Reporting Shane Kitzman
Tim Tebow and St. Olaf senior standout Dan Dobson are more alike than you’d think.
They’re both quarterbacks who put their faith first.
“I strive to be as faithful as I can every day – it’s my No. 1 priority,” Dobson said, who still wears a What Would Jesus Do wristband. “It’s a tough subject because everyone strives to be faithful, but everyone fails.”
They both boast easy-going and charismatic personalities.
“I love hanging out with my teammates as one big group … and I love campus golf,” said Dobson, who was a Vikings All-State selection while at Mankato West High School. “We hit a tennis ball, and just go around campus, from building to building.”
The striking difference – beside Tebow being in the pros and Dobson playing Division III – is Dobson’s a bona fide aerial threat.
The 24-year-old Ole was an offensive juggernaut all by himself last year in the MIAC, leading the league in total offense per game with 249 total yards per contest, 206 came through the air.
Dobson’s already at training camp to start his final collegiate season – the 2012 campaign starts Sept. 1 at Luther College – and he’s planning to stay with the gridiron game even after getting his diploma.
“I’m planning on penciling in playing in Europe for a maximum of three to five years,” said the exercise science major. “God has blessed me with an athletic body and I’m going to use it as long as I can.”
The former University of Minnesota-Duluth player transferred to St. Olaf after a coaching change at UMD left his spot on the QB depth chart in jeopardy. He took some time off during the in between, and thanks to some coercing from little brother Ben, who’s now a standout senior safety on the Oles, Dobson found a niche in Northfield, Minn.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound QB helped lead St. Olaf to a 6-2 MIAC mark last year, just barely missing out on an at-large NCAA tournament bid.
Dobson recently made some time to talk, including describing what it’s like going head-to-head with his little brother in scrimmages.
A former MIAC star has thrived playing in Europe, but after you play abroad, what are your career goals?
I’d like to be a team trainer or a coach – maybe an offensive coordination or QB coach.
How big of a role did your younger brother have in making you an Ole?
He influenced me. He even sent me St. Olaf gear — I was wearing St. Olaf clothes while at UMD. He told me about his freshman year experience, and how much he appreciated the coaches and the school. It made me open my eyes.
With about seven offensive and defensive returners for 2012, do you think the Oles have a chance at making the NCAA playoffs?
It’ll still be the same couple teams at the top. I see us, Bethel, and St. Thomas being the top three teams battling it out for the conference. I’m very confident in our team this year. Our goal is to win the conference.
What did you think about your offensive output last year?
Statistically I was more efficient my sophomore year (152.8) than my junior year (138.5). But I had great players around me. It’s a team sport for a reason.
How often do you have Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings with Ole teammates?
FCA meetings are once a week — Wednesday. My brother, Ben, will be the sole leader this year until an underclassmen helps pick up the leadership. The meetings are all about the fellowship of people coming together and growing in their faith; helping each other with life.
What has been the highlight scrimmaging against your brother every day?
I like it anytime we run a double move and he bites on it – it’s a brother thing. It’s the receiver beating him, but I’m the one watching him get beat. It doesn’t really happen that often though, because he’s a very good safety.
When you’re not playing football you are …?
I enjoy golf a lot. It’s my favorite sport other than football. My handicap depends on the summer, so probably a 10 handicap. My favorite course is the Mankato Country Club. Other than that, I love hanging out with my family. I’m lucky I have two older brothers, and an older sister who has two little girls.
How would your mom describe you?
I can be a handful, I guess. Growing up, I would get away with anything because I have a twinkle in my eye.
How would your teammates describe you?
Hopefully as a leader, first and foremost. Because I try to lead them. I’m a passionate player. I might have some fun off the field, but on the field it’s a serious fun.
And, of course, what are your thoughts on Tim Tebow?
I absolutely love him. I don’t understand why people don’t like him. He means no harm. He’s a tremendously hard worker. He’s committed to Christ, and to his team, and himself. His integrity is very strong.