Diesel quarterback position remains unsettled

03/15/02 Kearney Cyberhub
KEARNEY — Tri-City Diesel quarterback Tavares Thompson has a simple reason for playing in the National Indoor Football League — he wants a chance to show what he can do.

"I don't want to be one of those guys that say they could of, would of, should of," Thompson said. "I want to get out there and give it shot. … If it doesn't work out at least I had a chance."

But first Thompson, a 2001 Upper Iowa University graduate, has to beat out fellow Diesel quarterbacks Jay Cross and Aaron Larson for the starting role.

Cross, who played for the Rochester Brigade of the AF2 last season, is a frontrunner for the starting job along with Thompson.

Cross is a 6-foot-3 drop-back passer, while Thompson is three inches shorter and more mobile in the pocket.

"There is not that much difference between the leagues," Cross said. "In AF2 the defenses have to go man-to-man the whole time. In this league defenses can go 'cover two,' so there is a little bit more reading for the quarterback to do."

But Cross said all the reading in the world won't do any good if the Diesel players aren't on the same page when Saturday's game versus La Crosse kicks off.

"The timing has to be there," he said. "But we seem ready to go."

Cross, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., said the transition to life in Kearney has taken some getting used to.

"About the only thing that hasn't changed is the weather," the 26-year-old said laughing. "It's about the same as it was when I left Buffalo. We get some serious blizzards up there, but we don't have the wind like you guys do here."

But that doesn't mean Cross, who worked for a pharmaceutical company before coming to Kearney, isn't enjoying the new scenery.

"The town has been terrific to us and it goes both ways," he said. "If we conduct ourselves as professionals, they are going to treat us with respect. We also have to get it done on the field so they have a team they can be proud of."

Meanwhile, Thompson, a native of Ft. Meade, Fla., can relate to Cross' concerns about the climate. But he said his fellow Diesel teammates have made the transition to life in Kearney a warm one.

"The guys are about the best thing that has happened around here," he said. "We are all sticking together. I just look at it as a new situation to learn from."


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