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HomeSportsUT
Published: Tuesday, 8/31/2010

Dantin tabbed Rockets' starter

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

That goal was officially realized Monday, when coach Tim Beckman gave the starting nod to the 6-foot-2, 189-pound sophomore.

"It means a lot to me," Dantin said. "I've been working extremely hard all spring and summer for this job, and to be able to get it and be known as the starter now is extremely exciting for me."

While filling in for an injured Aaron Opelt last season, Dantin completed 79 of 119 pass attempts (66.4 percent) for 962 yards in seven games and had four touchdowns and four interceptions.

Because of his game experience, Dantin got the first look behind center during spring workouts and maintained his spot atop the depth chart throughout preseason practices.

"He came out and first of all grasped the leadership of the quarterback position, which I think is crucial nowadays," Beckman said. "If you don't have leadership at that position, you're going to struggle as a team. For a young man that's only been here for a year and a half on this campus, I thought that was outstanding for him to do that."

Dantin also has improved as a passer, but his teammates echoed Beckman's sentiments that developing into a leader is where Dantin's excelled the most.

"He's become the quarterback we all knew he could be," senior center Kevin Kowalski said. "But the biggest thing is the leadership that he's brought this year. He brings a consistent attitude every single day, and that's something our team can rely on. That's what you need from your starting quarterback."

The leadership Dantin is showing at UT doesn't come as a surprise to Bill Ragans, Dantin's coach at Tallahassee Leon High School.

Ragans said he knew Dantin was a special talent "when I first met him" and believes the Rockets couldn't find a better person to lead their program.

"When you ask him to do something, he gives you everything he's got - almost to a fault he's so dadgum competitive," Ragans said. "I expect great things from him [this season at Toledo]. He's going to be the guy that's always in the huddle encouraging his teammates and leading the football team. He did that the whole time for me here, and I look for him to do the same thing there."

While some coaches opt to wait to name a starting quarterback until the last possible moment before their season opener, Beckman decided to get it out of the way now so his offense can jell this week in preparation for Friday's game against Arizona.

Nevertheless, Dantin said he's viewed himself as the Rockets' starting quarterback since spring practices ended and didn't necessarily need a public decree to solidify his place on team.

"I mean, honestly, all summer I kind of haven't really looked at it as me ever being the backup, and I'm not sure how many guys actually did either," Dantin said. "I'm not sure how much of a big deal it is because I've been working with the [first team] this whole time, but I guess it's a good relief."

As for the other three quarterbacks who had been vying with Dantin for the starting spot, senior Alex Pettee will serve as Dantin's backup, sophomore David Pasquale will again work in the wildcat formation this season, and redshirt freshman Terrance Owens has been relegated to fourth string.

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com

or 419-724-6084.



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