LBs Pal­more, Pow­ell part­ners for de­fense

Ver­sa­tile play­ers have de­vel­oped into true as­sets for Mid­ship­men

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Bill Wag­ner

Pal­more & Pow­ell. It sounds like a law firm, and if it were, the part­ners would be de­fense at­tor­neys.

D.J. Pal­more and Josiah Pow­ell have re­ally stepped up to a higher level as the start­ing out­side lineback­ers for the Navy foot­ball team. The ver­sa­tile per­form­ers have de­vel­oped into play­mak­ers for the Mid­ship­men while mak­ing their po­si­tion a strength of the de­fense.

“It’s a vet­eran group that is play­ing pretty well right now,” Navy out­side lineback­ers coach Justin Davis said of his unit. “They can al­ways play bet­ter, but for the most part I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”

Pal­more, who plays the out­side line­backer po­si­tion known as “raider,” leads Navy with five tack­les for loss and three sacks. The 6-foot-3, 236pound ju­nior has 22 tack­les and has con­trib­uted two pass breakups, a forced fum­ble and blocked kick.

“One of D.J.’s best as­sets is that he re­ally un­der­stands foot­ball. He knows the game,” Davis said. “As a ju­nior he is big­ger and stronger, older and more ma­ture.”

Pow­ell, who han­dles the “striker” spot, is right be­hind his run­ning mate with 21 tack­les and 31⁄ for loss. The 6-foot-3, 224-pound se­nior was one of the he­roes of the Hous­ton up­set with two in­ter­cep­tions, one of which he re­turned 34 yards for a touchdown. “I think Josiah’s big­gest deal right now is he’s con­fi­dent. He’s un­der­stand­ing ev­ery­thing so much bet­ter now and that is show­ing out on the field,” Davis said. “Josiah is kind of com­ing into his own this sea­son. He’s show­ing great in­stincts and mak­ing a lot of plays as a re­sult.”

As a plebe, Pal­more as­cended the depth chart over the course of the sea­son and played in five of the last seven games. He saw ex­ten­sive ac­tion against South Alabama out of ne­ces­sity, be­cause of in­juries, and re­sponded with three tack­les.

Pal­more started all 13 games at raider as a sopho­more and was solid with 36 tack­les (five for loss), two sacks and two fum­ble re­cov­er­ies. The Ten­nessee na­tive ac­knowl­edges that the ex­pe­ri­ence he gained a year ago is Satur­day, 3:30 p.m. TV: CBS Sports Net­work Ra­dio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM Line: Mem­phis by 21⁄

NICK WASS/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Line­backer Josiah Pow­ell re­turns an in­ter­cep­tion for a touchdown against Hous­ton; the se­nior had two picks in the game. He has 21 tack­les and 31⁄ for loss this sea­son.

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