Dumm plays smart at California University
As the 2004 small college football season unfolds, the media and statisticians will keep a close watch on Waynesburg College senior quarterback Jeff Dumm.
Last fall, the 1999 Charleroi Area High School graduate helped the Yellow Jackets enjoy their finest football season since their 1966 NAIA national championship undefeated season. The talented son of longtime scholastic football coach Jim Dumm, Jeff Dumm passed for nearly 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns as Waynesburg went 9-2 overall and won the President’s Athletic Conference and competed in the NCAA Division III national playoffs.
While Jeff Dumm’s effective quarterback play will stir the football fans of Waynesburg and Greene County, his brother will play a significant role in the football fortunes at California University of Pennsylvania.
Jared Dumm, a strapping and quiet 6-3, 185-pound junior, will be directing California University of Pennsylvania’s Vulcans defense and has switched from strong-safety to free-safety.
“I like the free (safety) a lot better because I am pretty much like the quarterback of the defense and I get to play more pass (coverage),” Jared Dumm said at the team’s annual media day event at Adamson Stadium. “Strong safety is more geared toward playing the run and I really enjoy it. I am adapting well.”
Jared Dumm, who was a standout quarterback at Charleroi Area High School, as was his older brother, has been adapting well into a variety of roles since arriving on the Vulcans football scene in August 2002.
Recruited as a wide receiver by former California Area head football coach Mike Kolakowski (1997-2001), Jared Dumm was initially used at defensive back by current Vulcans head coach John Luckhardt and his staff but was moved to quarterback one week into camp due to injuries. His impressive play elevated him to the No. 2 spot on the quarterback depth chart behind three-year starter Brendon LeDonne. Jared Dumm appeared in nine games as a freshman, passed for 116 yards and started the Vulcans’ PSAC-West opener at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. The versatile athlete even punted twice for a 35.0 average.
Last season, Jared Dumm started training camp as a quarterback but injuries to defensive backs resulted in the coaching staff moving him to strong-safety. Jared Dumm again made the adjustment and finished third among all Vulcans defensive players in total tackles with 59 (30 solo). Eight of his tackles cost a combined loss of 14 yards and he also produced an interception, two pass break-ups, one fumble recovery and a caused fumble.
“A year ago we made the decision to move him to safety and he has taken to it like a duck to water,” said Luckhardt. “What he has done here is simply work extremely hard and because of that he is bigger, faster and stronger. You can’t beat that and Jared is an outstanding player as well.”
Dumm is a dean’s-list student who is majoring in sport management.
“He’s a very talented athlete and very cerebral player,” Luckhardt said. “Jared replaces a great free-safety we’ve had the past two years (two-time All-PSAC Jon Arnold). The free-safety does all the check calls for us. Football is so complex now and you have no-huddle offense checks and shifts all over the place. The defense has to be multiple like the offenses, which means somebody has to control what formation they come out in and what check to do. Jared learned this last year and has now taken that over. He does a great job with that.”
Under defensive coordinator Mike Conway, the Vulcans defense has ranked first and second in the 14-team Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in total defense over the past two seasons respectively.The Vulcans offense ranked last in the PSAC a year ago in total offense (228.4 ypg), scoring (13.9 ppg), first downs (136) and total offensive plays (661).
Newly hired offensive coordinator Mike Kellar has opened up the Vulcans offense and Jared Dumm believes that will aid California University’s already-stingy defense.
“Stats don’t really mean that much to me and it is all for the team,” Jared Dumm said. “We (defense) were just on the field too long last year but you could tell at the spring game last April that our offense is going to be much better. Our defense is pretty good now but an improved offense will keep us more refreshed and we should be even better.”
From 1965 through 1985, California University and Waynesburg’s football teams met 16 times but the two district teams have not faced each other in football over the past 18 years and will not play each other this fall.
So Jim Dumm will not face the situation of having to watch one of his sons compete against the other. Jeff Dumm transferred to Waynesburg from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, after the 2001 season. The Vulcans won two of three games against the Golden Tornadoes from 2000 through 2002.
“I would love for that to happen,” said Jared Dumm, who held for the placekicking during California’s 45-0 season-opening win at Geneva in 2002. “He (Jeff) is kind of talking stuff on me and he will do what he has to do and I will do what I have to do. I wish him all the best and we both support and are there for each other.”
Jared Dumm’s willingness to sacrifice personal statistics or recognition not only shows his versatility as an athlete but is also a commendable personable trait. Due to a number of quarterback injuries in 2003, Jared Dumm also appeared briefly at quarterback in a 14-7 Vulcans homecoming loss against Indiana University of Pennsylvania while still playing strong safety.
“Everything’s for the team and I would play on the line if I had too,” said Jared Dumm. “Wherever they need me I’ll play.”