Aug. 11, 2009
Transcript of Navy Head Football Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s Comments Following Practice On Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Niumatalolo: Sorry to make you get up so early this morning Wags. You had to get up so early you didn’t even have time to shave.
Bill Wagner (Annapolis Capital): I didn’t even shower, does that bother you?
Niumatalolo: That is too much information.
Wagner: Do you have to be careful to manage things when it is this hot? It is brutal out here, especially around mid-day.
Niumatalolo: That is why we started early. We got going around 8:30 trying to beat the heat and get some good work in and then it allows our guys to get off their feet the rest of the day and rest their legs. We are just trying to be smart. There is a fine line between trying to get your kids tough and getting ready for the heat and being stupid. We moved the practices to the morning on the recommendation of Doc Fair. I figured the guy has been a trainer for 40 years I better listen to him.
Mike Fratto (Washington Times): Do you have a timetable for Curry to get back and involved with everything?
Niumatalolo: Probably another week. We aren’t really sure what happened so the medical people just want to be careful and so do we. We don’t want to rush him back. He looks really good and if we knew what was wrong with him we would probably push to get him back, but since we aren’t real sure we are going to be careful. Fortunately we have some time. This is the longest camp I can ever remember. We really have five weeks of camp and we still have four weeks left so we are just trying to be smart about it. He has a couple more tests to make sure he is all clear and then we will start trying to get him back in shape. He worked really hard this summer and was in phenomenal shape, but this set him back a little bit sitting in the hospital for a few days watching Oprah.
Camille Powell (Washington Post): Did he lose any weight?
Niumatalolo: No, the food must be pretty good at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Wagner: I was going to ask you about a couple of the depth chart changes. I know it doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, but one kid that sticks out is freshman De’Von Richardson. For a plebe to get on the depth chart this early in fall camp is impressive. What have you seen in him?
Niumatalolo: He is very talented. He has a ways to go, but Coach Green will have him ready. Coach Green has done a phenomenal job for years and he will have him ready. De’Von is a kid that has a lot of talent, but he is still learning the game. The depth right now really doesn’t mean anything. We are moving people around and trying to motivate some people. We shuffle names every day.
Wagner: Is that the case with Merchant at safety? Are you sending a message?
Niumatalolo: We are not really sending a message. He was gone all spring ball so he has to pay the price. You can’t just leave and then come back and expect to be starting. He has to work his way back up the depth chart. That being said, he looks pretty good.
Wagner: How about Brian Blick. It is impressive that he converted from quarterback to safety in the summer and he is already second on the depth chart.
Niumatalolo: If our entire team worked as hard as Brian Blick we would be pretty good. He is phenomenal. The kid is a machine. He is very similar to Jeff Deliz. If Buddy told him to come back at the start of camp weighing 188.7 pounds the kid would come back weighing 188.7 pounds. He is very impressive.
Wagner: That is pretty encouraging that you can take a quarterback and switch him over to defense and he was able to find a home over there.
Niumatalolo: That’s the kind of kids we have here. The kids just want to play and that has always been our approach here is to recruit athletic guys and if they aren’t in the mix at one position we move them and try and find them a place where they can play. Brian has busted his butt all offseason, from getting faster and stronger to watching tape on his own. He has done a great job.
Wagner: The last one I wanted to ask you about is Simmons being listed even with Haberer and Pospisil. Has Simmons really shown you that much that he is even with those two guys that are returning starters? Pospisil led the team in tackles last year.
Niumatalolo: We are happy with all three guys. Tyler Simmons is doing a phenomenal job. All three guys are playing great. It isn’t that Ross or Tony are playing bad, Tyler is just playing that well.
Powell: You have had prior enlisted players on the team before, what does a guy like Richard Marshall bring to the team outside of the football part?
Niumatalolo: They bring somebody a hope of what it’s like when you go out and serve in the fleet. When you are here at the Academy sometimes the kids think the Academy is like the fleet, but when they are able to talk to a guy like Richard and they can hear all of his experiences it gives them a different perspective.
Powell: Do you find that football means a little more to someone like that because of what he did before coming to Navy?
Niumatalolo: I wish I could have taped the motivational speech he gave the other night to the team. It gave us all goose bumps. The kids really respect him, because he has been there and done that, yet he doesn’t come off as arrogant or conceited. He is very humble and does anything you ask him to do. The kids have tremendous respect for him.