Ken Dorsey can tell Reggie Lindsey what it’s like to be the co-MVP of a national title game. And what it’s like to play quarterback at Miami and beat No. 1 Florida State in the old Orange Bowl. And what it’s like to play quarterback opposite Peyton Manning in an NFL game.
And, while all are great stories, none will do Lindsey any good as he negotiates his way through his junior season as the Lakewood Ranch Mustangs quarterback.
But Dorsey, who serves as the Mustangs quarterback coach, can help Lindsey improve his footwork as he drops back to pass. And Dorsey can tell Lindsey how to see his receivers on both sides of the field. And Dorsey can tell Lindsey the importance of staying calm on the field. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low.
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“The thing I try to do is bring the drills and stuff for self-improvement and fundamentals,” Dorsey said. “The biggest key in high school is building a sound, fundamental base.”
The biggest key for Lindsey is to listen and learn. So far, he has.
Lindsey heads into Friday’s showdown with Punta Gorda Charlotte as Manatee County’s leading passer with 1,035 yards. He’s also thrown eight touchdowns for the 4-3 Mustangs, who could take over the district lead with a win against Charlotte.
Lindsey benefited from starting half the season as a sophomore. But he said his biggest leap in his development is due to Dorsey.
“It’s a blessing,” Lindsey said. “I consider myself very lucky. The other players tell me I’m working with a star.”
That star is still an NFL free agent, meaning Dorsey could leave the Mustangs should an NFL team call looking for a quarterback.
In the meantime, Dorsey, who lives in Lakewood Ranch with his wife and daughter, continues to workout and keeps his arm sharp by throwing to the Mustang receivers.
Lindsey is a fan of the Miami Hurricanes and is well aware of Dorsey’s place in the game.
Dorsey took over the starting job at Miami as a freshman. As a junior, he led the Hurricanes to an undefeated season and the national title. He won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top player. As a senior, Dorsey led the Hurricanes back to the national title game, where they lost to Ohio State in overtime.
A seventh round pick by San Francisco in 2003, Dorsey spent six year in the NFL, splitting his career between San Francisco and Cleveland.
You could say Dorsey has a working knowledge of the position. Yet Dorsey is smart enough to give Lindsey only what he needs to know to be successful at this level. It doesn’t hurt that Lindsey is allowed to change plays at the line of scrimmage, and the Mustangs occasional five-receiver set forces Lindsey to look off receivers until he finds one who is open. That can move along a quarterback’s development.
And there is not a defense devised by a high school coach that Dorsey hasn’t faced.
Lindsey is a more athletic quarterback than Dorsey. His ability to run is a big plus, because it means Lindsey doesn’t have to throw downfield on third-and-long.
“He is extremely talented,” Dorsey said. “He’s grown up a lot this year. You can see his maturity grow through the season.”
Dorsey feels Lindsey has the ability to play college ball. He knows Lindsey’s game will have to grow more during his remaining time at Lakewood Ranch, and the best way for that to happen is work on the little things.
“Your career, in my opinion, is like building a house,” Dorsey said. “You can’t build a house without a foundation, and that’s my job right now.”