Middlebury College junior quarterback Jared Lebowitz has enjoyed an impressive start under center this season, tossing five touchdowns in back-to-back games.
In addition to a pair of five touchdown performances, Lebowitz has been tabbed the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Week twice.
On Wednesday, he earned the prestigious Golden Helmet Award following his five-touchdown performance in a 35-14 victory last weekend against Colby College.
Earlier this week, Noontime Sports caught up with the Panthers’ signal-caller to chat some football, Harry Potter and his favorite movies of all-time.
For the second-straight week you tossed five touchdowns passes. Have you ever tossed five TDs in back-to-back games before?
I try not to focus on statistics, but rather what I can do to help the team win. If that means I have to throw five touchdowns, so be it. If it means handing it off 50 times and we win, then I’m fine with that as well.
How have you been able to be so successful under center this season?
All the credit goes to the guys around me, as well as the coaches, too. I am only as good as the routes the receivers run, and we’re all only as good as the offensive line affords us to be. And as you can see, our o-line has been playing very well thus far.
It sounds cliché, but how has Coach Ritter or Coach Caputi helped you progress from last season to this season?
Coach Ritter is obviously our head coach, but he is also our offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He has been extremely patient with me while I’ve learned the offense. I think he has realized I only play well when I know the offense as well as possible, so he has made an emphasis to work with me whether that means extra film, drilling me (on plays), or just talking and making sure that we (coaches and the offense) are on the same page.
Thinking back to preseason practices, what was the biggest goal the team hoped to accomplish this season?
Our goal is to go 1-0 every week. This preseason had a much different tone than last year, however. Last year, we had all the hype and perhaps that made us a bit overconfident and complacent. This year’s team is gritty and has an air of desperation in the sense that we will do whatever it takes to go 1-0.
Have you always played quarterback? If so, when did you start and did you idol your game after a particular professional or college quarterback growing-up?
I have played quarterback since I was in fourth grade (except sixth grade when I played tight end). It’s been nice growing up a New England Patriots fan and although my play style may not be like Tommy Touchdown (Tom Brady), his poise, confidence, leadership, preparation, and grittiness are something any quarterback can aspire to posses.
What do you enjoy most about being quarterback?
I enjoy the challenge of responsibility. Obviously quarterback is a highly visible position and we get far too much credit when the team plays well, but that’s not why I play the game. I play for the guys lining up with me … the guys that are putting their bodies on the line so our team can go 1-0 (every week). I’m just 1/11th of the offense and each piece needs to work for the machine to operate. It’s an indescribable feeling, being successful because all 11 guys on the field did their job. Succeeding as a team, in any context, is one of the greatest things there is.
What is your major and why did you choose it?
I carried over my old major from UNLV, which is political science. I find it very relevant and interesting. Perhaps some local politics are in my future; I can think of few professions more noble than serving Vermonters and our communities.
What is your favorite non-football activity?
To me, family (dogs included) is the most important thing in the world. I love hanging out with them, doing whatever, including board games, hikes, movies. I think I annoy my sister and mom sometimes when I’m bugging them to play board games, but chess and catan are my games.
What was the last book you read for pleasure?
I read a couple books this summer. One was the new Harry Potter, which I have a few qualms with that I feel I have to get off my chest.
First, I am not a huge fan of the play format. It took all of the emotional richness out of this made up world. Instead of describing feelings of the characters, it would say something like, ‘Harry is upset by this.’ Don’t tell me he’s excited; describe it! Also, the plot (spoiler alert) heavily involves the use of Time Turners, which allow the characters to travel through time. So the plot literally consists of Harry’s son and Malfoy’s son (who are best friends) traveling back in time to change and destroy the world of Magic that J.K. Rowling spent 7 books cultivating and creating via Butterfly Effects. It was like the authors were trying to destroy my childhood before my very eyes, which made me irrationally upset. Don’t change the best selling and most creative world that we all know and love ever put in print! I also read The Things They Carried, which really resonated with me, as I have studied the Vietnam War in numerous political science classes but to see it from the raw, terrible, view of the soldier made it more real and far worse. I also read All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot, which is a must-read. I aspire to see the world as romantically as he does.
What is your favorite movie of all-time?
My top three are Remember the Titans, Warrior, and Inglorious Bastards. I’ve probably seen each one two dozen times and can recite (much to the annoyance of my viewing companions) nearly 100% of the dialogue of each. It’s a Sophie’s choice as to which is my actual favorite.
Lastly, what is a game day like at Middlebury?
It’s the most unique atmosphere I’ve ever encountered. First off, our field is extremely gorgeous. It’s a very casual environment – no tickets necessary, kids and dogs in the stands and on the field after the game, golfers teeing off a few dozen yards away from the south end zone. It’s how football is meant to be played …Middlebury is how football is supposed to be.