Hampton feels Johnson's heat

Navy quarterback Brian Hampton knows it's coming. He knows head coach Paul Johnson will get in his face this spring. It's just a matter of when. And Hampton can't wait for Johnson to bark all kinds of furious orders to him.

"That will kind of give me a homey feeling," Hampton says with a laugh. "I would be uncomfortable if he wasn't yelling. Coach Johnson has been yelling at me since my freshman year."

But this isn't Hampton's freshman year. He isn't just an afterthought on the depth chart. Hampton is expected be one of the most important components for Navy this fall.

A Navy team that is coming off two consecutive bowl-winning seasons and has captured three straight Commander-in-Chief's trophies. So Hampton has to pick his game up.

"The intensity is going to be high," says Johnson, who has led Navy to a 26-11 record the past three seasons. "If he makes a mistake, I'm going to be in his face. It's no different with any other position. If (Hampton) can't handle me, he's going to have a hard time handling it when things aren't going well in front of 80,000 fans."

Hampton, a senior, is confident and seems capable of carrying on the recent tradition at Annapolis, which has turned Navy into the service academy version of Quarterback U. Craig Candeto, Aaron Polanco and Lamar Owens have all run the Midshipmen's triple option to perfection, running up rushing yards.

"It's an honor," says Hampton, who appeared in all 12 of Navy's games last year as the back-up behind Owens. "We've been great the last couple of years and I don't want to be the guy to come in and then we flop."

Hampton is listed No. 1 on Navy's depth chart and it's unlikely that underclassmen Troy Goss, Jarrod Bryant and Joe Taylor will challenge him for the job. Still, Hampton is taking nothing for granted. He wants to improve his option reads this spring.

And he still has to deal with Johnson.

"Once we put on the pads on, coach is going to be as hot as a chili pepper," Hampton says. "He won't be quiet at all during practices."


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