Navy football program preparing for grueling travel schedule |

Of course, there’s the staggering mileage statics which make this worth the read. However, let’s get beyond that and look at some of the implications and practical lessons. Check out what the Naval Academy football team will be doing to cope with an arduous travel schedule in 2018.

Much has been made already about the arduous travel schedule the Navy football team faces in 2018.

In fact, an item on the front page of the Navy preseason notes package details the distance the team will cover this coming season.

The Midshipmen will log 26,496 miles in order to play five road and two neutral site contests, second-most of any football program in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season. Only Hawaii, which must fly to the mainland for all six of its road games and will rack up 38,578 miles in the process, will travel further.

Navy opens the season with the longest road trip a college football team could possibly make, flying 9,706 miles to Honolulu for a game against Hawaii. The Midshipmen are taking a direct charter flight that is estimated to last 11 hours.

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo is very concerned about the lengthy flight and resulting weariness will affect Navy during the game. When Navy played at Hawaii in 2008, the game was held in November and the disparity in climate between the East Coast and the relatively tropical climate of the South Pacific Ocean made an impact during the game.

Niumatalolo was even more worried about the fact Navy must turn around and play one of its most important American Athletic Conference contests the following Saturday.

Navy’s return flight from Hawaii lands in Baltimore in the wee hours of Monday morning. That means the team’s scheduled day off will be spent on an airplane. Monday is normally a recovery day with players getting treatment from trainers and doing light conditioning.

Navy’s second-longest road trip in terms of distance is actually for what is technically considered a home game. Whenever Navy is the home team for its annual series with Notre Dame, the game is played at a neutral site.

This year, the Navy-Notre Dame game is being held at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium. The Midshipmen will fly 5,334 miles to the West Coast for that contest.

Navy’s other road games this season are at Air Force in Colorado Springs (3,366 miles), Southern Methodist University in Dallas (2,734), Tulane in New Orleans (2,250), Central Florida in Orlando (1,764) and Cincinnati (1,084). That makes the neutral site matchup with archrival Army, being held a two-hour bus ride away at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, look like a walk in the park by comparison.

“I think one of the things I’m looking at is being cognizant of our travel, especially early on.We have to get off to a great start,” Niumatalolo said. “So there are some things practice-wise that I’m looking at to make sure we cover all our bases to make sure that we’re prepared.”

Niumatalolo said he has reached out to several National Football League teams that deal with extensive travel to seek advice on how to handle it. It is the 11th-year head coach’s job to make sure the massive amount of mileage being logged does not hamper Navy’s performance on the field.

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