Coming off the field: from player to mentor, senior adjusts to new role

Coming off the field: from player to mentor, senior adjusts to new role

by Brock Borgeson, Sports Editor

Tom Brady wouldn’t have been Tom Brady if it wasn’t for an injury to Drew Bledsoe. Iowa’s own Kurt Warner wouldn’t be Kurt Warner if it wasn’t for an injury to Trent Green.

Senior football player Braedon Tovey is doing all he can to take this perspective as a debilitating injury pushed him to a position change and a mentorship role for a pair of underclassmen quarterbacks.

In the regular season finale against Luther on Nov. 15 last year, Tovey was only two plays into an in-game quarterback tryout for 2015 before being sacked and breaking his fibula.

Tovey was carted off the field and would be in a boot for months after the season, never fully recovering during the spring season.

At the time, the quarterback competition was wide open after Dylan Berkey had graduated and two sophomores Sammy Sasso and Caleb Frye were vying for the spot.

Frye had only attempted 12 passes while Sasso hadn’t made his varsity debut yet.

“That was tough in the spring because that quarterback was an open job for anyone that wanted it,” Tovey said.

Tovey, a Cedar Rapids Washington High School graduate, had eight games of varsity experience before the injury, including two starts. In his first start on Oct. 25 against Loras, the senior went 24-for-44 for 317 yards in the air, including two touchdowns and 58 yards on the ground. Tovey showed promise but threw four interceptions in a loss to the Duhawks.

Despite leading in the experience department, Tovey’s injury thwarted a chance at the starting role in 2015.

“Spring was tough for him,” head coach Jim Glogowski said. “He wasn’t really 100 percent. Summer was a little slow for him, and then he came out and competed during the fall and we came to the conclusion we were going to trim the race to two horses.”

Reality hit but Tovey was game for the change. An athletic training major and coaching minor, he is taking the role of coach and is doing so with grace.

“I took the spring to become more acquainted with the offense and helping the younger guys,” Tovey said.

Frye and Sasso both appeared in the season opener against UW-River Falls, which served as a tryout.

Frye went 9-for-15 with one interception and a rushing touchdown while Sasso had limited time, completing one of four passes, with his only completion being a 63 yard touchdown pass to Davey Jergens.

The quarterback situation is still two-headed and up for grabs, and Tovey has embraced his position as a mentor.

“I try to help them more with the mental side and how to handle themselves and get guys to play with you and follow you,” Tovey said. “That’s one of the big things about playing quarterback and being young guys I don’t think they can relate as easy to. I’m trying to help them out.”

“He’s a big help,” Sasso said. “He’s our biggest cheerleader,so it’s nice.”

Tovey, who has some experience in the slot as a receiver, may get an opportunity to make the transition this year, expressing that it’s one of the easier position transitions.

“He still has the ability to go out and play another position,” Glogowski said. “He can be a slot receiver. He’s a smart kid. He’s a great kid.”

Tovey actually hopes quarterback isn’t in his future this season.

“I’ll play a little receiver and cross my fingers I don’t have to play quarterback,” Tovey said. “Because that’ll mean they both went down.”