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

Dec. 21, 2010

For Orlando, a New Football Dawn at UMass Dartmouth

by Andrew Clark, Boston Globe

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.''