The 19-year-old sophomore approached reporters after one of the most stinging losses of his career.
His highly-touted Hurricanes traveled 3,000 miles only to lose in the second game of the season. It was demoralizing and embarrassing. National title hopes were falling by the waste side.
So what did the quarterback do? Did he make excuses like blaming the crowd noise? Did he start pointing fingers?
No. Ken Dorsey did none of that. He spoke well beyond his years after the 34-29 loss to Washington and admitted his errors. He accepted the criticism and told the nation he would learn from the experience – he would improve – and you kind of had a feeling this kid was going to be back in the spotlight again. Only next time, it would be on the winning end.
Dorsey is now a seasoned 20-year-old junior and his maturity is one of many attributes the Maxwell Award Winner possesses. There were doubters after the Washington game, after his amazing comeback against FSU … even after he led the Hurricanes to an undefeated regular season. But Dorsey continues to prove doubters wrong, further etching himself among the greats at the University of Miami.
He saved the best for last in 2001, throwing for a career-high 362 yards in the Rose Bowl – good enough to earn him co-MVP honors. But when it came down to taking credit, Dorsey wanted to share it with his teammates.
“The entire team deserves the MVP award,” Dorsey proclaimed.
But Dorsey’s never been about awards, you see. when ESPN The Magazine came out in the preseason, Dorsey was pretty happy he was on the cover – because, he said, his team was getting the attention.
There are many cliches in sports, but the one that comes to mind is, “There’s no I in team.” When critics scrutinized his every move during the Heisman Trophy race, he could care less. He wanted a different kind of trophy – the one Sears hands out.
The kid from Orinda, Calif. could be on the cover of every magazine, win the Heisman Trophy, be considered the best ever; but if his team didn’t succeed, it would mean nothing.
Eric Crouch won college football’s ultimate individual prize, but the Heisman Winner had only 176 total yards in the game that mattered most to his team.
Dorsey refused to let that happen to him. He knew how much the championship meant to guys like Ed Reed and Bryant McKinnie – seniors that turned down an early shot at the pros for glory in the college ranks.
He said early in the season that he would return to school next year and reaffirmed that after the Rose Bowl. With one more year, Dorsey may separate himself from some of the greats at “Quarterback U.”
Jim Kelly. Bernie Kosar. Vinny Testaverde. Steve Walsh … the list goes on and on. But Dorsey seems to have all of their qualities and then some.
He is the consummate leader – players in the huddle say you can just look into his eyes, and see his fire, his passion. They don’t want to let him down. Dorsey can do all of this without saying a word.
Of all his stats, his leadership is evident in one very important one – 26-1. That’s Dorsey’s record as a starter, the lone loss coming against those pesky Huskies.
And what did Dorsey do when he took on Washington again? He completed 2/3 of his passes and threw for three touchdowns.
Was it great to avenge his poor individual performance the previous year?
Only because it put the ‘Canes that much closer to the team goal.