1-on-1 with Pat Lahey ‘12
By Brett Drucker, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, September 10, 2012
This week, I sat down with Pat Lahey ’12, one of Dartmouth’s veteran offensive linemen, to talk about returning from a full-season injury, the team’s outlook for the season and the excitement of playing under the lights at Memorial Field.
You are coming off a medical redshirt year because of a hip injury you sustained last preseason. How tough was it for you to be on the sidelines last year, and how comfortable do you feel getting back into the rhythm of football?
PL: It was really tough, but the light at the end of the tunnel was that I was going to be able to play again. My teammates were a big help knowing that I could get back and help them. Personally, I feel way more flexible and comfortable now with my movements and am definitely ready to start the season.
Can you talk a little bit about the bond you develop with your fellow lineman because of the shared job description?
PL: It’s a unique fraternity of individuals. A ton of teamwork goes into it to be a successful o-line. But even beyond football, we hang out together a lot and have a lot of fun together which helps us always be on the same page. It helps too in terms of the little things. As an offensive line, you have to make quick movements in sync to stop a defensive lineman who is making an aggressive move at you, and you need to be able to trust your fellow lineman to know what they are going to do and defend effectively. Trusting that they’ll take their part is a big part of being successful.
You’ve started at a few different positions on the line during your career. How difficult is it to switch and learn multiple positions at the same time?
PL: Our coaches are really good in terms of switching us around and having us learn how to play different positions, which is a great way to hedge against injuries. Pretty much all of our guys have played all of the positions on the offensive line, even taking a few reps at center. Coach [Keith] Clark is a great coach and has been around the Ivy League for over 25 years and really knows how to get us ready.
The team opens the season next Friday against Butler University at home. Because of the new schedule, the entire student body will be on campus for the opener. What kind of an impact does that have on you guys as players?
PL: It’s huge, and it should be a fun environment to play. We need all the support we can get. Because it’s a 7 p.m. game, people will have plenty of time to get ready and get going.
What do you hope to achieve in the out-of-league games this year?
PL: All the games are important to us. This opener is a great litmus test for people at certain positions to perform and evaluate a little more, so we can have the roster more firmed up for league competition. The non-league games also allow people to get a little more experience before we face off against the other Ivy League schools.
The opener is also under the lights which will make it the second night game in Memorial Field history. What is it like to play a night game, and does your experience last year help you at all this time around?
PL: I’m excited for it because last year I was in the press box during the night game against [the University of Pennsylvania]. We practiced under the lights a few times, and I played under the lights a few times in high school, but it’s a pretty cool feeling. It always adds to the atmosphere, and the crowd comes out with extra force, especially with the college demographic where some people aren’t always awake for 12 p.m. kickoffs and don’t get there until halftime.
What are going to be some of the keys for the team this year to allow you to improve on last season’s record?
PL: It really comes down to two things. The first one is doing your job. There are a lot of moving parts on every play, and if one person doesn’t do their job, the play has an almost zero chance of success. We need to play with tremendous effort. We’re looking to establish an identity as a team that is just relentless on the field, so we need to play with constant effort and strength.
Compare yourself or one of your teammates to a professional football player and explain why.
PL: Garrett Waggoner ’13, co-captain and safety, is a lot like Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. Pound for pound, Waggoner is the strongest player on the team. Like Matthews, he plays with a tremendous amount of intensity and also has that similar mane coming out of the back of his helmet, which looks pretty good too.