Brett McMurphy

Dobbs continues to bring a smile to the faces of fans and coaches alike

by Brett McMurphy September 13, 2010 in Football


A day after probably the worst football game of his life, Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs still managed a smile on his face.

Come to think of it, Dobbs is always smiling.

“It is hard today,” Dobbs said the day after Navy’s 17-14 season opening loss to Maryland. “But I keep it on and try not to let stuff get me down. I’ve been practicing that since high school. Even when I have bad days, then I still try to keep a smile on my face.

“Me smiling all the time, especially at a time after what happened yesterday when I had trouble holding on to the ball and we lost. People think I would be moping around, but if I keep a smile on my face, they’ll wonder ‘why is he always smiling?’ Then they’ll have a reason to smile, even if their day is going bad.”

In Navy’s 17-14 season-opening loss to Maryland on Sept. 6, Dobbs rushed for 63 yards, but fumbled three times – losing two at the Maryland 1. He also was stopped short of the goal line on fourth-and-goal in the waning seconds, securing Maryland’s victory.

“He’s a great person, a great human being,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “You hurt for the guy. He’s a kid a lot of guys look up to.”

Dobbs is among 30 football players nominated for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Other nominees with military ties include Air Force cornerback Reggie Rembert and Northern Illinois’ defensive end Jake Coffman, a former Marine who served in Iraq.

Dobbs is used to overcoming adversity. His mother nearly died on multiple occasions – “she flat-lined twice, had five heart attacks and open heart surgery,” Dobbs said – and last year Dobbs played the second half of the season after suffering a cracked right kneecap.

“My mindset was Ricky Dobbs was not playing the rest of the year,” said Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, after learning the severity of Dobbs’ injury.

Dobbs suffered the cracked kneecap in the first half against SMU on Oct. 17, 2009. Navy trailed by 14 and Dobbs initially thought it was a bruise and didn’t find out it was broken until after the game. At halftime, Dobbs didn’t know how he was going to make it through the second half. So he started reading his Bible in the locker room at halftime.

“I thought I don’t know how I’m going to finish this game,” Dobbs said. “I picked up my Bible and looked up in the back of the book for ‘strength’ and where it appears in the Bible and I was led to the book of Isaiah.

“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.”

“That shows me: impossible is not even in the dictionary with God. He’ll make a way out of no way.”

Dobbs rallied the Midshipmen from the 14-point deficit to a 38-35 overtime victory against SMU. He played the second half of the season with the cracked kneecap.

Still, he managed to lead Navy to a 10-4 record, culminating with a 35-13 victory against Missouri in the Texas Bowl. Dobbs finished with an NCAA record 27 touchdowns rushing, breaking Tim Tebow’s previous mark for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback of 23. He also rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards.

After the season, Dobbs underwent surgery for his knee. Playing on a broken kneecap is nothing compared to Dobbs’ ultimate goal - becoming the 51st President of the United States in 2040.

“People instilled it in me that I’m quite the politician,” said Dobbs, who will be 52 in 2040. “I’m always campaigning and that led me to think of all the characteristics that make up me: how can I use them and have the greatest effect. After thinking about it, that would be to become the president of the United States. I’m an ultimate people person. I can change the world and make the world a better place one person at a time. That’s one of my goals each day to brighten someone’s day. It could be interacting with someone or me just continuing to have a smile on my face.”

Just mention Ricky Dobbs’ name. It brings a smile to your face.