Dorsey upbeat about his return
Duck defensive end awaits penalty for role in ticket scandal
EUGENE Ñ Senior defensive end Quinn Dorsey promises to be bigger, faster, stronger and better on the field for the Oregon Ducks, one season after bringing an element of disrepute to the football program.
'I was anxious to get back on the field and work to get better,' Dorsey said at the conclusion of the Ducks' spring practice last Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
'I'm a better player, most definitely. I can recognize formations a lot better, read, do my assignments. Things come easier. When you know your stuff, you can play faster because you don't have to think about everything you have to do.
'If you're unsure, your head spins. You're hesitant.'
Dorsey performed well enough in the spring to establish himself as one of Oregon's two starting defensive ends next season. Of course, his season most likely won't start for three or four games.
The Ducks and Dorsey are still waiting to hear from the NCAA about the penalty for his involvement in a rent-for-tickets scheme exposed last fall. Dorsey admitted to taking discounted rent Ñ amounting to $2,040 Ñ from the management of an apartment complex in which he lived in exchange for some of his allotment of complimentary UO tickets. Another unidentified former player also was implicated.
It was a 'secondary violation' of NCAA regulations, meaning the case won't bring down the Oregon football program as we know it; there are schools with several secondary violations each year. The school's administration Ñ specifically, Athletic Director Bill Moos Ñ acted quickly and recommended to the Pacific-10 Conference that Dorsey be required to pay restitution to settle, including donating $1,350 to charity, which he has done. In addition, the NCAA probably will require Dorsey to sit out some games.
George Wingard, a Eugene businessman and former state legislator, and three employees of his property management company who took part in the scheme have had their Oregon football ticket privileges revoked. Wingard can regain basketball season ticket privileges next year after paying restitution.
'Word hasn't got back to me, specifically,' Dorsey says about the anticipated penalty. 'I have to take the punishment that was dealt me. I made some choices, and I have to pay for them. It's going to hurt my team, but I'll do my best when I do get an opportunity to be on the field.'
Dorsey sat out last season, taking his redshirt year, but he denied sitting out because of the scandal. 'My knee injury, and there were things going on back at my house,' he says, without being specific about whether he means his Eugene residence or Denver family home.
The rent-for-ticket scandal 'actually came after we already made the decision to redshirt,' Dorsey adds.
Does he feel he let the Ducks down during a tumultuous 2002 season? 'No, I can't say that,' Dorsey says. 'I would have been a returning starter, but I had to step it up when the seniors and starters left (in 2001), and other players had to do the same.
'They're just as accountable, I believe.'
But last year, the Ducks definitely could have used the 6-4, 270-pound Dorsey on the pass rush. He's a terrific athlete who still holds the school mark for the fastest 40-yard dash time by a defensive lineman, 4.59 seconds; he also tops current defensive linemen with a 34-inch vertical leap. He had five sacks in 2001, including two in the Fiesta Bowl.
Currently, the Ducks have Dorsey and Chris Solomona pegged as defensive end starters, and Igor Olshansky and Haloti Ngata at tackle Ñ provided Olshansky recovers well after back surgery. Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti has options, however, with depth at tackle (Robby Valenzuela, Junior Siavii), which could mean Olshansky plays at end some, considering Devan Long did not practice in the spring and all of the ends other than Dorsey lack experience.
The 310-pound Olshansky played some end last year Ñ strongly as a contain defender, but not as a pass rusher. 'I don't think they want Igor to play end, but if something isn't going right, that's how they'll approach it,' Dorsey says.
'I think the defensive line will be the strength of the team,' he says. 'If we kill, the whole defense will kill. If we're sluggish, the defense will be sluggish. We're going to have some energy and excitement, and that's going to make the whole defense do it. É We're going to fly around and be exciting.'
And big No. 30 will be in the middle of it É this year.