Special K- special for Navy

Last year during the third quarter of the season opener against Maryland, Navy's senior quarterback Lamar Owens had to leave the game due to cramping. In this year's opener against East Carolina on Saturday, if starter Brian Hampton needs relief, Coach Paul Johnson will look to untested sophomore quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada.

And if you think the thought of that possibility has Kaheaku-Enhada up at night, you'd be right.

"Honestly, I can't sleep at night. The past few nights it has been hard for me to get to sleep. All my checks and everything I need to know is running through my head right now. It's an interesting feeling," admitted Kaheaku-Enhada.

The Kapolei, Hawaii native found out on August 21st that he was going to be the number-two quarterback during a position meeting. What was Kaheaku-Enhada's reaction to the news?

"I didn't expect it because all four of us are qualified to run the option. We can all run this offense. I really don't know how (Coach Johnson) made his decision."

It's very possible the scales started to tip in Kaheaku-Enhada's favor after the annual spring game in which he rushed for 195 yards. Or perhaps it started much earlier than that, even as far back as 2003 when the Kapolei High School senior was leaning towards a different kind of path to enter the Navy.

"I was going to join the Navy regardless of playing football or not, and what it came down to was killing two birds with one stone. I was able to go into the Navy and play football. I thought that was the best opportunity I got," he said.

What about those reports that Air Force was interested in his quarterbacking services, you ask?

"Air Force just came out of nowhere and started talking to me. I didn't like the atmosphere they brought to me. Navy was my first visit and my first choice," said Kaheaku-Enhada.

One atmosphere that Kaheaku-Enhada will need to get used to is his spot next to Coach Johnson on the sidelines during the game.

"It should be interesting. He is a pretty intense person. He has so much knowledge and I just want to learn," he said. Some of that intensity was directed the sophomore's way during spring ball when he made a decision not often seen by past Navy option quarterbacks.

"After running for a first down, I opted to run out of bounds," said Kaheaku-Enhada.

The next thing he heard was Coach Johnson yelling, "Hey, Kaipo, don't run out of bounds, you're not that valuable."

"That is something I won't forget and everybody got a good laugh out of it," said Kaheaku-Enhada.

Needless to say, that was the last time he decided to run out of bounds.

In addition to quarterback, the versatile sophomore may also see some time as a wide receiver this season, and when asked which would frustrate him more, missing a block as a wide receiver or throwing an interception, Kaheaku-Enhada's response sounded a lot like a certain head coach.

"No question, the interception (would be worse) because you are basically beating yourself there. If you throw an interception, you can't come back and play another down until your defense gets them off the field. Even with a block, you can come back and get that block back on the same drive," he said.

Back in Hawaii, according to Kaheaku-Enhada, his parents are not too concerned about blocks and interceptions.

"Their main thing for me is school. They would rather see me finish school than play football right now," he said. Kaheaku-Enhada, who has eight younger siblings, chose to major in General Science and said classes were going well.

As far as how things are going with his quarterbacking skills, Kaheaku-Enhada said that he would be happy if he could model his game after Navy's past three quarterbacks.

"Craig (Candeto), Aaron (Polanco) and Lamar were all outstanding athletes. They all brought something different to the table. Craig was just Craig – he was a beast. He'd take a hit and keep going. Aaron had that awesome arm and Lamar was extremely intelligent. If I can just take a little from all of those guys it will make me a better player."

One aspect of Kaheaku-Enhada's game he won't have to worry about anymore is his technique on special teams, a role he filled last year.

"The coach took me off special teams – I don't know why," said Kaheaku-Enhada.

Just a guess, but it probably has something to do with his value at another position.


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