Interview with Ricky Dobbs – Quarterback of Navy
By Tim Collins – Publisher, Chapel Hill News & Views
At the end of July, I had the opportunity to interview Ricky Dobbs, the quarterback for the Navy football team. Ricky led the Douglas County Tigers football team while in high school as quarterback, and was also all-state in basketball.
Last year, Navy finished 10-4 including a 35-13 victory in the Texas Bowl over Missouri. They beat Army, Air Force, and Notre Dame, and came within 4 points of defeating Ohio State. Ricky also broke the NCAA single season record for the most touchdowns scored by a quarterback with 27.
This year, Ricky has been named as one of 30 quarterbacks on the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award® watch list. The O’Brien is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award.
He has also been nominated to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team as one of 112 NCAA Athletes out of 50,000 for his service to the community.
I was extremely impressed with Ricky. He has a winning smile, a very positive attitude, but one that is sprinkled with humility and respect. I will definitely be rooting for him this year. He is a great reflection on the Naval Academy, and on Douglas County. Here are some excerpts of the interview. Chapel Hill News & Views will also keep our readers posted about how the season is going for Ricky and Navy. At press time, it appears that the first game of the year against Maryland will be on ESPN on September 6th at 4:00 PM, so tune in and cheer on a hometown kid who is achieving a tremendous level of success!
CHNV: How long have you lived in Douglas County?
RICKY: All my life. I went to LW Burnett Elementary, Stewart Middle School and Douglas County High School.
CHNV: I know at Douglas County High School, you earned 4 letters in football and basketball, and were named All State in Basketball. Did you ever consider playing basketball at a higher level, and what made you decide on football?
RICKY: I thought about it, but football is what I have played most of my life. I want to play basketball at Navy after this season, but I don’t know if I will or not. I know my coach wouldn’t let me until after this year (smiles).
CHNV: What made you decide to choose Navy?
RICKY: Just thinking about the future benefits for life after football. There are a lot of guarantees, like I have a guaranteed job, and there are many opportunities including the opportunity to serve my country and to be a part of something bigger than myself.
CHNV: When you were in high school did you feel like you could get this far?
RICKY: I felt like I could get this far, but I didn’t know that it would be to this extent.
CHNV: Last season you played 6 games with a broken kneecap. How difficult was it to play during those 6 games?
RICKY: Actually I think I injured it during my senior year in high school during the Warner Robbins game. I remember hitting my knee on the chains. It was sore but I kept playing. Last year, during our seventh game against SMU on the second play I took a wrong twist with it knee and it separated the bone from the fiber. It became more and more sore during the game. I kept trying to ride a bike because I didn’t know what it was. On Monday it was still hurting so I got an X-Ray and found out it was broken. I sat out two games, then came back and played the last six games. Thanks to the grace of God I was able to make it through the rest of the season.
CHNV: I know every game is a big game, but is there one for you that kind of stands out above the rest?
RICKY: Probably the Army-Navy Game.
CHNV: The Navy website states that you have been impressive the last three years with the stirring speeches you have given to families of prospects on why their sons should come to the Naval Academy. What are some of the things that you say to potential recruits?
RICKY: I tell them to make sure they have a plan coming out of high school, keep God first, and to listen to their parents and coaches. By keeping God first, I mean to keep Him involved especially in their line of communication.
CHNV: If you make it to the NFL, are there any teams in particular that you would prefer to play for?
RICKY: No, not really. I just want to play. It doesn’t matter where, or what position. I just want to play. I just put it in God’s hands and let Him take care of it
What are your long term goals after graduation?
RICKY: One of the things I tell kids is to dream big. That’s what I do. Ever since I was little I have had big dreams. No one can stop you from doing what you want to do except yourself. My aspirations are to be become president, win the Super Bowl and a youth minister.
CHNV: Last year you became the NCAA single-season record holder for rushing touchdowns scored by a quarterback with 27. How did it feel to set that mark?
RICKY: It was alright. I think it was more of an award for my offense and offensive line than for me.
CHNV: How is your team looking this year?
RICKY: It’s looking pretty good. It is supposed to be one of the best teams to ever come through (Navy). We have a lot of people back, at least the core anyway. Everyone is up there working hard.
CHNV: When do you start training for football season? Is it year-round?
RICKY: We start off season training in January. We have about a month off for military training, and a week off for finals. Then we start June 1st, and the last day of workouts is July 30th. We usually work out at 6:00 AM or 1:30 PM. We start camp on August 5th. During the season we watch film for an hour a day, and then we have practice from 3:45 to about 6:00 or 6:30.
CHNV: When you were in high school, when did colleges start trying to recruit you?
RICKY: It was during my junior year.
CHNV: Did you have a lot of schools trying to recruit you?
RICKY: At first. I received a lot of letters. Then when they came to school they saw how short I was at quarterback and they wanted me to convert to wide receiver.
CHNV: How tall are you?
RICKY: I am six feet tall now, but at that time I was about 5’9”.
CHNV Last year, your team went 10-4 including a 35-13 win in the Texas Bowl over Missouri. You beat Army and Air Force, and beat Notre Dame. Your team came within 4 points of defeating Ohio State. What do you think the major highlight of the season was last year?
RICKY: I would probably say (stops and thinks for a moment) the Notre Dame game.
CHNV: Obviously, every game is a big game, but some rise above the others. What do you think your key games are for the upcoming season?
Ricky: The first one, definitely, Maryland.
CHNV: Is it a key game because it is first – are they a good team this year?
RICKY: They’re pretty good and it’s because it’s the first game of the year. Our goal this year is to take it one game at a time. We want to focus on nothing else except the game at hand.
CHNV: Who are some of your favorite past or present NFL Players?
RICKY: Doug Williams, Hines Ward, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Warrick Dunn.
CHNV: Have you gotten to meet any NFL players?
RICKY: I have met Doug Williams, Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick, Brad Johnson, Mike Tolbert of Course from Douglasville who plays with the San Diego Chargers.
CHNV: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make in going from QB of Douglas County High School to QB of Navy? Was there anything that you were not expecting?
RICKY: I was expecting everything that was thrown at me because my recruiting coach told me exactly what I was getting into and just how it is.
CHNV: How different of a level is it to play in college as opposed to the high school level?
RICKY: It’s not that big of a difference. As long as you get better as they do. I would definitely imagine if I would have stayed at my level of play that I had in high school without increasing my work ethic and skill set then it would be a big difference. It definitely is a change of pace though – the game is a whole lot faster and a lot tougher, and the guys hit harder.
CHNV: How fast are you in the 40 yard dash?
RICKY: I don’t know, I have not run it in a while. I think I would probably be around a 4.6.
CHNV: Obviously there are many kids that look up to athletes and dream of achieving the level of success that you have reached. What would your advice to them be?
RICKY: Work hard. Listen to their parents and coaches because they have been there. Keep God first. And set goals and have a plan.
CHNV: In addition to football, what are some of the things you do in the community?
RICKY: Just talk to kids, we go out into the community and give food to low income households, door to door. I want to give back to the community in general. Like kids, I want to make sure that they know that there is a God, stuff like that – that there is a higher being so they know that they don’t have to be out there alone. Someone is out there with them.
CHNV: What do you miss most about Douglas County while you are away?
RICKY: The people, and the times in high school are what I miss most.
CHNV: Who are some of the biggest influences in your personal life?
RICKY: My uncle Thomas Cobb, my other uncle before he died – his name was Lewis Cobb Jr., my mom, my dad, Thomas’ wife Anita, and my grandmother.
CHNV: It sounds like you were pretty serious growing up. Did you ever get in any trouble?
RICKY: Not really. That’s because of my family and friends and people in the community who would never let me get involved in anything like get involved with drugs.
CHNV: Is there anything else you would like to say to the people of Douglas County?
RICKY: Yes, Thanks for the support all of this time. I have one more year and would love for some people to come to the games and also definitely watch us on TV. And just to keep a lookout because I am a product of my environment in Douglasville, and I represent it to the fullest. So I would love the whole county of Douglas County to be a part of my success. They are a part who I am today because I believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and the whole city of Douglasville has raised me. So, I would like to give back a lot, and I would just love for the team to have that support and to have people be a part of it and to come watch someone they helped produce.