When you think about service academy football, and especially Navy football over the past decade plus, you think of selfless student-athletes leaving it all on the field. Navy sophomore Malcolm Perry is a quarterback by trade but will serve double-duty as a slotback (A-Back) in Navy’s triple option offense to keep a playmaker on the field. Navy needs impact players and Coach Ken Niumatalolo thinks Perry can be one of the best.
In the video at the bottom (courtesy of NavySports.com), Coach Ken talks about Tago Smith and how he sat as a backup quarterback for three years behind Keenan Reynolds. When Reynolds graduated and went on to the NFL, Tago was tabbed the starter until an injury in Week 1 cost him his entire season. Tago Smith could have been used all over the field for the three years prior but instead wound up with only a few quarters during his four years at Navy.
Perry was a quarterback for four years in high school down at Kenwood High in Tennessee. Perry then enrolled at NAPS, the Naval Academy Prep School up in Rhode Island and played slotback before moving to QB after a teammate was injured. NAPS is used as a redshirt or prep year of sorts for Naval Academy students to get used to the rigor of being a part of the Naval Academy and what is required at Annapolis.
You may remember Perry because he was the player taken out of the stands in his dress whites and wound up on the field after Smith’s injury. With Smith injured Will Worth took over. Perry was needed because Zach Abey was suspended for the opener. Perry came down from the stands and ran for 30 yards on 7 attempts. Perry wasn’t dressed because he was sick and had played in the JV game on Friday.
Perry is a dynamic player that serves multiple purposes for the Middies offense. Not only can he play slotback and quarterback, but having two quarterbacks on the field increases the knowledge of the playbook. A quarterback has to know what everyone in the field is doing, while a slotback can worry only about what his job is on the field. Having Perry there increases on the on-field football IQ and allows for coaching in the huddle, especially if younger guys are forced into action during a game.
It can also open up Navy for trick plays having multiple QB’s on the field. The flexbone is all about misdirection and keeping defenses honest to their assignments. If Perry can take a pitch, pull up and throw the ball, defenses will have to be back on their heels and safeties will be hesitant and slowed down in the run game.