EDMONTON -- Dominique Dorsey doesn't own a cell phone, and chances are good you won't catch him on the field, either.
The 5-foot-7, 171-pound package of quickness, smarts and a general lack of fear has been making a habit of getting league-wide recognition for his special-teams play, making life hell for the opposition as he zips down the field with each return he makes.
"We have talked about him for three days in detail because he is the guy who can swing the game," Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia said before his club played host to the Argos last night at Commonwealth Stadium.
"He can knife it up the field or beat you with a wide-field return. Contrary to some other guys, he can do both. He is extremely courageous and he hits the hole hard."
That's a piece of what sets Dorsey apart, as well as the fact that it can be hard to believe a guy his size carries the football through crowds of men who often are 100 pounds heavier. Also a running back for the Argos when he is not dazzling on special teams, Dorsey, born in Victorville, Calif., comes by his determination honestly. His mother, Pamela, was a correctional officer at a state prison for nearly 20 years and his father, Donald, served in the U.S. Air Force.
"A lot of it has to do with heart," Dorsey said of his success. "I always push myself to be more explosive than I am. To hear those types of comments from (Maciocia), it's pretty cool that he sees what I bring to the table."
As electrifying as he is on the field, Dorsey could not be more relaxed in street clothes. Not only does he eschew a cell phone, the 25-year-old prefers a personal CD player over an iPod.
Dorsey speaks slowly and often at barely more than whisper. He wants to become a coach in college football when he is done playing, but it's safe to say that if he does, he won't be bowling over his players with fire-and-brimstone speeches.
"In Pop Warner football, they used to call me Grandma because I walked so slow," Dorsey said. "I am not a technology guy. No text-messaging, stuff like that. That's just me -- down to earth. I tell everybody I am just saving my energy for games. Seems to work."
Dorsey set rushing records at Tulare Union High School in his home state and had a stellar career at UNLV. His running backs coach in college, John Jackson, pushed him to practise punt returns, even though he did not do it in games.
"He is a guy I have to thank," Dorsey said. "I would say: 'When am I going to have to do this?' He would tell me it was to help prepare for the professional game."
Dorsey became an Argo last July after two seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and, in his first Argos game, tied a CFL record when he returned a missed field goal 129 yards for a touchdown against Montreal. In 15 games with Toronto, Dorsey has been CFL special teams player of the week five times.
Though Dorsey is quick to give his blockers credit, those who make room for him on the field say it's Dorsey who is special.
"He will keep pressing the hole until the defender has to come in, and then he will cut back," centre Chad Folk said. "A lot of other guys will do a little dance when they catch the ball, but he just smashes up the middle. It looks like nothing a lot of the time, and he will get swarmed. And then he breaks out of it all and he is gone."
Mike Vanderjagt, in 38 games as an Argo, had hit on all 139 of his point-after attempts prior to last night. Vanderjagt, who previously played for Toronto in 1997 before re-joining the team this season, needed 10 converts to pass Noel Prefontaine for the third-longest streak in club history.
LACK OF AIR
Passing for touchdowns against the Argos had become a rarity going into last night. The Argos had gone 16 quarters, dating to the fourth quarter of a game against the Montreal Alouettes on Oct. 12, 2007, without allowing a passing touchdown. Last season, the Argos allowed an average of fewer than one passing touchdown a game, giving up just 15 in 18 games.
"People come to watch points being scored. They have always had a problem with that in Toronto." -- Prefontaine, who was traded to the Esks in May, on the weak offence that has been a bane of the Boatmen's existence for several years.
Sunday, July 20 -- Edmonton Eskimos vs. Toronto Argonauts, at the Rogers Centre, 4 p.m. (TSN, Fan 590)