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Wannstedt Impressed with Dobbs, Navy's Passing Efficiency

Pittsburgh was introduced to Ricky Dobbs last season, when he came in for the final minutes of the Panthers' 42-21 victory in Annapolis. At the time, Dobbs was a sophomore back-up quarterback who had made cameo appearances against Towson and Air Force.

But against the 23rd-ranked Panthers, he led the Midshipmen on a six-play, 54-yard touchdown drive: Dobbs ran the ball four times, threw a 39-yard pass to Mario Washington, and then scored on a four-yard run (Dobbs's first career touchdown).

The Panthers will see a very different Dobbs this time around. So far this season he's run for 130 yards and four touchdowns on 43 carries, and he's thrown for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He's completed 66.7 percent of his pass attempts (14 for 21, with one interception).

"Even though they led nation in rushing the last couple of years, they're very efficient when they throw the ball and how they throw it," Pittsburgh Coach Dave Wannstedt said during the Big East conference call today. Dobbs is "a great athlete. He can run the ball, and if he gets an open guy—he made a great throw on the one pass against Ohio State in the end zone. That was as good as any quarterback could throw it in the country."

The Midshipmen, who averaged only 60.9 yards through the air last season, are averaging more than twice that this season: 129.5 yards per game. That passing efficiency is one of the things that sets them apart from the previous Navy teams that Pittsburgh has faced.

"If they have to throw the ball, I don't think it's a panic situation by any means," said Wannstedt, whose team lost to Navy in double-overtime in 2007. "They can drop back, spread out and throw the football. They might be more two-dimensional than they were in the past."

By Camille Powell  |  September 14, 2009; 1:37 PM ET
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