Dobbs certainly looked good in Saturday's scrimmage, hitting seven of nine passes for 113 yards while directing the first team offense to two scores. His numbers would have been even better had receiver Mario Washington not dropped an easy post pattern on the second Navy series, which later ended with Dobbs taking an option keeper into the endzone for an eight yard touchdown run. Dobbs managed to hook up later with Washington on a 31-yard pass, and also completed a 38-yard strike to junior Greg Jones, who juked a defender after catching the ball to pick up extra yardage for the first team offense. Other Navy receivers to get involved in the scrimmage included Mike Schupp (2 catches for 17 yards), Gary Myers (1 catch, 28 yards), and Doug Furman (1 catch, 32 yards.)
When asked about his success in throwing the football on Saturday, Dobbs credited his offensive line, saying, "I thought we did a good job protecting, and we did a good job getting the ball out."
Dobbs also had good things to say about his wide receivers after Saturday's scrimmage, pointing out that the often overlooked group has players with the talent and athleticism to contribute outside of their oft-stereotyped roles as ‘wide tackles.' Many observers have questioned whether or not Navy will be able to replace Tyree Barnes at receiver this year, as presumed starters Mario Washington and Mike Schupp have just four career catches between themselves. Dobbs said that he has had to adjust his passing this preseason, with the margin of error for accuracy reduced because of the loss of the 6-foot-1 Barnes to graduation.
"I think the one noticeable difference is not having Tyree out there," said Dobbs in reference to the graduated Navy wide receiver, who was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the New England Patriots this past spring. Still, Dobbs isn't worried about the team struggling to replace Barnes, and maintained that Mario Washington, Mike Schupp, and the rest of Navy's receivers will make plays in 2009.
"Tyree was an irreplaceable person I think…but we have guys who are going to step up and emerge, and I think we have a group here with more than one person who can catch the ball and produce as far as yards after the catch and everything. We are going to be alright."
Dobbs, who finished the 2008 season with eight rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown, also had comments when asked about Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. I was curious to know what Dobbs' thoughts were with regards to Pryor, in particular the reports that the Ohio State sophomore ran a 4.33 40-yard dash time during a recent practice. But mostly I just wanted to know if Dobbs – who is no slouch himself when it comes to running fast -- could beat Pryor in a footrace. Navy's quarterback didn't mince words.
"Probably not," Dobbs said laughing when I asked him if he could outrun Pryor.
"He runs about a ‘4.3', and I run about a ‘4 ever.'"
Adam Nettina welcomes reader comments and feedback. He can be contacted at AdamNettina[at]gmail.com.
Click on the link below to listen to Ricky Dobbs: