Interview: Navy QB Brian Hampton, part I

Brian Hampton (AP/Matthew S. Gunby)

Brian Hampton is the latest quarterback in charge of running Navy's triple-option offense. He follows Craig Candeto, Aaron Polanco and Lamar Owens, who all had lots of success. Can Hampton follow in their footsteps? Time will tell. But here's a good sign: Hampton is smart, confident and has a good head on his shoulders. Hampton spoke with GoMids.com this week. Here is Part 1 of the interview:

GoMids.com: How is the offense looking with the East Carolina game three weeks away?
Brian Hampton: Preparing for any team is a challenge. We know they have a strong team and a strong defense. But our team wants to come out and kind of go for the kill. We know East Carolina is going to be a challenge, but I think we will come together the next few weeks and be really confident for that game.

GoMids.com: How much better of a quarterback have you become since spring drills?
BH: Getting experience also helps out. I'm looking for perfection and I'm feeling pretty good right now. We have strong lineman out there with a lot of experience. I just have to make sure we have the right formations and the right plays out there. I feel real confident under center and having so many guys with experience around me really helps.

GoMids.com: What has been the toughest adjustment for you?
BH: I wouldn't really say there has been a tough adjustment. The only thing that has changed is the speed of the game. If you make your reads quicker, it slows the game down. That's the main thing.

GoMids.com: Right now, what's the best part of your game?
BH: Running the ball, of course. As a triple-option team, I feel most comfortable running the ball. But I feel confident that I can pass. I feel good about both areas.

GoMids.com: What type of emotions do you think you will experience during that first start against East Carolina?
BH: I don't know, I will just kind of be shooting from the hip. I know it sounds a bit cliche, but I will probably be a little nervous. But I've played before and know I will be OK. All I can say is that I will have a bunch of emotions at that point.

GoMids.com: Your coach, Paul Johnson, has said that one of the true tests for Brian Hampton be how you react the first time you are hit in the mouth. Your thoughts?
BH: That's the case with any new player. It's a little different with someone who has been in the rotation. You never want to go down, because that means someone else has to come in. But taking hits is what this game is all about. This is Division I-A football.

GoMids.com: So how does Brian Hampton react if he takes a big hit?
BH: I pray that doesn't happen. What I'd like to do is avoid those hits. But if I have someone head-to-head, I think I can run them over. If not, I can use my feet and get into the open grass and get away from a bunch of people.

GoMids.com: What's it like to follow the likes of Candeto, Polanco and Owens?
BH: I look at it as a challenge and am grateful for the opportunity. I look at all of them as role-models. I've told people around here I want to have Aaron's arm, Craig's legs and Lamar's wit out there. I consider it a challenge to go out there and have to raise the bar like they did.

GoMids.com: Do you feel any pressure following in their footsteps?
BH: No. Coach Johnson puts enough pressure on me. I don't have to worry about all that other stuff. I just take one game at a time. There is pressure, but I don't feel any extra weight.

GoMids.com: Have you asked any of those guys for advice?
BH: Yes, yes. I talk to Craig a lot online. He's actually my AOL buddy. Lamar has been to practices to talk to me now and again, but not since the summer started. Lamar wrote me a letter and he's helped me become a leader. All of those guys have been great.

GoMids.com: What are your expectations for the season?
BH: My expectations are the goals we have set for the team. First, take one game at a time. Don't look past anyone. If we do our best, we will win.

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