SUPER K EXPECTS BATTLE AT QB JOB

This was my second time interviewing Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada or "Super K" as he is known to fans; the last time we spoke it was on the eve of Navy's 2006 opener against East Carolina. Then, he had just won the back-up quarterback job and was having trouble sleeping.

And although he may be sleeping more comfortably these days, don't expect him to rest anytime soon because according to the soon-to-be junior, he expects a battle this spring for the starting quarterback job.  His main competition should come from fellow classmate Jarod Bryant.  I also had a chance to speak with Bryant and that interview will be posted as a follow-up to this one in the coming days.  With Kaipo, I had a chance to ask him about the bowl game, the off-season, his relationship with Bryant and yes, I even got in a question about Britney Spears and next year's ring dance.

 

GM: Can you talk to me about what the football team has been doing since the bowl game?  Do you attend meetings?  Do you work out?  What is the off-season like?

 

K: Ever since the bowl game, we took a week off, then we got back to working out.  Jarod, Troy (Goss) and I have been outside throwing the ball around.  For the most part we have been trying to get bigger and stronger.  We lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we also run after we lift.

 

GM: All youngsters, including you have a big decision to make in a few months – whether to stay or leave the academy – without penalty.  Navy fans always take a deep breath, hoping everyone on the team decides to stay.  Can you talk about Jeromy Miles' decision and how you found out about it?  Were you surprised?

 

K: I was definitely surprised.  I didn't really know what he was going through.  How he was feeling about everything.  I didn't get a chance to talk to him very much about it.  It comes down to the person whether or not they can make it or whether or not it is right for them.  He didn't think it was right for him and he made a decision on what would be better for his future.

 

GM: Without naming names, do you know of other youngster teammates who may be on the fence?

 

K: On a day to day basis, people complain about being at the academy.  Everybody complains about it.  I truly believe nobody else (on the team) wants to leave.

 

GM: It seems at compared to Navy, the off-seasons at Army and Air Force have been quite active.  Have you followed the situations at the other academies?  What do you think of their independent choices to go away from option football?

 

K: I haven't really paid much attention to that.  I've been trying to pay attention to academics. 

 

GM: Looking at the 2007 schedule, what game jumps out at you as one you are particularly looking forward to?

 

K: Rutgers because that was my first game last year and it wasn't a very good game.  I'd like to get that one back.

 

GM: Do you see yourself as the starting quarterback going into spring ball?  Do you feel as though someone has to outplay you in order for you to lose your job?

 

K: No, because going into last season there were three of us that could have easily been second behind Brian and it's going to be a battle.  This spring ball is going to be a battle for the spot and I'm looking forward to the challenge.  I look forward to the competition.  Going into spring ball, everyone is on the same level.

 

GM: Can you talk about your relationship on and off the field with Jarod Bryant? 

 

K: We're close.  We are in the same class and workout together all the time.  We're like brothers.  Jarod is an outstanding quarterback.  It's just a matter of time before he passes me on (running) the option.  It's the only thing he is struggling on right now – getting everything fine tuned with the option.  He's quick, he's strong and he has an outstanding arm.  He is ideal for this offense.

 

GM: There will be a lot written in the media as the season approaches about the fact that Navy has only 3 starters returning on defense.  Do you feel as though the offense may be called upon to compensate for the lack of experience on defense?  Will Navy need to score 30 points a game to win?

 

K: I wouldn't say that.  It's a give and take.  Look at our defense two years ago when they didn't have a lot of experience.  They stepped up.  I don't see what the difference will be.  We have a lot of athletes and it's just about coming together and playing as a team, and if we can do that this spring, we'll be fine.

 

GM: Have you spoken to Adam Ballard recently?  Do you know how he is progressing with his injury?  Do you expect to be handing him the ball next month?

 

K: He's coming along very well, but I'm not sure about all of the fine details.

 

GM: How about Josh Meek, do you know how he is progressing?

 

K: Josh has been working out a lot in the weight room, but I don't think he has been running yet.

 

GM: When you think about the Boston College game do you consider it a moral victory at all or does it just not sit well with you even now?

 

K: It still doesn't sit well with me.  I haven't looked at the tape and I don't want to look at it.  I think there are a lot of positives you can take away from the game, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

 

GM: When I interviewed you just before the opener last year, you told me that you had a tough time sleeping leading up to the game – now that you have had a chance to reflect on the season, was there a point where you really felt confident and managed to control your nerves and anxiety?

 

K: I was doing fine until the Army game.  I don't know what it was with the Army game, but I was really nervous.  I just wasn't myself. 

 

GM: If you start at quarterback against Temple, you will be the first Navy quarterback since Craig Candeto in 2003 to start in consecutive years – can you talk about what expectations people may have of you?

 

K: I guess people are going to expect a lot of big things, but I expect a lot of big things also.  I have been working hard this off-season to get stronger and if I can meet the weight requirements coach has set for me while keeping my speed, and improve my passing game, it can be a special season.

 

GM: I ask every player I interview to give me their best Coach Johnson one-liner or memorable moment…take a minute (if you need to) and give me a good one…I know you have one, everybody does.

 

K: When it's during the season and Coach (Johnson) isn't coaching and he's just saying stuff, I try not to listen (laughs).  When Coach Johnson is going off on some raging lunatic spree, you just have to block it out.  You have to let it go in one ear and out the other so you can concentrate on practice.

 

GM: Mac in Texas wanted to know if there was any chance that you could see time at slot back this season?

 

K: Anything could happen.  I definitely wouldn't mind but we are pretty deep at that position.

 

GM: Randy in Chicago wanted to know about leadership on and off the field…do you feel as if you will be looked to as a leader in 2007?

 

K: As a quarterback, you have to assert yourself and make sure that your teammates respect you and see that you are doing it the right way all the time.  As quarterback, I definitely have to lead from the front and that is what I am trying to do.

 

GM: What is the one part of your game you would like to improve this spring?

 

K: Passing.  This spring and this summer that's all I am going to be doing is throwing the ball.  I definitely will have Jarod helping me out.

 

GM: Stephen in Tennessee wants to know what you think about critics who say that Navy's offense could not work at a major BCS conference…

 

K: Why not?  We played Notre Dame, Boston College and we moved the ball decently well against them.  Can you imagine what this offense could do with bigger, faster, stronger players that you can get in a major conference?

 

GM: I assume you don't want to see it happen – because if it does, it means Coach Johnson has moved on.

 

K: Not anytime soon.  Maybe after I graduate so I can coach with him.

 

 

Two-minute Drill

 

GM: Britney Spears, hair or no hair, and as a possible ring dance date?

K: Hair, and no thanks as a date for ring dance.

 

GM: What is your desired Service Selection?

K: Marine Corps Ground

 

GM: What is your favorite movie?

K: Gladiator

 

GM: What team would you like to play in 08?

K: at Hawaii

 

GM: Who will be President in 08?

K: Sen. John McCain

 

GM: What is the best King Hall meal?

K: Burgers

 

 

See also Special K Special for Navy


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