Reporting Reg Chapman
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The St. Thomas football team is 8-0 and there are six Tommies that have helped make short work of their opponents this season.
A half-dozen players that are proving size isn’t impacting their on-field performance:
• Kyle Whitley, 5’8″, wide receiver
• Colin Tobin, 5’10″, running back
• Dan Neuring, 6′, wide receiver
• Dakota Tracy, 5’10″, quarterback
• Tim Albright, 5’8″, kicker
• Fritz Waldvogel, 5’9″, wide receiver
“You think maybe if I was a couple of inches taller it might have been different but at this point I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at,” Tobin said.
“God didn’t give us much size. He could have been a lot worse to us and made us a lot smaller but he did give us a lot of good attributes,” Tracy said.
“Coach Caruso said when that he recruited all of us he said ‘I don’t care how big you are, how tall you are, as long as you can make plays I’ll put you in the field,” Waldvogel said.
Now you know their names and their sizes but what’s so special about these six players is that they’re the Tommies top six offensive weapons for a team that’s ranked third in the country.
“You can play taller than you are and I think that has a lot to do with effort and how big of a heart that you’re playing out on the field and that shows in your play and your effort. So absolutely you can play taller than you are,” said Tobin.
“It’s nice to have a big line in front of me and they protect me, they do a good job at that and I thank them for that. You just try to focus on yourself and when I’m 5’10″ but I’m surrounded by guys bigger than me, especially my line, it makes those guys seems smaller across the line,” said Tracy.
Tommies head coach Glenn Caruso doesn’t exactly tower over his players at 5′ 9′. He said height doesn’t factor into his decision to recruit an athlete.
“We’ve had a lot of success with guys that play big. Whether or not they measure very tall or very heavy, we don’t really care. But their focus and attention is second to none and I think that’s what you see on the field when you watch them on Saturday,” Caruso said.
Some players believe their smaller stature is a big advantage.
“You have a lot quicker step for step. You can use that as a great advantage, you can use different leverage situations … I’ve been using it since I was 5 years old,” Waldvogel said.
“I find it as an advantage to be able to hide behind some of the bigger lineman and be able to find some smaller holes that otherwise a bigger running back may not be able to find,” said Tobin.
There’s also some good natured ribbing that goes on with the fellow teammates.
“We get jokes every now and then, a lot of people telling us growing up we were too small to play the position,” said Tracy.
“We make fun of bigger guys and they give us some rousing as well, so it’s fun,” said Tobin.
And don’t forget about freshman running back Aaron Terrell-Byrd who is 5’5″ and the shortest player on the team. He’s already made a name for himself scoring a touchdown against the Concordia-Moorhead Cobbers last month.