- The Washington Times - Friday, October 30, 2009

With offers from three other Football Bowl Subdivision schools, Kriss Proctor didn’t seriously consider Navy early in his recruiting process.

But whereas Proctor was recruited as a safety elsewhere, he was offered a chance to play quarterback for the Midshipmen. And once Proctor visited Annapolis, he started to warm up to the academy.

“The atmosphere of the academy in Annapolis, the kind of degree it gives you and what it does for you after school, what kind of life it sets up for you — all of that had a big impact on my decision,” Proctor said.

His commitment to Navy, which coach Ken Niumatalolo described as a “recruiting coup” for his program, has paid off already for both parties. Filling in for injured starter Ricky Dobbs, Proctor led the Mids to a win in his first career start last week against Wake Forest.

Proctor’s competence has allowed Navy’s staff to avoid the temptation to rush Dobbs back on to the field. He is being eased back into practice because Niumatalolo doesn’t want a repeat of last year, when a hamstring injury to starter Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada lingered all season. Proctor will get the nod again Saturday when Navy (6-2) hosts Temple (5-2).

“It makes you sleep a little better at night,” Niumatalolo said. “What a game to break into against an ACC team. They threw some different stuff at [Proctor], and I thought he handled it well.”

Navy’s coaches have been impressed by the speed with which Proctor has developed. The sophomore stood out in spring and fall camp and didn’t disappoint when he was thrust into the lineup. Having run the triple option in high school, Proctor came to Navy with a fundamental knowledge of the offense and its terminology.

Add to that his laid-back nature, and the California native has drawn favorable comparisons to Kaheaku-Enhada.

“He doesn’t seem to get rattled,” offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper said. “[On Tuesday] I got on him in practice about something, and he was just, ‘OK, Coach.’ It’s a little bit frustrating, but at the same time, you want a kid like that. I asked him last week before he started if he was nervous and he said, ‘I’m a little bit nervous, but you know what? It’s football. I love playing.’ As he continues to play and get better, more and more of those Kaipo-like qualities will come out.”

Proctor has been aided by his friendship with Dobbs. The two became closer during summer workouts and have been supportive of each other’s success.

Navy’s quarterbacks huddled just before kickoff against Wake Forest, and Dobbs was waiting for Proctor on the sidelines after each Navy drive.

“I just wanted to let him know I had his back, to reassure him that he wasn’t out there by himself,” Dobbs said. “Every time he came off the field I was like, ‘Are you straight? Everything all right out there?’ [I was] just letting him know I was still there if he had any questions about what they were doing.”

Proctor said he feels more comfortable heading into his second start. He was steady against the Demon Deacons, rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. But he also fumbled twice, losing one near the goal line and recovering a botched snap on the other.

Having gotten his first-start jitters out of the way, Proctor can turn his focus to improving.

“Having played that game, I have a lot more confidence in just being able to run the offense in a game,” he said. “I have a better feel for the speed of the game. When you get in there, you’re kind of running with your head down, getting ready to get hit. Hopefully I can get my head up a little better, find some creases and have some bigger runs.”