A New Football Dawn for Pat Orlando at UMass Dartmouth-Boston Globe

Dec. 20, 2010

For Orlando, a new football dawn at UMass Dartmouth

by Andrew Clark, Boston Globe

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-His football career at Saint Anselm College did not look promising. It was not a question of talent for former Manchester-Essex star Pat Orlando. The Hawks simply had a logjam at the quarterback position.

So Orlando transferred to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a Division 3 program in the New England Football Conference.

"Everyone on the team is like brothers and the coaches that we have here are fantastic,'' said the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Orlando, the Globe's Division 4 Player of the Year in 2008.

"It's been a lot of fun, and I'm playing on a team with a lot of great leaders.'' Named the starting QB in August, he played in nine games (missing one to injury) and helped lead the Corsairs to three victories after a winless season in 2009.

"There was not a lot of playing time available at Saint Anselm at all,'' said Orlando. "UMass Dartmouth is really the perfect place to play. I had experience with the New England Football Conference already, since my brother played at Endicott, so it was a great fit.''

In nine games, he threw for 818 yards and five touchdowns. He was also the team's second-leading rusher (290 yards).

Orlando was also a dual threat at Manchester-Essex, where he was the two-time Commonwealth Small MVP.

As a high school senior, Orlando threw for 25 touchdowns and 1,610 yards while leading the Hornets to a Super Bowl win over Tri-County. In his career, Orlando racked up over 4,000 yards in the air and broke his brother Vinny's school record by notching 54 touchdown passes.

"Patrick has been such a great addition to our team,'' said UMass Dartmouth coach Mark Robichaud of his starting quarterback. "He is an outstanding leader, and the kids on the team really respect him a lot. He is an excellent athlete, and he spends a lot of time working in the weight room.

"He listens very well and is a strong competitor, and the way he just handles himself on and off the field is very impressive. He can be a bit hard on himself sometimes because he just wants every throw to be perfect. Patrick has been a very coachable player for us.''

Ultimately, Orlando has found his time at UMass Dartmouth to be invaluable. Since joining the Corsairs this season, Orlando says he has made huge strides as a quarterback, stating that his game is much more refined than his high school days.

"I've become a much stronger quarterback overall since coming here,'' Orlando said. "I have been focusing on my fundamentals, which has really helped, rather than just trying to go out there and make a play happen every time that I touch the ball.''