While the T.C. Williams football team was hoping lineman Jay Whitmire and safety Israel Richardson would return from injury in time for the team’s Patriot District opener against Lake Braddock on Sept. 24, neither will be ready for this week’s matchup with the Bruins. In addition, the Titans will be without starting quarterback Doug Murphy, who suffered a concussion last week against Oakton.
TC has battled adversity early in 2010, with several key players missing time due to injury or for personal reasons. The Titans dropped to 1-2 with a 29-14 loss to the Cougars on Sept. 16, and now face 2009 state runner-up Lake Braddock on the road with sophomore quarterback Alec Grosser making his first varsity start.
TC faces an uphill battle against the undefeated Bruins, who have outscored their three opponents 113-24, and the Titans have several areas of concern. But despite Grosser lacking experience, the young quarterback’s presence in the game isn’t necessarily one of them.
Grosser saw time in each of TC’s first three games, during which he displayed a rocket right arm and poise in the pocket. Odds are Grosser will make some rookie mistakes, but his ability to throw the ball deep down the field could open up the TC offense the way Joe Hargrove did last season.
"He’s a good athlete," said TC head coach Dennis Randolph, who has spoken highly of Grosser’s arm strength since before the season.
Grosser was the team’s primary quarterback during summer camps and 7-on-7s while Murphy recovered from a biceps injury. The 6-foot-2, 162-pounder smiled during Tuesday’s practice while talking about getting the opportunity to start.
"I kind of understand," Grosser said of coming off the bench for the first three games. "[Murphy is] a senior, I’m two years younger. I’ll have my time. I understood whenever it came, it came. It’s here now, so I’ve just got to do the best I can."
Randolph said Grosser starting will not alter the team’s offensive game plan. The sophomore signal caller has big plays on his mind.
"You always want to go deep, especially if you have the ability to throw deep," he said. "If it’s not there, you’ve got to go through your progression, but always thinking about throwing deep."
Grosser has completed 10 of 19 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown off the bench. He has not thrown an interception.
"He’s got to have confidence," said Tyrell Sitton, TC’s leading receiver, "and just throw the ball."
Whitmire, who suffered an ankle injury during an Aug. 26 scrimmage against Centreville, is expected back for the Titans’ Oct. 2 home game against West Springfield. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior is receiving Division I looks at offensive tackle, and also plays defensive end. Richardson, who suffered a preseason knee injury, will likely be out longer, Randolph said. Murphy was still experiencing concussion symptoms and it is unknown when he will return.