Though the magnetic resonance imaging test on Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada's strained hamstring did not reveal any further damage, the Midshipmen will prepare for their Aug. 30 season opener against Towson as if senior captain Jarod Bryant is the starter.
Kaheaku-Enhada, recently named to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list for the nation's top quarterbacks, was injured in Saturday's scrimmage. First-year Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said Monday that there is no timetable for Kaheaku-Enhada's return.
"That's why we're going as if Jarod is going to be the quarterback [against Towson]," Niumatalolo said after practice yesterday in Annapolis. "If Kaipo comes back, that will be great. But we're not going to push that. If you start pushing hamstrings, a guy can miss the whole season if you come back too quick."
Niumatalolo said there were no plans to change the team's triple option attack to fit Bryant's style of being more of an inside runner and slightly better passer than Kaheaku-Enhada, who finished second on the team in rushing last season with 834 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns on 180 carries.
"They've got different strengths," Niumatalolo said. "But we'll just call the game. We just call what we call. We don't really know who's going to carry the ball anyway."
The depth chart will be adjusted since Bryant had moved to slotback during the spring and was listed as both the No. 1 slotback and the No. 2 quarterback. If Bryant remains at quarterback for the foreseeable future, Niumatalolo said the Mids might go to some of their younger players at slotback. Freshman Corey James could wind up getting more playing time.
The return to quarterback did not seem to faze Bryant, who started one game last season when Kaheaku-Enhada was injured and rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in a 35-24 victory.
"Mentally I was ready to do it," said Bryant, who gained 464 yards on 94 carries and scored five touchdowns for the nation's top rushing offense. "I tried to get better at slotback [during the spring] and I definitely think I did. They want me to play quarterback now, so I'll do that."
Bryant doesn't expect the move to be permanent.
"I'll probably end up playing some slotback this year," Bryant said. "As far as quarterback, I'm at a point where I feel pretty comfortable. I can always get better. I don't think any of the time I spent [at slotback] is going to hurt me."
The news of Kaheaku-Enhada's injury is the first potential serious blip since Niumatalolo succeeded Paul Johnson last December.
"I knew it was coming sooner or later, but fortunately we're confident in Jarod," Niumatalolo said.