I wrote for today’s edition of The Gazette about Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs, and how he has given the Midshipmen the ability to throw the ball better. I also wrote a pair of stories that appeared only on-line: A piece on quarterback Tim Jefferson and my weekly Around the Mountain West Conference notebook, which touches on the new quarterback at Wyoming, New Mexico’s difficult start and Utah running back Matt Asiata’s season-ending injury.
Also, an article in the Annapolis Capital says Navy has plenty of respect for Air Force.
A few additional notes I couldn’t fit in my stories about Dobbs and Jefferson:
-Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo called Dobbs “one of the most special leaders that I’ve ever been around.”
Niumatalolo said last spring, before one of Navy’s 5:30 a.m. conditioning sessions, he noticed about 30 Midshipmen – non-football players – joining the team to work out.
“I was wondering who they were,” Niumatalolo said. “They were Ricky’s company. They came on their own. Sometimes we talk about building a bridge between the football team and the brigade. Those kids love Ricky. Just like our team loves him.”
Niumatalolo said in scrimmage situations, players are extremely competitive. But he said he’ll see defensive players “sack (Dobbs) and want to help him up or take him down softly. You can’t help but love him.”
-I noted in the story that Dobbs has carried quite a load for the Midshipmen (98 carries in four games). And, as Navy linebacker Ross Pospisil pointed out, Dobbs is getting hit on many more plays than just the ones where he gets credit for a run. Often a quarterback running the option will get drilled as he pitches the ball.
“He’s an extremely tough guy who takes a beating every game,” Pospisil said. “He has a great tenacity and toughness about him.”
“Durability,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “That’s a key trait for a quarterback.”
Dobbs’ secret for dealing with the pounding?
“I soak in a tub with Epsom salt every week,” he said. “It’s an old remedy my grandma gave me.”
Dobbs said he’d been using the remedy since middle school.
“If I’d complain about my neck or a knee (my grandma) would run water in the tub, put Epsom salt in and tell me to just sit there.”
-Calhoun had very high praise for Dobbs, calling him “a superb passer,” and putting him in the same group as some pretty darn good signal-callers.
“I look over probably about the last 12 years of college football, and there’ve been a few guys that stand out in terms of how balanced they are – in terms of being able to execute some option and also be able to throw the ball exceptionally well,” Calhoun said. “He (Dobbs) comes to mind. I thought (former Utah quarterback) Alex Smith was that way. And then when Georgia Tech had Joe Hamilton.”
-Jefferson also was recruited by Navy, but he picked Air Force because, “I felt a lot more comfortable with the Air Force coaching staff than I did with Navy’s at the time.
“The head coach (at Navy) at the time was Paul Johnson. Him and I, we really didn’t get along that well during the recruiting time, so that was more the reason why I chose Air Force.”
-Jefferson had an interesting take when he was asked if winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is still the top goal for Air Force.
“With coach Calhoun coming in, he kind of leaned toward the side of winning the Mountain West Conference championship first, then the Commander-in-Chief’s championship,” Jefferson said. “But to the players that were here with (former coach Fisher) DeBerry, and some of the new guys that came in with Calhoun, I still think that our mindset is (winning) the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is just as important as winning a Mountain West Conference Trophy. So it’s still at the top of our list.”