Stepping up as a leader the tallest task for Wiregrass Ranch QB

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Wed. July 21, 2010 | Izzy Gould | Email

Choosing football or basketball for a college sport is not an agonizing decision for Wiregrass Ranch senior James Tringali.

Picking a major, whether it be business, architecture or engineering, is the real puzzle.

Until last year, he thought definitely engineering. Now Tringali wants to become an entrepreneur.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback has a chiseled jaw, ocean blue eyes and the brain of an Ivy Leaguer. That’s why schools such as Princeton, Harvard and Cornell are evaluating him to perhaps one day run their offenses.

Mental challenges have always come relatively easy to Tringali. He knew he was good at math early in grade school. When his classmates were scribbling addition and subtraction problems, he worked on multiplication and division.

He was always two steps ahead.

Tringali’s future, whether it be between hash marks or handling a laser level, will become much more defined this fall.

“He’s going to have to lead the majority of the offense,” Bulls coach Jeremy Shobe said. “He has some schools looking at him, so he’ll have to have a good year with good highlights.”

No small task considering former running back Josh Johnson, who graduated last spring, carried the bulk of the load in 2009. Shobe expects Tringali to grab the leadership cap and help his teammates overcome the 20-plus players lost to graduation.

This should be a great lesson for a kid who aspires to own a business.

Personally, he’ll have to inspire an offensive line that lost four starters. Tringali’s voice, actions and skills could determine how hard those kids block for their quarterback.

“We won’t have the luxury of two platoon this year,” Tringali said. “We’ll have guys playing both ways. …As far as the line goes, they’re young kids. They’re still learning.”

Tringali reflects on a career where he believes he has made great strides. A self-described pocket passer, his goals are to throw for at least 15 touchdowns, no more than six interceptions and to lead the Bulls to the program’s first playoff berth in his senior season. Class 4A, District 6 is pretty wide open, with all the teams trying to replace key talent and several teams getting to know new coaches.     

“Just looking back I’ve improved vastly every single year,” Tringali said. “That’s been one of my goals. Eighth grade was the first year I played tackle. …Every year, the game slows down more.”

One night that inspired him to work harder was a 42-0 loss to Land O’Lakes during the spring game. In two quarters, Tringali was sacked five times and threw an interception against arguably one of the North Suncoast’s top teams.

It also opened Shobe’s eyes to limits placed on his starting quarterback.

“I don’t know if we gave him enough tools in his tool belt to be successful,” Shobe said of last season. “That’s something we’ve worked on as coaches. I just want him to take control of the offense and to lead the team. …He’s not far from getting there.”

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (813) 421-3886.

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