Dobbs said his fellow defensive linemen reminded him regularly he was still carrying a zero on the stat sheet, so when he finally racked up his first tackle in Georgia’s final game of the season – a Sugar Bowl victory over Hawaii – he was ready to celebrate.
“When I got up, I celebrated by pointing my finger up to the sky,” Dobbs said.
It turned out to be a picture-perfect moment for the victorious Bulldogs. After each game, assistant coach Jon Fabris gives his players newspaper clips that mention them, and after Dobbs’ celebration, he got five or six clippings with his picture attached.
The tackle, however, was more than a Kodak moment for Dobbs. It was a momentum builder.
“Getting that under your belt, being put in a situation like that in such a big game, I think it’s going to carry on to this season,” Dobbs said. “My anxiety is going to be high like always, but I’ll know I’ve been in that position before and just be ready to play.”
Dobbs will have to be ready to play this season, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. Dobbs will be part of a regular rotation at defensive end behind starter Roderick Battle, and he said he’s been working hard to prepare for the bigger role.
“I’ve been working on getting my lower body strong,” Dobbs said, “working on more technique, been out there hitting the pads, doing drills over the summer with the offensive line just trying to get better technique-wise, getting quicker and faster.”
And he won’t have to worry about his teammates teasing him anymore either. In fact, when the local newspaper ran a story announcing Georgia was named the No. 1 team in the preseason coaches’ poll, it was again the picture Dobbs’ celebration of his first tackle that graced the front page.
“So,” Dobbs said, “I get to rub that in some guys faces who were riding me last year.”