Ken Niumatalolo took a deep breath and shook his head.
He said he doesn't deserve to get paid as much as he does because the reason Navy is 8-1 and sitting at No. 20 in the College Football Playoff ranking is because of the leadership on his team.
Especially on a day like Saturday, which was emotional following the terrorist attacks in Paris.
"There are bad things happening in our world, and I feel good that we've got some great leaders on our team who are gonna go out and serve our country," Niumatalolo said.
Navy beat SMU 55-14 on Saturday, but before kickoff, the Midshipmen said a prayer in the locker room for the victims in France. And before the team ran out of its tunnel, the 16th Company carried a French flag during the traditional March-On of the Brigade of the Midshipmen. After the coin toss, everyone at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium shared a moment of silence.
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"Being in the profession that we're in, it definitely hits home a lot harder because you know that's a volatile situation," Keenan Reynolds said. "We don't really know what's going on and at any moment it could be you.
"It's definitely a somber moment and our thoughts and prayers are still with those families that are affected."
Other service academies like West Point and the United States Air Force Academy also paid tribute to Paris during their respective games on Saturday. Army took the field carrying a French flag, and an Air Force paratrooper bearing a French flag landed on the Falcons' football field.
"You're human," Niumatalolo said. "We're at the United States Naval Academy, so our kids and everybody in our program is cognizant of the things that are going on. We had to play the game, and we wanted to show respect. We had a moment of silence. We also had to press forward with our game. You cant help but notice what's going on."