QB Dobbs might start to do more than just finishing

Navy Rewind

November 17, 2008|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

The emergence of Ricky Dobbs as Navy's starting quarterback has been a steady process, evolving over the past month as the sophomore from Douglasville, Ga., kept overcoming mistakes on the practice field with big plays in games.

After Dobbs nearly led his team to its second straight 20-point, fourth-quarter comeback in Saturday's 27-21 loss to Notre Dame at M&T Bank Stadium, coach Ken Niumatalolo said Dobbs could start the team's next game, Nov. 25 at Northern Illinois.

Asked what Dobbs' chances were to start, Niumatalolo said, "With what he did at the end, probably good at this point."

But Niumatalolo said he would likely take a couple of days before deciding. Some of it might depend on the status of senior Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, who has been sidelined for much of the season with an injured hamstring and appeared to still be hobbled last week.

"We got to wait and see the tape and see what everybody does," Niumatalolo said. "It's so hard right after the game, there's so much emotion. You've got to take that stuff out and have a clear view of what guys are doing. ... Based on the end of this game, we'll probably go with Ricky."

Replacing senior Jarod Bryant at the end of the third quarter, Dobbs didn't make an immediate impact as Navy's offense continued to struggle. Unlike the Temple game, in which Navy erased a 27-7 deficit over the last 14 minutes and won in overtime, the Midshipmen saved the excitement for the last two minutes.

Two touchdowns in a span of 18 seconds - the second set up by a 40-yard pass from Dobbs to Tyree Barnes - and two recovered onside kicks by linebacker Corey Johnson brought Navy to within six points. Another long pass, on the sideline to Shun White, slipped through his fingers to end the comeback.

Though his numbers seemed pedestrian - 2-for-8 passing for 54 yards, 13 carries for 27 yards - the impact Dobbs has on the Navy offense was evident. Although he still makes mistakes on some reads, he presents a more dangerous threat than Bryant.

"He didn't play great, but there's something about the kid," Niumatalolo said. "I can't explain it. As a staff, this is going to be a big topic of discussion."

Some thought Niumatalolo waited a little too long to get Dobbs in late in the third quarter, considering that the offense had stalled again for much of the game with Bryant at quarterback. The Midshipmen were 0-for-7 on third down with Bryant and 0-for-3 until Dobbs rushed three yards for a first down on Navy's last possession.

As he has done in the past, Niumatalolo would not blame Bryant.

"It wasn't Jarod's fault guys can't line up. It's not Jarod's fault that we don't block the right people," Niumatalolo said. "At the point that we pulled him, it still wasn't Jarod's fault, but we needed some type of spark. We still struggled when Ricky got in there, but fortunately at the end we got something going."

Dobbs remains patient.

"I'll just be ready," Dobbs said. "Like I told you every other time, whatever they decide I'll go with it. Just take it as it comes."


The way Navy played defense in the first half, forcing turnovers by Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen on his team's first two possessions and intercepting him twice in the half, both times by cornerback Ketric Buffin.


Navy's continued struggle with its triple-option offense for all but one series in the first 31/2 quarters. Of Navy's season-low 242 yards of offense (also a season-low 178 rushing yards), 107 came in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Fast forward

The 6-4 Midshipmen play at Northern Illinois (5-5) on Nov. 25 The Huskies play Tuesday against Kent State.


Nov. 25,

7:45 p.m.


Radio: 1090 AM

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