Pair Is Finding a Place
Locals Gorman, Patch Earn Time With Big Green Jayvees
Dartmouth College receiver Dan Gorman, left, and teammate Joseph Cook rest on the bench during the Big Green's junior varsity football game with Williams on Sunday. Gorman is a former Hanover High School standout, and another local, Lebanon High product Cody Patch, is also on the roster. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Small knots of family and friends surrounded Dartmouth College football players Dan Gorman and Cody Patch on Sunday, minutes after the junior varsity team’s clash with visiting Williams. The Big Green lost what amounted to a controlled scrimmage, but the result wasn’t foremost on either player’s mind.
For Gorman, the contest was his second following a frustrating preseason marred by an injury. Patch played his second game as well, and at a new position. It wasn’t the start either local product had envisioned, but it was simply good to be competing once again.
“This really reminds me of why I’m out here, when I’m out there on every play, like in high school,’’ said Patch, a junior safety and former Lebanon Raiders standout. “It was a big jump from New Hampshire football, and I’m mostly just happy to be out here with a bunch of nice guys and making new friends.”
Patch already knew Gorman, a sophomore receiver and one-time Hanover High star. The two discovered only a few years ago that they are distantly related, and now spend plenty of time practicing, studying and working out on and around Memorial Field. Neither has cracked the varsity lineup, and doing so appears to be a year or two away, if it happens at all. But the experience still seems positive.
“It was definitely tough missing preseason,” said Gorman, who hurt ribs and his collarbone during the second day of training camp and missed a critical two weeks. “That’s when people earn jobs, but the trainers were cautious with me, because they were worried it could get a lot worse if I played.”
Gorman and Patch are members of what’s known as the scout team, or “look squad,” which is essentially the program’s third- and fourth-string players. Once the Big Green’s games begin, they act out the plays and tendencies of upcoming foes in order to help the starters prepare for Saturday. It’s an important and unheralded job, but it’s hard to make an impression.
“I came in with few expectations and lots of hopes,” said Gorman, who’s competing with several touted receivers from high-profile programs in football-mad states. “I’m progressing, which is good, and now it comes down to how much hard work and time I can put into it.
“I have to focus on what I can do. These guys come from a different football background than I do, but once we get on the field, everything from the past is in the past.”
Gorman’s long arms, sticky hands and competitiveness have always been his trademarks, and Dartmouth’s coaches are well aware of them. His lack of speed will always be a hurdle, but he’s filled out his skinny frame a bit and is one of the team’s most upbeat players. Patch, one of the Big Green’s weight-room standouts, toiled as a running back until a couple weeks ago, when he was switched to strong safety.
“It was a pleasant surprise when they asked me before the first JV game,’’ said Patch, who was behind at least four other running backs. “It’s been tough because the coaches are pretty busy with the starters during the season and my progress has been slow, but they coach me up during the JV games. It’s nice to be on the other side of the ball.”
Patch missed most of his freshman season because of a cracked rib, a broken hand and a hernia, so he could likely send a successful petition to the Ivy League asking for a fifth year of eligibility. For both he and Gorman, 2014 spring practice will be critical, for that’s their next realistic chance to make a run up the depth chart.
“They’re consummate team players and they both set a good example academically and athletically for us,” said coach Buddy Teevens. “I think Cody’s done a nice job with the position switch, and Dan’s a tall, rangy kid who makes big catches. I think they’ll both figure in the mix for us down the road.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.