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Football injuries and COVID protocols decimated Navy’s defense last year. A full training camp brings promise for 2021.

For example, there were three different starters at nose guard before freshman Donald Berniard Jr. took over the position five games into the season.

There were also three different starters at weakside inside linebacker and six separate starters combined at the two cornerback spots.

“We had to play guys earlier than you typically would have liked. Guys got thrown in there that might not have otherwise,” Newberry said.

“Some of those younger guys caught our eye and kind of earned their way onto the field. Other guys had to play out of necessity”

Berniard fits into the latter category, having been relegated to scout team because the coaching staff did not get a chance to properly evaluate the plebes during August training camp.