Niumatalolo: "They are freaks"

GoMids' Adam Nettina sat down with Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo this past week, discussing topics ranging from spring football surprises to the opener with Ohio State. Check inside for a sneak preview of the full twenty minute interview!

Adam Nettina: I don't want you to feel like you have to speak for coach Jasper, but are you more confident now in calling different plays with Ricky than you were with him at the end of last season?

Ken Niumatalolo: Oh no doubt. I think a big part of Ricky's development is learning the options and making decisions, and Ricky knows the offense…but part of playing quarterback is making decisions. There are guys who can make decisions on a blackboard, but in a split second - when you've got guys chasing you - can you make a decision then? And I think that's where he has improved… in making decisions on the run. Like in the meeting rooms and stuff with coach Jasper, [Ricky] already knew what he was doing, but in just making the split-second decisions [on the field], I thought he improved tremendously in the spring, and hopefully he continues to get better at it.

Adam Nettina: Do you feel like Kriss Proctor has a leg up in the battle for backup quarterback going into the summer?

Ken Niumatalolo: Going into the summer, yes. Not that Mike [Stukel] did not do some good things, but Kriss did some good things too. [Kriss] has hands like Kaipo…real quick hands. He is also faster than I realized he was. I knew he was a fast kid off of tape, but you never really know it until a guy like him comes in and you see it in person. He's a lot tougher than I thought too. I guess I stereotyped him as a "surfer" kind of guy, but he's a tough kid and I was very happy with what I saw from Kriss.

Adam Nettina: You mentioned Brady DeMell earlier. Do you think he showed the ability this spring to be the starting center, and that he will give you the ability to not have to be constantly experimenting with various offense line combinations?

Ken Niumatalolo: I think so. The great thing for us is that [Brady] got to go against Nate Frazier every day. There is no drill that coach Ingram could devise that could better prepare somebody than one for someone to go against a 300-pounder who has played a ton of football games. You asked earlier, ‘do you think you can learn things about guys in spring football?' and I think that is a great example that you can [learn things]. I think [Brady] has a long way to go but I am definitely encouraged by what I saw from the fifteen spring practices that we had.


Adam Nettina: What's next for you and the staff? Recruiting?

Ken Niumatalolo: Most of our staff is on the road doing recruiting for the spring. The coordinators are still in here getting camp ready. I am finishing up with player interviews. We are setting goal sheets and getting ready for the summer. It's all camp prep right now…We sat down with individual players and gave them our assessment of what they were able to do this spring and what they need to do this summer. Right now it's all camp prep.

Adam Nettina: I talked to Eric Kettani about that issue of durability. He said he felt like he wore down last season, and he also said he wished he would have had to split carries with at times. Do you think Vince Murray and/or Kevin Campbell will give you that option to relieve Teich as needed next season?

Ken Niumatalolo: We're counting on one of them to. We need a backup badly. I thought Vince had a great spring. Here was a guy who had kind of been moved down on the depth chart, but he lost some weight and leaned out and it has given him some quickness. He's still a tough runner, and Kevin is tough as nails and you know what you get with Kevin…Jordan [Eddington] is still skimming the surface. He has got the talent and he is still learning how to hit it so hopefully he has a great offseason.

Adam Nettina: Did you happen to catch any of the Ohio State Spring game?

Ken Niumatalolo: I have it recorded. I saw the numbers that were there. It is pretty alarming with the 95,000 fans…

Adam Nettina: Is that something you and your staff have started doing, that is looking at Ohio State film?

Ken Niumatalolo: Oh yea. In fact, coach Jasper and coach Green are talking about that right now. They are in the other room watching the film.

Adam Nettina: Any initial thoughts?

Ken Niumatalolo: We're going to have to be ready. Adam, this is by far the best team we have ever played. I mean it is not even close. In the 12 years that I have been here…I mean we play Pitt and they are phenomenal. Rutgers, Notre Dame... They are all great and I'm not taking anything away from them…But a top tier BCS team that loses the draft choices that they lose and they still have a top five recruiting class! I mean they are freaks. Those guys are well coached and a very good football team and we are going to have our hands full just to compete with those guys.

Check back later this week for more from Adam's post spring conversation with coach Niumatalolo, and stay tuned for his exclusive interview with Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green. Can't get enough recruiting news? Insider members stay tuned, as Adam's "Future Files" segment picks back up later this week with even more interviews from Navy's next generation of gridiron stars! Top Stories