Preseason Chat: Ricky Dobbs

Navy's quarterback has been a busy man this offseason. Not only did he receive the keys to his hometown of Douglassville, Georgia, but he has been volunteering his time at local youth camps around Annapolis. What does he do in his spare time? With 7-on-7s starting up and fall practices around the corner, Dobbs' busy schedule begs the question of ‘what spare time?'

Not that Navy's record setting and potential Heisman darkhorse quarterback would have it any other way. A humble young man who insists that all the accolades he's earned are "not meant for him" and should be treated as a gift from God, Dobbs is more than happy to take up the busy schedule of a Navy football team captain. And while the Mids feature a host of promising student athletes, Dobbs is much too modest when discussing his own success. Make no mistake about it: he very well may be the best Navy football player since Roger Staubach, much less the greatest Navy quarterback since the former Heisman trophy winner. I caught up with Dobbs recently, and got the lowdown on his faith, his developing leadership style and outlook for the 2010 season.

GoMids.com: You've been very active in speaking to young people and helping out at kids camps in the past. What do you tell the kids when you're there?

Ricky Dobbs: What I usually tell them is how important it is to have a plan and to dream big: set goals, and to have the goals to reach those dreams. I tell them it's important that they listen to their parents and coaches. I also tell them about my personal relationship with God and how He has affected me and been done this or that for me. It gives them something to believe in if they're Christian, and if not, just in general a belief in a Higher Power.

GoMids.com: What has it been like for you to receive so many honors recently?

Ricky Dobbs: It's been pretty huge, but I definitely try to stay humble because it's not for me. It's not intended for me – I believe this is the way God is using me to orchestrate his plan, and I'm just the instrument. I feel blessed to be a part of His plan and a part of His mission.

GoMids.com: You talk about God's plan quite a bit. If you don't mind me asking, what is God's plan for Ricky Dobbs?

Ricky Dobbs: To be honest I have no clue. I just look to take it one day at a time and continue to play. That's all I can do, because I have no clue as to what he has in store for me. I know that I'm here for something and He is using me with football. Even with getting the keys to my city and my hometown I feel like He's using me in a way to maybe bring the community closer whether to just lead or have different activities. I'm just sitting back and watching. He is in the driver seat.

GoMids.com: That sounds a lot what Tim Tebow would say. Come to think of it, you two seem to have a lot in common. Have you ever met Tim, and if not, would you like to meet him?

Ricky Dobbs: I definitely would like to meet him. I suppose one day our paths' will cross and we'll be able to chat a bit and pick each others' brains and see how God is using both of us. God is definitely using him as well.

GoMids.com: Maybe he could be your running mate?

Ricky Dobbs: (Laughs) That would be quite interesting.

GoMids.com: But on a more serious point…There has been a lot of criticism of Navy athletes as of late, especially with what has happened with Marcus Curry and Mario Washington. What do you say to those who criticize Navy athletes and say things like ‘football players get special treatment'?

Ricky Dobbs: From my perspective, I don't pay much attention (to the talk). People are going to talk regardless, and you're always going to have positive people and negative people. What matters most to me is what goes on here, and some of those people don't understand. And even still, even with people here in the wider space of the Academy, (there are) those who are around everyday but still don't really understand everything what goes into every decision and a lot of stuff. To me I look at it like, ‘if they're going to talk, let them talk'. They don't really understand or know what it's like to be here, and for the decisions that are made around whether people get retained or kicked out or anything like that. A lot of people, with what they see, it's out of focus. They're looking from the outside instead of the inside. I just take it with a grain of salt. People are always going to talk. It's something I learned growing up, and the way it was put to me was ‘you're always going to have haters.' They may not be ‘haters' all the time, but they could be people who try to talk you down or whatever it may be. A lot of people will talk, but it doesn't faze me whether or not it's someone at the Academy or outside the academy or critics or anything like that. What happens here is the most important thing to me.

GoMids.com: Does it fall to players like you and fellow team captain Wyatt Middleton to try to change that perspective?

Ricky Dobbs: Wyatt and I are definitely trying to change the perception and the way people see us as football players. That's what it is all about a lot of the time. People will assume that if it looks good than we don't really have a problem. A lot of times they'll say that it looks like (football players) don't care, but they don't really know what we go through on a day to day basis. We could be dog tired and they don't know too much of nothing. They might just think that (that player) just doesn't care, but you never know what a guy or a girl is going through on a day to day basis. (Wyatt and I) are just trying to change the image of a football player here, and let people know that we are Midshipmen first. If guys aren't on board with (being a Midshipmen first) and aren't willing to make that sacrifice than we're more than happy to move on without them.

GoMids.com: I know you were a close friend of both Marcus and Mario. How does the team – and you how do you personally – move on without them?

Ricky Dobbs: To be honest we've already moved on. You can look and tell from this summer that everyone has already moved on. That's the good thing about the people here. We're trained that way: to expect the unexpected. With the military and the Navy itself, you never know what is going to happen. A lot of times you'll have a company officer who you've been with maybe a year or two, but then they leave. You can't get attached because everything still goes on. You have to treat it sort of like a machine. You get a replacement and you keep on going. It's sort of the same way with Marcus and Mario. Both of them are definitely detrimental losses, but we can't let it hold us back and it's not going to hold us back. The only thing we can do is make sure everyone stays encouraged and make sure everyone knows that we just have to step up (as a team). If Marcus and Mario were still here it would be no different. It just means somebody is going to have to work that much harder or somebody is going to have to step up.

GoMids.com: How do you think you've grown as a leader on the field over the past two or three years?

Ricky Dobbs: I don't know if there is anything specific. Just overall, I try to work on everything as a whole, and think I've made progress as a leader. Whether it be just talking to guys or being able to get the feel for guys without having them having to explain things to you.

GoMids.com: 27 touchdowns on the ground last season. Which was the most memorable (or meaningful) to you?

Ricky Dobbs: The fifty-something yarder against Hawaii. It was my longest touchdown. I was at home the weekend before, and my uncle was critiquing me because I never really learned how to run and would just run. So everytime I would break into the open I put my head up. I remember with that one specific touchdown I felt my head go up, but then I put it down and kept driving. That's what actually got me the score because if I would have kept my head up I would have got caught from behind.

GoMids.com: What do you hope your legacy is at Navy? How do you want people to remember you?

Ricky Dobbs: That Ricky Dobbs was a God-fearing young man who only sought out to please God and never really to please man, took take life as it came to him, and let everything else fall into place. The number one thing is just wanting to be known as one who is a warrior for God both on and off the field. When I play on the field I play for Him and His glory, and off the field I live for it.

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