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Navy re-hires Ivin Jasper, but not as offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo has intervened in AD Chet Gladchuk's decision to fire offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper.

Navy AD Chet Gladchuk fired offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper on Saturday, and head coach Ken Niumatalolo re-hired him on Monday. Jasper will return to the program as quarterbacks coach.

While that change happened to the on-the-field staff, offensive assistant Billy Ray Stutzmann announced he has been let go for not complying with the Naval Academy's vaccine mandate.

These moves happened two days after the Midshipmen were trounced 23-3 by Air Force on Saturday. Navy ran for 36 yards on 34 carries in the game, the second-worst rushing performance in the Johnson/Niumatalolo era, dating back to 2002.

Navy is typically a bastion of stability in an unstable industry. Niumatalolo has been with the program all but three seasons dating back to 1995. Jasper has been in Annapolis for 22 years, coaching quarterbacks for the last 20 and coordinating the offense for the last 14. Run game coordinator Ashley Ingram has been with the program for 14 seasons, offensive tackles coach Danny O'Rourke for 20 in a variety of roles. Slot backs coach Joe DuPaix is the new guy of the bunch, with just seven years of service.

Such is the clock-like efficiency of the triple option offense, where may not pile up 50 points a game and a stack of national title trophies to go with it, but where you can count on five yards a carry -- down after down, series after series, game after game, season after season.

That efficiency has broken down in recent years, though. Navy won at least seven games all but one season from 2008 to 2017, but is now on pace for its third losing season in four campaigns. The Midshipmen went 3-10 in 2018, rebounded with an 11-2 season in 2019, then went 3-7 last year and are off to an 0-2 start in 2021. 

After finishing in the top six nationally in rushing for 11 straight seasons -- including a 2019 season in which the Middies led the nation with 360 yards per game on 6.06 a carry -- Navy slipped to 52nd in 2020, mustering 177.6 yards per game on 3.68 per attempt. Saturday's performance represented a bottoming out (at least so far), and their 3.39 yards per carry are 101st in the nation. 

An offense you could count on for two decades strong has stopped ticking, and it's left the entire program in disarray.