replacing Rickey Dobbs. An MRI this week revealed that the Douglasville, Ga., has a cracked bone in his right knee. Dobbs, who has a team-high 579 rushing yards, leads the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns.
Proctor played the final 24 minutes in Navy’s 63-14 win against Rice on Oct. 10. He rushed for 82 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound California native displayed a good grasp of the triple-option.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I can’t let that affect the way I play,” Proctor said. “I have confidence in everybody around me and I think they have confidence in me as well.”
There is history between Wake Forest (4-3) and Navy (5-2), which is looking forward to hosting an Atlantic Coast Conference on Homecoming in Annapolis. Wake Forest routed Navy 44-24 on its Homecoming in 2007.
“This is one of those games you circle on the calendar before the season,” Proctor said. “They beat us in the bowl game last year and we want to get redemption. It’s a huge game and we have a good scheme so we feel like we can get the win.”
Dobbs did not practice at all this week and was wearing an immobilizer brace on his right leg. Proctor took all the practice repetitions with the first team and performed well, according to Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo.
“Kriss has gotten a ton of reps in practice and knows what to do. I have complete confidence that coach (Ivin) Jasper will get him ready to go,” Niumatalolo said. “There might be more question marks if we hadn’t seen (Proctor) perform in a live Division I game. He got in there against Rice and did some good things.”
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe did not know about Dobbs’ injury earlier this week when he talked about trying to stop Navy’s unique offense. The Demon Deacons gave up 520 yards rushing in two games against the Midshipmen last season, and that was when they had a pair of NFL draft picks in linebacker Aaron Curry (Seattle Seahawks) and cornerback Alphonso Smith (Denver Broncos).
“They run the triple-option to perfection. Defensively, we’ve got some thoughts, but whether we can execute that or not ... we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out,” Grobe said. “It’s not how much the coaches know, it’s how much we can teach the players in one week. We’ve got a lot of new guys playing them this year.”
Free safety Josh Bush said it was invaluable to watch videotape of Wake Forest’s three games against Navy in 2007 and 2008.
“It helps as far as knowing what they’re going to do and getting used to things they’re going to do,” Bush said. “I haven’t had a chance to play against Navy, so I can go back and watch film of Chip Vaughn and Kevin Patterson and see how they played their assignments, and hopefully that will help me on Saturday.”
Skinner has 44 career starts under his belt and has piled up 8,378 career passing yards. He needs just 10 more to move into 10th place on the ACC’s all-time chart.
This is the fourth time in three seasons that Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green has needed to game-plan for Skinner, the ACC career leader with a completion percentage of .672. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior is throwing for 253 yards per game this season.
“Riley has been hot. He’s having another great year and is showing all the same qualities he has shown the ACC for last 10 years,” said Green, who joked that it seems like Skinner has been at Wake Forest for a decade. “When you average that many yards per game, it’s remarkable. When you throw the ball that much, to have that sort of accuracy is incredible. He’s just one heck of a quarterback.”