Utah Archers goalie Brett Dobson

How Brett Dobson has stabilized Archers’ young defense

By Zach Carey | Jun 7, 2024

Holding the league’s second-most efficient offense to 11 goals is an impressive feat. Doing it without four starters from a year ago is on another level. 

The Utah Archers’ defense is right where it needs to be for the club to repeat as PLL champions this summer. Even without Latrell Harris, Graeme Hossack, Matt McMahon and Jared Conners, defensive coordinator Tony Resch has his young group prepared for what lies ahead. 

A major component of that is third-year goalie Brett Dobson. After he took the league by storm in his first full season as a starter in 2023, the Cash App Championship MVP stood on his head in Week 1 with 22 saves in a 12-11 win over the Philadelphia Waterdogs. He also helped to lead a defense that included six first- or second-year players. 

“Even when he was a rookie and we played him in Denver, you got a real sense of his command of a defense and energy,” Utah head coach Chris Bates said. “I think that is always an elixir. It gets guys talking and moving. There is a cadence to what’s happening down there.”

This offseason, the Archers signed Dobson to a contract extension through 2027. 

“Now he’s a vet,” Bates added. “It’s Year 3, obviously he did what he did last year. But I think his level of confidence and command is that much more heightened. We hung him out to dry a couple times [in the season opener]. We hung him out to dry at the end of the game, and he delivered. So we’re excited he’s wearing orange and blue. He’s hopefully just going to continue to take next steps.” 

Dobson’s three saves in the last 20 seconds of the win over the Waterdogs stood out. But the way he allows the Archers defense to play within itself and dictate the shots it gives up is even more valuable. 

“This guy is the best in the world at what he does,” Grant Ament said. “Our defense forces shots that he wants to see. Every offense is so good in this league that they’re going to get shots off. It’s about seeing the right ones, and I think our defense did a great job of letting him see the ones he wanted to see, and Dobber did his job as he always does.” 

So much of what makes Utah’s defense work is built on trust. The Archers trust their short sticks to switch big-little picks and survive individual matchups against the best attackmen in the world. They trust their poles to pre-rotate to those switches. They trust Resch’s bespoke scheming to play to their personnel’s strengths. 

They trust Dobson to soak up the shots they force their opponents to take. And, when there are breakdowns, they trust him to steal a couple like he did at the end of Saturday’s win. 

Heading into Charlotte and the Archers’ matchup with the Denver Outlaws this Friday night, Utah is bringing another rookie pole into the fold with third-round draft pick Colby Barsz making his debut. Dobson will once again be responsible for being the backbone of a young unit. But, if he continues to play like he did on Opening Weekend, then the Archers shouldn’t have many problems piecing together another high-caliber defense.