Nothing junior about Grossers confidence under center

Nothing junior about Grossers confidence under center

There’s the pressure of knowing the plays, running the offense, reading the opposing defense and then theres the off-field weight of being the face of a high school football program.

T.C. Williams junior Alec Grosser, just beginning his first full year as the Titans starting quarterback, has learned about both kinds since taking on the role mid-season last fall. Stepping into the shoes of then senior quarterback Doug Murphy, Grosser recalls not yet understanding the responsibilities that come with the position.

Obviously on the field you have to know the plays and come out in gear, he said. Off the field you have to be a good role model You want to be the ideal football player on and off the field You want to show your high school how the football players are.

Its not something he fully appreciated while filling in for Murphy as the injured quarterback recovered from a concussion. Then focused back then on proving to the team he could handle the job. Even after it became apparent Murphy wouldnt return as the teams quarterback, Grosser had to quell backroom talk in the locker room.

Its bittersweet. From [Murphys] standpoint, it probably wasnt the most happy moment, Grosser said. There was always pressure [on me]. When you take a starting guys job, you have to play up to potential.

Grossers mother, Donna Gartrell, faced different concerns. With one quarterback down, her son was suddenly the one with a target painted on his back by opposing defenses. It wasnt easy to quell her fear for his safety, but shes taking it game by game these days.

It was a little bit overwhelming, Gartrell recalled. I didnt want him to get hurt. I guess thats kind of natural.

Grosser was a natural athlete, following in the footsteps of his father and older brother. Gartrell knew he had a good arm when hes not on the gridiron, Grossers on the pitching mound but didnt expect to see him start under center until later in his high school career.

Grosser, on the other hand, had inklings head coach Dennis Randolph was grooming him for the starting job early on. In the months leading up to the 2010 season, Grosser temporarily filled in as quarterback while Murphy was sidelined with an arm injury. Randolph made it clear the job was still open just weeks before the teams opening game.

For me, it wasnt out of nowhere, Grosser said. Id been working. It was his job to lose and my job to gain.

And while he loves the position running the plays, rallying his teammates and leading the squad its equal parts frustration. Like his mother, Grosser is well aware one misstep, one misread could leave him on the bench with his arm in a sling.

More importantly, his teammates and coaches know it as well. The 2010 Titans were mired with injuries, losing playmakers like Jay Whitmire, Deontre Sanders and, of course, Murphy, for games at a time.

They want to keep him healthy, Grosser said.

Its frustrating. Football is a contact sport. We play because its fun to hit, he said. Us not having a backup, you end up sacrificing [playing in] the heat of the moment for an entire season.

So far, so good. Grosser led the Titans to a 51-7 victory against Wakefield early in September. They face Westfield next before welcoming Robinson to Alexandria in the Titans home opener.

Gartrell expects big things of him on the field and off of it as the Titans try to break a 20-year playoff dearth.

I believe in the coaches, I believe in the players protecting him and I believe hes got the smarts, she said. I know that if Alec wants to go for it, hell go for it and win. I know hes going to leave [everything] on the field.