Tronti’s accuracy and strong decision making had many thinking back to Jason Driskel.
“There are similarities there,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “Good command. Stronger kid. If things were live I think he’d be a really good runner.”
A transfer from Indiana last year, Tronti received extended time as a starter this spring in part because Kiffin suspended incumbent Chris Robison for all of spring.
Robsion earned the Owls’ starting quarterback role in 2018, one year after Driskel replaced Daniel Parr after the season’s third game and led the Owls to their first C-USA championship and a Boca Raton Bowl win.
At his best this spring Tronti, like Driskel, positioned the Owls to make plays.
“He’s smart,” tight end John Raine said of Tronti. “That was Jeff’s strongest part of his game – he was so smart.”
Tronti battled JUCO transfer Justin Agner throughout the spring and played to a near stalemate. Tronti and Agner don’t have the physical skills of Robison, but Driskel’s athletic skills didn’t match Parr’s either.
Agner and Tronti positioned themselves for what will be, if Robison’s suspension is lifted, a three-way battle come the fall.
Overall Spring Grade: C. Poor wide receiver play, inconsistent offensive line play and the lack of a running game rendered accurate assessment of the Owls’ quarterback play difficult. Tronti and Agner both had their share of big plays, but both also made mistakes, and neither left spring as true starting option. They’ll have the entire summer and all of fall camp to reach that goal. Third string quarterback Cordel Littlejohn continues to struggle with his mechanics, leading to wildly inaccurate passes. A good argument can be made to list walk on Trent Wessel ahead of Littlejohn on the depth chart.
Spring Standout: Tronti. By a hair. The redshirt sophomore was the clear leader early in spring, but a strong close to spring by Agner turned the battle into a near dead heat. “Overall I think it was good,” Tronti said of his spring performance. “I learned a lot. Overall I think it was a pretty good spring.”
Spring Disappointment: Robison. Kiffin never provided the reasoning behind Robison’s suspension other than saying he violated team rules. Inconsistent throughout his first season as a starter, Robison would have benefited greatly from a spring spent mastering the offense. Questions about Robison’s maturity have surrounded him ever since his arrest for public intoxication led to his dismissal from Oklahoma. Getting suspended for spring did little to quiet those questions.
Spring Surprise: FAU quarterbacks struggled to hang onto the football. Both Tronti and Agner dropped snaps during scrimmages. Both missed handoffs. And in the final spring scrimmage both had the ball slip out of their hand while beginning the throwing process, resulting in turnovers. “It just slipped out,” Tronti said. “I don’t know what it was exactly. It’s unacceptable. It can’t happen. At the same time it was just unlucky I guess.”