Interview: Patrick Dosh
by Will Stewart,
TSL Extra, Issue #15

On January 14th, quarterback Patrick Dosh out of Benedictine High School in Richmond committed to the Hokies. Standing 6-3 and weighing 215, Dosh runs a 4.6 forty and passed for over 8600 yards and 74 touchdowns as a four-year starter. Dosh had the following to say about his commitment to the Hokies:

"There were three reasons that I selected Tech. The first was the people -- Coach Beamer and his staff, and the way Coach Cavanaugh recruited me. He's the best recruiter I had throughout the whole process. He makes you feel like you're wanted so much.

"The second reason was the fans. When I was at the Miami game and they blocked that punt, that was an incredible experience for me. You can tell, the fans care so much.

"The third was seeing their Hall of Fame room and the spot they have reserved for the national championship trophy. That was a big eye-opener."

So Dosh is impressed by Tech, but the questions remain: what kind of a quarterback is he? Can he throw when needed and run when necessary? Is he capable of making the leap from a private high school to one of the top 20, perhaps top 10, programs in the country?

Only time will tell, but we caught up with Dosh a few days after his commitment and asked him some of the tough questions he's already facing as the latest player to decide to don a quarterback's jersey for Virginia Tech. Here's what he had to say.

When did you really make your mind up that VT is where you wanted to go?

I was pretty sure after my official visit (on Dec. 14th), after I went there. I got to talk to all the coaches, I got to see the environment I'm going to be in, the type of kids that go there. I was pretty sure that was the type of school and type of football program that I wanted to be in.

You said several times that UNC and Tech were 50/50 with you. Was UNC ever really even with VT, or was that just a statement for public consumption?

UNC was -- I really liked UNC. I liked everything about the school. It came down to, I wanted to go to a school where football was the big concern. I just figured at a school like UNC, I know they're having a down year this year in basketball, but it will always be a basketball school. I know they're trying to change that, but it's been that way for years, and I�m pretty sure that's the way it's going to be for years to come.

Another thing that I started realizing more and more, as I got into the recruiting process, was I think I really wanted to stay in-state. I found that a lot of people thought that was real important thing to do, and when I thought about it, I agreed.

Were there ever any other serious players (meaning teams) in your recruitment, other than UNC and Tech?

N.C. State and Marshall I was thinking pretty highly of. And towards the end of it, JMU almost got an edge over UNC. UNC (pauses) � the more I realized the quarterback situation they were in, and the way the coaching staff ran some of the different things that they did that I noticed, I started to think maybe UNC wasn't the school that I thought it was at first. It's a beautiful campus, and there's a lot of good things about the school academically, but you can't base your decision around just facilities and that kind of stuff.

What did you see in the way that Tech dealt with their quarterbacks versus the way that UNC dealt with their quarterbacks that you thought was a differentiator?

Honestly, when I watched UNC's practice, and I watched Tech's practice, they were a lot different. The one day I was at Tech, they were in the indoor facility (Rector Field House), and I know it was kind of more of a casual day, but the intensity at a Virginia Tech practice was what caught my interest. I was watching the quarterbacks go through some drills, the cones and everything, and it was unbelievable how hard they all worked. That's something that rubs off on you when you're coming in as a freshman. When you see those older guys working that hard, you say to yourself, "Okay, I�m in, I've got to work hard. I've got to step this up a couple of notches."

At UNC, it seem a little more casual, a little more laid back. It could have been the style of the practice I was at on that particular day, but when recruits are there, that's what you're basing your decision on, what you see that day.

Did Marshall and N.C. State offer you scholarships?

They did, but I didn't really consider them, because I didn't want to go that far from home. As things went on, those schools dropped off, because the farther away they were, like Marshall, the more Coach Smith and I were thinking, "You might not want to get too interested in them, because your chances might not be that good."

You went to several Tech games this year, correct? Which ones?

Miami and Syracuse.

You said in an earlier interview with us, "I had not become a Tech fan before this year." Would you say that during the course of the year, you became a Tech football fan?


Had you ever been to any Tech games before this year?

Never. I didn't even know where Tech was. I had no knowledge of Virginia Tech before this year. My dad, he didn't know what Tech was, where Tech was. It's a joke around our family now, because no one in my family, except for my mom, knew anything about the school.

It's not like we were Virginia fans, because we weren't, we didn't have a team out of the two.

It sounds like none of your family is from this side of the state, or none of them went to Tech. What was the story with your mom? Did she go to college?

My mom went to Radford. So she visited Tech a lot on the weekends and stuff. She grew up in Glen Allen, Virginia. She actually was born in the house I'm living in right now.

Where's your dad from?

My dad's from Kensington, Maryland.

Describe yourself as a player: Are you a thrower, a runner, a finesse guy, a thinker, an old-school tough guy, or what?

I'd say I'm probably more of an old-school tough guy, like a lot of Virginia Tech guys seem to be. I've never run out of bounds in my life. I don't know if the Virginia Tech coaching staff will have a problem with that or not, but if they do, I guess they'll tell me about it. I don't know how to slide, I don�t know how to avoid tackles, I don�t know how to do any of that, because I never practiced it.

I'm one of those guys that are constantly trying to make stuff happen, and I'm not easy to bring down, being 6-3, 215. Being relatively strong for a quarterback, I think it makes me a little hard to bring down.

I'm not a dual-threat quarterback. I'm not a guy who runs as much as he passes, but I'm definitely not just a drop-back quarterback, either. I'd say out of 30 pass plays, I'll probably run the ball about 8 to 10 times and throw it the other 20.

Do you mean scramble?

Yes, right.

It's almost like you're a contradiction in terms, because you're a private school kid, yet what you describe is kind of a blue-collar attitude.

I love running the ball and having a guy right there, and going shoulder to shoulder with him. The majority of the time, I do okay in those situations.

Tell us about the mentality of the quarterback position. What does it take to play the position and play it well?

Definitely mental toughness. That's one thing that I think I've always been pretty good at. If you throw an interception or make a bad read, you have to come back the next play and literally forget about it, because if you don't, that kind of stuff will eat at you and make you play a lot worse. If you can just have that mental toughness where things go wrong but you stick with it and constantly be a leader for everybody else out on the field, that will win big games for you.

Have you always been like that, or was that something you had to develop?

It's funny, because I know other guys who are pretty good athletes, but I don�t think they have the mental toughness that I have, so I think it's something that must be part of me. I think it's gotten stronger and stronger as I've gotten older and older.

You go through some difficult times at quarterback. There's a lot of fun times. Like Grant Noel, if your team is doing well, you're going to get all the praise, but when your team is not doing well or you're losing, they're going to blame the quarterback. That's something that when you enter that position, you've got to know it and be able to deal with it.

My dad has always tried to instill toughness in me since I was a kid. "Suck it up, be tough," that kind of thing. It rubs off.

Did Benedictine run the option with you? Are you comfortable running it?

We ran the option, but (laughs), I didn't option it very often! We ran it, it varied from game to game. Sometimes it would be twelve times a game, sometimes just six or seven times a game. But it was pretty much a quarterback keeper around the end (laughs again).

Did Benedictine have a fairly complex passing offense? Did you utilize the running backs and tight ends in the passing game?

Yes. My tight end had 62 catches this year, and Patrick Estes (a current UVa player who graduated from Benedictine after Dosh's junior season), when he was here for three years, he caught a ton of passes. We had a lot of different formations; trips, we run spread, that kind of stuff. So I'd say it was fairly complex.

Coach Smith told me you run some shotgun. Are you comfortable in the shotgun?

Absolutely. I prefer the shotgun, but going under center, it doesn't make that much of a difference. But in shotgun, it's a lot easier to see things, like blitzes.

How comfortable are you taking a snap from center, backpedaling, and setting up? Is that something you think you need to work on, or are you pretty good at that?

As far as getting depth on my drop, I think that's something I can work on a little bit. I think that sometimes I'm a little too close to the line when I take my drop, but with a lot of repetition in practice, that's something I can correct. My first three years, I did that an awful lot, because we didn�t put the shotgun in until last year. So for my first three years, I was taking three-, five-, and occasionally seven-step drops. Then this year, we became even more of a passing team, and we put shotgun in. But as far as play-action goes, we did a lot of that, too, so I've pretty much done it all in four years.

Having seen Tech play this season, what's your take on their style of offense? Do you think they run too much, or are you okay with the run/pass distribution?

When I was at the Syracuse game, I was a little bit surprised with the way their offense was. I figured they would try to work the ball down the field a little bit more. But when you have running backs like what they've got � you can tell the coaches are going to do what's best for the team, and that was obvious.

Of course, if you've got Michael Vick or someone like that, you're going to have the ball in his hands a lot and let him do what he does best.

But I noticed in the bowl game with Coach Stinespring calling the plays how much more they seemed to go downfield. And I think Grant Noel was in shotgun a lot more, I'd have to say, than he was in previous games.

I'd say, the more and more the season went on, they said, "We're going to have to open it up a little more." But I'm prepared to do whatever they want to do.

What about the types of pass plays that are run by the Hokies? There has been a lot of criticism that they run too many screens, too many curls, and not enough slants and posts that put the receivers in position to make a play.

I know Andre Davis is a great receiver, and he'll definitely be playing on Sundays next year. You've got to do whatever you can to get the ball in your playmaker's hands. Then again, when you have a running back like Kevin Jones and a fullback like Jarrett Ferguson, it makes it tough to get away from using guys like that as much as you can, when you've got guys as good as they have back there.

As far as throwing the ball downfield, it seems like Virginia Tech is the type of team that relies in its defense. They seem to get momentum from their defense, and that's the way it's been for a while. So I don�t think they have to do that much (with the offense), they just have to cut down on the turnovers and mistakes. And I think if you do that, you're going to do okay.

Let's change topics. How tight were you and Patrick Estes back when he was at Benedictine?

Very good friends. We hung out a lot on the weekends. When I was a junior, he would go on recruiting trips to UVa, and I would go with him, because when we were both being recruited by UVa, we would go to UVa-Duke and UVa-Maryland games. He was one of my very good friends.

Were you surprised when he went to UVa?

Not at all. I knew from day one that was where he wanted to go. His dad went to school there. He was pretty much set on it. I didn't think there was anything anyone could do to get him away from that school. When Coach Welsh decided to retire, I thought he might start considering Texas or another school, but he didn't.

Did he try to get you to look at UVa?

Yes. Whenever he went up there, he was always like, "Hey man, you want to go up there? You want to come with me?" and that kind of thing.

But once I was up there at UVa, and I saw the campus and the environment -- I don't want to get into it too much -- but when I saw all that stuff, I pretty much decided that's not the type of kid I am.

Didn't you cause a little controversy among Wahoo fans with some comments about UVa that were attributed to you in the press? What's the story there? What did you say, and what were the repercussions?

(Laughs) Well, that might have something to do with why they quit recruiting me. When I went to their camp for an evening, I realized that the campus, the way it was � it seems real spread out and everything. The tradition that UVa fans have when they stand there and they sing and hold hands after scoring a touchdown � I mean, you'd never see Virginia Tech fans doing that. Never. It's just the disposition that they have. They're just different.

My dad and I were at the Virginia Tech - Virginia game this past season, and it's 31-0 at some point, and UVa scores, and they stand up, and they're singing and joking around, and I'm saying, "My god, you're still down 24 points and you're singing and holding hands?" I don't know, that was like the nail in the coffin when I saw that.

So apparently, you said some things last summer, and the feedback got back to the UVa coaches, and that was the end of that.

I actually went up there to watch Patrick Estes practice one day, during last summer. Coach Smith and I went up there. After practice, Coach Mike Groh, Al Groh's son, he came up to me and he said, "So, I hear you don't like our school anymore."

That put me a little bit on the spot. I felt a little uncomfortable, but I said, "Well, you know, it's not bad �" I just said something, I don't know what. He said "Well, all right," and from that point on, the whole recruiting thing with me and them kind of dropped off.

There's a story making the rounds on the Internet that during one of the Tech games you attended this year, a Tech fan was criticizing Kevin Jones, and you gave the fan a hard time about it. What's the story there?

It was at the Syracuse game. That was the one where Kevin Jones dropped the pitch and Syracuse recovered the fumble. That happened right in front of us, because we were on the 15-yard line.

They pitch the ball to Kevin Jones and he bobbles it, and Syracuse gets it. Well, this guy about ten rows behind me stands up and goes, "Oh, you think you're some superstar, you're not any good, blah, blah, blah, hold on to the ball, get him out of there!"

I didn�t say anything, but I turned around so I could see him. Some people around him were saying, you know, "Be quiet, get off his back, he's a freshman."

He used the word "superstar." He said, "Superstar? You're no superstar!"

Later on in the game, Kevin Jones broke like a 60-yard run, and he got tackled around the twenty-yard line. I stood up and turned around and said to the guy, "See? He is a superstar!" It wasn't a real big deal, but at the same time, I think everyone around me was cheering me on (laughs).

It's the type of situation where you're going to be going to a school, and you don�t want fans yelling -- the kid's 18, 19 years old, that kind of stuff's going to happen. So I think I put myself in Kevin Jones' shoes a little bit, and I felt like I should stick up for him.

So even though you witnessed that, you didn't make any blanket assumptions about Tech fans, it didn't turn you against the school �

Absolutely not. The reason was because I wasn't the only person who was getting on that guy's case. There were people all around me that were telling him to be quiet. So no, absolutely not.

Lastly, what about getting knocked three rows back in the stands at the Tech/Miami game when the punt was blocked? Is that for real?

Yeah, that was an unbelievable experience. I was standing there with my dad, and I had one of those massive turkey leg things in my hand, and when they blocked that punt, the crowd just went nuts. All the recruits were jumping up and down, and the next thing I know, my dad got knocked, like three rows back. He was completely airborne from people jumping around all over the place.

I remember I was jumping up and down on the bench (seat), and I got knocked back too, and I ended up laying down on top of him on the bench three rows back. That was a fun experience.

What if you wind up playing for the Hokies and come under the type of criticism that Grant Noel endured this season? Are you prepared for that, and how would you handle it?

I commend Grant. When I was on my official visit, it was a week or two after the Miami game, and he talked a lot about it. He talked about how tough it was on him. I just commend him so much for the way he's handling himself throughout it. It's tough when it's the last game, and you have to wait another month to play.

He was positive. He was saying, "I can't wait to get out there and practice again. I can't wait to get on with things." He said he had had to live with it for two weeks, and that's tough.

But I think as a quarterback, if you're not prepared to deal with a situation like that, you might as well not play a position like quarterback in college. It's such a demanding position, and you have to do so many things throughout the course of a game, that if bad things are going on, and you have to say, "All right, I've got to forget about this and go on to another one �"

If you've thrown five or six interceptions, even, you've got to say, "As long as I�m in here, I've got to keep going and keep doing the best I can do." You've got to have confidence in yourself. Not cockiness, but confidence. That's something that I'm positive Grant has, after talking to him.

When you sign a letter of intent to Tech, you will be competing for a job that was held, in just the last decade, by two Hokie football legends: Jim Druckenmiller and Michael Vick. How will you personally handle the pressure and the spotlight of playing the same position as two players who are revered for their accomplishments on the football field? Are you looking forward to the challenge of trying to live up to that?

I can't wait. I can't wait to get to practice and start practicing during the summer and lifting weights. I can't wait until people can start being able to watch me and see what they think. When my opportunity comes � I relish the opportunity to get into the spotlight, I guess you could say, in front of those Tech crazies, and show what I can do.

I'm not trying to live up to Michael Vick or Jim Druckenmiller, but I'm going to try to do what I can to help Virginia Tech win as many football games as possible.

What about the fact that Tech is recruiting two of the most highly-rated quarterbacks in the country in James Banks and Marcus Vick?

I can't wait to get out there and play against James Banks, or Marcus Vick, or whoever it is. By me verbally committing before either one of those two guys, I don't know how much more I can do to show I'm not scared. I'm not waiting on these guys. They can do whatever they want. If they decide to go to Virginia Tech, okay -- I'll see them there in the middle of June, or whatever. Let the best man win. That's the way I've always gone about things. I've had to deal with competition my whole life. It's just another level up.

I can't wait to get to a school like Virginia Tech and look around at my teammates and say to myself, "All of these guys can play." Once I get the timing down with the wide receivers, it's just going to make me that much better of a player. I've had to play with a bunch of young guys this year, and guys who are playing football for the first time, and you know, they're not going to run the same routes every time. They haven't learned yet. I can't wait to just get to work with guys who run consistent routes and know how to play.

What about people who say that you racked up your statistics (8,648 passing yards and 74 touchdowns) against weak private school competition?

Against Charlotte Country Day this year, a team that won the state championship in North Carolina, I threw for 357 yards against them. They're a private school, but they're great. They would beat any public school in the city of Richmond. They're a powerhouse. We played a team -- South Point -- that's a very strong public school in the state of North Carolina, and I threw for 315 yards.

I can say that when the competition was good, I rose to the occasion. When I was a freshman, I threw for 257 yards against Fork Union. I was 14 years old playing against 18- and 19-year olds. I remember going up against their defensive line, and it was 330, 340, all the way across.

Last year, Tech recruited three quarterbacks -- Will Hunt, Chris Clifton, and Bryan Randall -- and it looks as if one or more of them might be moved to a new position. At your size and speed (6-3, 215, 4.6 forty), if the Tech coaching staff asked you to move from quarterback to a different position, would you consider it, or would you say to yourself, "I want to play quarterback, and I'm going to transfer"?

(Pauses) I�m not trying to be conceited in any way, but it's one of those things where it's the only position I've played my whole life, and I don't see any way how I can play any other position. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it.

People might say, well, that's not being a team player. But it's just one of those things, when you've done something for so long, and all of a sudden, you go to play another position, not having any experience at it whatsoever, it makes it very tough to do. It's just something I wouldn't be comfortable with.

I like having the ball in my hands. I like being one of those guys that has to make something happen. I don�t think I'd be too willing to hand that over to anyone else (laughs).

Will you be enrolling early at Tech?

I'm about 90 percent sure that I'm going to enroll in second summer session, just to get some classes under my belt and get in the environment. It's a big change, having to go from living at home to being in the college environment.

I need to get up there, too, to start throwing with some of the receivers. When you're around here and you're searching for guys that can run 4.4 or 4.5 forties, there's not too many of them around here. I think it will just put me a little bit ahead come time for practice to start.

Is early enrollment something the Tech coaching staff suggested, or was it your idea?

A little of both. I wanted to do it because I wanted to get up there and get used to things. The coaching staff wanted me to do it, but I also wanted to do it.

Lastly, some personal stuff: tell us about your family. How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have two little brothers, 14 and 11. The fourteen-year-old plays quarterback for his little league team, and he plays all three sports year-round. The eleven-year-old plays basketball and baseball. We're all very different.

Your dad is a hall of famer at JMU.

Yes, he started in basketball there for four years. He was actually a first-team McDonald's All-American in high school for basketball. He played in that real tough high school league with St. John's, DeMatha, Gonzaga, Good Counsel, all those guys.

And he wound up going to JMU?

He was 6-4, couldn't jump, couldn�t dunk. He's the second all-time leading rebounder in the history of JMU, and third or fourth in scoring. He's one of those guys who was just an overachiever.

He got looked at by a lot of the bigger schools, but he said, you know what, I want to play. And he decided to go to James Madison. He graduated in 1978, I think.

What does your mom do?

We have a hundred-acre farm, and she boards horses. She has thirteen horses that she boards, and that, plus running three sons in and out everywhere, keeps her pretty busy.

What does your dad do for a living?

He's a national sales manager for M&M/Mars candy company. Right now, he's the head of the military operations. He has to make sure that all the candy gets to all the military bases around the world.

So you guys probably always got a lot of candy bars when you were kids.

Ah, so much. Too much.

What do you do in your spare time for your enjoyment?

Uh, lift weights (laughs). I hang out with my friends, I watch sports. That's pretty much my life. Literally my whole life revolves around football, and lifting weights, and watching film and throwing. (laughs again).

So you're not a guy who has any hobbies to speak of?

Not really. I hardly ever have time for them. My little brother has about fifty things he likes to do, but I'm not like that.

Thanks for the interview, Patrick. We appreciate it.

Okay, you're welcome.



Copyright © 2002 Maroon Pride, LLC