After losing Jarod Bryant with a sprained shoulder in Saturday's 34-7 win over Southern Methodist, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo got a pleasant surprise when the team went back to practice yesterday - the return of Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada.
The senior quarterback, who has barely practiced in recent weeks since reinjuring the hamstring he first tore in a preseason scrimmage in August, was more mobile and has a chance to start Saturday at home against Temple.
"It looks like Kaipo is going to be back this week," Niumatalolo said. "It's the first time he's run gassers [at the end of practice] in I don't know how long. It was good to see him out there running."
Kaheaku-Enhada, who hasn't played since he got hurt late in the first half of last month's win at Wake Forest, has missed five-plus of the team's eight games this season. He said Bryant's injury hastened his return.
"There's definitely pressure to get back after Jarod went down," Kaheaku-Enhada said. "Now with [sophomore] Ricky Dobbs, he's proven he can get the job done. But after Ricky we still need somebody else."
Dobbs, a sophomore, rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns against SMU after Bryant was hurt, becoming the first Navy quarterback in seven years to rush for more than 200 yards.
"It was a perfect storm for him," Niumatalolo said of Dobbs. "They were pretty vanilla on defense, they just lined up one way, didn't have to do many checks. Ricky played a great game."
Niumatalolo said he wouldn't have any hesitation - or choice - starting Dobbs if Kaheaku-Enhada has any setbacks during the week because Bryant is expected to remain sidelined.
Said Dobbs, "As many quarterbacks as we have, it's good because at any moment anybody can go down."
A final determination on Kaheaku-Enhada's status will be made after the Midshipmen practice the next two days. Navy (5-3) can become bowl-eligible by beating Temple (3-5).
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: CBS College Sports Network
Radio: 1090 AM
Line: Navy by 7 1/2