Tommy Football: Uncertainty remains at quarterback

Talented and experienced on the offensive line, at receiver and at running back, the St. Thomas will rely on an inexperienced quarterback this season to allow the unit to be all it can be.

Based on Saturday’s spring game at O’Shaughnessy Stadium, there is work to be done at that vital position.

Sophomore Amari Powell is slated to replace last year’s starter, Cade Sexauer, who was lost to graduation. While he made some good throws in the controlled game, Powell’s lack of accuracy was spectacular.

“If I hadn’t seen a high level of accuracy the first four weeks of spring ball, it would have been a major concern,” head coach Glenn Caruso said. “I didn’t think Amari had his best day. Most of his inaccuracies come from the waist down and his footwork – or lack thereof. We have to work on it.”

Powell disagreed with his coach’s assessment.

“We’re not really clicking today, as far as receivers and running backs,” he said. “I definitely need to do a better job with that. It’s been a good spring, but today didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I’m disappointed in myself. The team did a great job.”

Caruso and Powell would like to write it off as just a bad day.

“In the first two games I think he really shined,” Caruso said. “It wasn’t even the throws he made, it was the interceptions he didn’t throw or the sacks he didn’t take.”

Generously listed at 6-foot-1 on the team’s roster, Powell also had some balls hit at the line of scrimmage Saturday, which could be another area of ​​concern. Before Saturday, Caruso said Powell’s game has improved in that area — and overall — as spring ball has progressed.

“I think the pocket vision was a big one,” he said. “He’s primarily a pocket passer who can run, and you have to find ways to create visual windows for him. Also, as a freshman (redshirt), your job isn’t about stats, it’s about earning the starting job. To do that, you have to be able to run the offense effectively.”

Caruso said that, as of now, Powell is the starter. Current backup, sophomore Travis Plugge, also had a rough day.

“I thought Travis had a really below average day today,” Caruso said. “Very below average. And he just came off his best week yet. This is disappointing. But he will compete in the fall. But also, the two backs we have, Michael Rostberg and Tak Tateoka, will compete for reps as well.”

Nate Elmes, a transfer from Minnesota-Duluth, was also given an opportunity to compete for the quarterback job this spring, but was moved to tight end.

Caruso said it’s unlikely any of the incoming freshmen will be able to earn the starting job by the time the season opens. But a scenario could play out, he said, in which one of them emerges as a backup by Week 1 and takes over the starting spot sometime during the season.


The Tommies’ defense won the day after Caruso said it was a tough week. The defense was a force last season, and most of its starters return.

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