Team preview: Navy

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(All information as of July 1, 2006)


Any talk of college football's top coaches invariably includes Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops, Jim Tressel and a select few others. Another name that belongs in any discussion of the finest coaching jobs in recent years is Navy's Paul Johnson.

That's not to say Johnson would've won two national titles and played for a third if he took his triple-option attack to USC, but it's equally unlikely that Carroll or any of the game's other elite could've done a better job than Johnson has done in Annapolis the last four years. Johnson took over a program that won a total of one game in the two year's before his arrival.

Four years later, the Midshipmen have played in three consecutive bowls for the first time in school history. Navy has won consecutive bowls games for just the second time ever, and the team's 8-4 record in 2005 gave it eight wins or more for the third straight year, a feat not accomplished in 100 years (1904-1906).

The job Johnson has done is nothing short of remarkable. The Naval Academy isn't a place where recruiting standards allow anyone with a pulse to enroll or an infusion of junior college players or transfers can provide immediate talent. In Annapolis -- and all the service academies for that matter -- student-athletes are exactly that, with the added responsibility of a military commitment after the completion of their education.