One of the best things about being a sports photographer is the proximity we're given to the athletes in games, practices, press conferences, etc. Particularly at the Division I college level and of course in the pro ranks. One such player is quarterback Ricky Dobbs (left) of the U.S. Naval Academy, who incidentally I knew nothing of until last year's Army - Navy game down at "the Linc" in Philadelphia. (Lincoln Financial Field.) Midshipman Dobbs put on a clinic in last year's game (lower right) when he ran for 113 yards on 33 carries and was named MVP of the game. He also set the single season record for rushing touchdowns by a NCAA quarterback at 24, after he scored on a 1-yard run. You don't easily forget a performance like that, especially in a big marquee game like the Army - Navy rivalry.
One of those secret little "wish lists" that I guess I sort develop a few days before a big game like this and file in the back of my mind is hoping that Dobbs would "make good pictures" for me during the game, just as he did last year. I remember telling a few colleagues on the field that we're "going to hear his name a lot today..." Well, Dobbs didn't actually have a career day against Army in Saturday's game - three fumbles and an interception, but I did make good images of him. In fact, since I'm obviously there for the Army side of the game, I couldn't help but keying (watching) on him quite a bit while looking to make good images of the Army defense. Dobbs is a player, that's for sure. While going through my take of Saturday's game, I came up with an almost identical image of him running the option and pitching out to his left, same as last year's game (below):
(2010) Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs (#4) pitches out on the option in the second quarter of the 111th. Army - Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, December 11, 2010. Navy defeated Army 31 - 17. CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record
(2009) Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs (#4) releases the football on a pitch out as he runs the option during the 110th. Army - Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, December 12, 2009. Navy defeated Army 17 - 3. Dobbs ran for 113 yards on 33 carries and was named MVP of the game. He set the single season record for rushing touchdowns by a NCAA quarterback at 24, after he scored on a 1-yard run. Times Herald-Record/CHET GORDON