Joe Osovet's maiden game as the new ASA Avengers head coach didn't go as planned, but if anything is to be learned about the former Nassau lead man, it's that he's already back in the lab and breaking down flaws and highlighting the positives.
The Avengers (0-1) kicked off its season with a 32-14 defeat at Navy Prep, but the score wasn't totally indicative of the way the contest evolved.
Navy Prep got off to a quick start by way of an 89-yard touchdown run on its very first offensive play, and they jumped out to a 26-7 advantage to end the third quarter. But what Osovet can hang his hat on is the fact his young team didn't fold. They managed to get within 12 points early in the fourth – and they might've found a quarterback to run his uptempo spread offense in backup Christian Lisby.
Starting quarterback, freshman Daniel Rose, struggled in his debut by going 3-of-9 for 25 yards, including two fumbles, one that was recovered by a teammate and the other that set up a Rams' field goal just before the half. He was replaced by the sophomore Lisby to open the final quarter, and the Copenhagen, Denmark native engineered a quick seven-play scoring drive that culminated with a 21-yard touchdown strike to freshman running back Jeremiah Miller.
ASA could be on to something with the Lisby-Miller combination. The former went 10-of-14 for 187 yards, including one touchdown and one interception, while the latter, a native of Miami, accounted for 60 rushing yards to go with his touchdown catch.
Despite the tandem showing well, there's still considerable work to be done. There were more than a few poor shotgun snaps, far too many catchable balls that were dropped by wide-open receivers, some discipline issues regarding silly penalties that extended Navy Prep drives, an ability to fall on a fumbled Navy ball, and a run defense that was pushed around by Navy's triple-option offense.
But those are fixable mistakes.
The microcosm of the defense's ailment was initially exploited on Navy's first play -- the long touchdown run up the gut -- but they were fully exasperated during a key stretch that spanned the middle of the first quarter through the middle of the second quarter. The Rams rammed the ball down ASA's throat with a stunning 24-play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run. That sojourn didn't include a single pass from Navy, which means Osovet needs to have them shore up their run defense.
But there are plenty of budding pieces on the Avengers' defense, particularly its front seven, where sophomore linebacker Mike McGinnis registered seven solo tackles and a defensive line rotation that amassed over 20 combined tackles – led by sophomores Darrius Victor, Rashad Brandon, Karou Diakite, and freshman Anthony Long.