There is plenty of change happening on the football field at the Naval Academy. But one constant remains.
The head coach.
The unquestioned leader of Navy Football is back. Ken Niumatalolo has returned for an 11th season as head coach after once again receiving offers from other big name schools over the offseason.
"I love coming to work. I love the kids that I coach. I love the guys that I work with," he said. "I don't feel like it's work when you come work at the Naval Academy."
Coming off a 7-6 season, Niumatalolo says he's excited about his team this year. It's a team that sees Malcolm Perry as it’s starting quarterback.
Perry is a dynamic runner, as he displayed in last season’s Military Bowl scoring a pair of touchdowns. But he needs to develop his game through the air. Last year he went 1-2 passing. One went for a touchdown. The other was intercepted.
"I'm definitely still developing. I'm working on it every day. Just focused on fundamentals, mechanics, stuff like that. I'm still getting better," said Perry.
"I just love the maturation that he's had from spring ball to the offseason to camp now. He's got a ton of reps," added Niumatalolo.
Zach Abey moves from quarterback to receiver this year. The Spalding grad is embracing that challenge.
"It definitely helps coming from quarterback. I already know the routes. I already know what the receiver position has to do," said Abey. "Now it's just about tightening up my form, my technique."
Abey will still be used at quarterback in short yardage and goal line situations.
Helping lead Abey and Perry is offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, who has resumed his full-time coaching duties this season. Last year he would travel from Annapolis to Washington, D.C. every day to be with his son Jarren while he waited for a heart transplant. Jarren got his new heart in January.
"He's doing great. He was transplanted on January 30. He had his six month biopsy on July 12," said Coach Jasper. "The numbers came back great. No rejection. All the tests came back negative so we're in a great place right now."
The Midshipmen visit Niumatalolo’s native state of Hawaii to open their season on September 1.