One in a series of short pieces about each Miami senior leading up to the Hurricanes’ final home game of 2016, Saturday against Duke.
The rest of the series:
S Jamal Carter | C Alex Gall | RG Danny Isidora | S Rayshawn Jenkins | P Justin Vogel | TE/DE Stan Dobard | CB Corn Elder | WR Malcolm Lewis | CB Adrian Colbert | WR Stacy Coley | FB Gage Batten | FB Marquez Williams | LS Frank Gabriel, five others
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He once escaped a deadly hurricane, and grew up as those around him tried to rebuild their lives. That has always given Stan Dobard a mature perspective. Fatherhood — his son, Stan Jr., is approaching his first birthday — helped ground him even more.
That maturity helped him when his college football career hit a rough patch. Dobard was a backup tight end who hoped to become a starter by his senior year. But the rise of two outstanding prospects kept him on the bench.
So last month, he had a suggestion for defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who had a rash of injuries at defensive end.
“I was just throwing it out there: ‘Coach, I can play defense.’ He would look at me,” Dobard said, raising his eyebrow, “like, ‘You can? We’ll see.’ One day he gave me a shot.”
At defensive end, Dobard has played fewer than 10 snaps in three games, but his tackle for loss late in his debut — Nov. 5 against Pittsburgh — caused the Miami sideline to jump for joy. Fullback Marquez Williams said it was a highlight of his season, and he wasn’t involved in the play.
Dobard now feels he has a future. Though he will perform both tight end and defensive end drills at Miami’s pro day next spring, he hopes an NFL team will give him a shot to play defense.
“I know there’s a lot of things I still have to learn,” said Dobard, who is 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds. “It’s a big step. Time’s going so fast and I’m trying to learn as quick as I can. I think with my athletic ability I can do it.”
And every Hurricanes player will be rooting for him.
“I was never mad,” Dobard said, reflecting on the switch. “At the end of the day, I know football’s a business and I’m a team guy. David Njoku and Chris Herndon are going to make NFL teams very proud one day. I wanted to help the team any way possible.
“From Day One I knew those guys would be who they are one day. I knew it was coming, that those guys would be this good. I’ve got nothing but love for them. I treat them like my little brothers.”