Willie Fritz isn’t sure who would start at quarterback if Tulane’s season started today.
Fortunately for the first-year Green Wave coach, there’s still plenty of time to decide.
All indications, though, are that it would be Glen Cuiellette, the redshirt sophomore from Mandeville.
If not him, then true freshman Darius Bradwell, who just stepped foot on campus from Tallahassee, Florida, in January.
Devin Powell, a fifth-year senior from New Orleans, has been sort of an afterthought.
But the former O.P. Walker quarterback showed in Saturday’s spring game at Yulman Stadium that he may fit in the mix ... especially if the Green Wave finds itself playing catch-up this season, which could be a likely scenario.
Of the three quarterbacks, Powell was the bright spot in the passing game, completing 5 of 7 passes for 59 yards. He should have been 6-of-7, but Devin Glenn wasn’t able to reel in a perfectly thrown deep ball late in the scrimmage. Cuiellette and Bradwell, meanwhile, combined to go 2-for-10 for just 10 yards.
“I thought he threw a couple good deep balls,” Fritz said of Powell. “Like I tell the guys, there isn’t a homing device in the football to take it right to the receiver. You have to go get those deep balls. Obviously he has more experience than the other two in the passing game.”
Powell, the only one of the three quarterbacks who finished with positive rushing yards (three carries for 5 yards), gave himself an A-minus after Saturday’s game.
He said he has caught on to Fritz’s offense, calling it easier than the system he played under when Curtis Johnson was the coach.
But he knows there is still plenty for him to work on before the Sept. 1 opener at Wake Forest. The main thing is himself.
“I want to knock some of this weight off me,” he said.
He said he currently weighs 245 pounds. He’d like to get down to the 220- to 225-pound range before the start of the season.
All three quarterbacks know the race to see who will get the first snap is far from over.
“Each one of them does something a little bit better than the other,” Fritz said. “One of the things we are going to do is take advantage of their strengths and hide their weaknesses. I think you may have seen some of that with the play-calling.”
For example, Bradwell, clearly a better runner than thrower, attempted just two passes. One fell incomplete. The other was intercepted.
Cuiellette, meanwhile, completed 2 of 8 passes for 10 yards but threw the lone touchdown pass of the day.
He seems to be the front-runner, but he isn’t taking it that for granted.
“It’s still a battle, and I’m going to treat every day like a battle,” he said. “I’m not going to get complacent. They are keeping me on my toes. I’m always looking over my shoulders.”
Over one shoulder, there is the newcomer.
Over the other shoulder is the 23-year-old seasoned veteran from the West Bank.
“He’s the granddaddy,” Cuiellette said of Powell. “He’s the guy we always go to for advice and the guy who comes over and helps me out.”
Powell played in five games last season and started one. He completed just 16 of 36 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. He has started at least one game every season but has yet to grab the reins as a full-time starter.
“My family always stays on me and just tells me to not give up,” he said. “I’m one of the oldest on the team. I feel like if I’m moving slow, the team is moving slow. If I move fast, the team moves fast. I feel like I have to set the tempo.”
Powell looks like a long shot to be the starter when the season rolls around.
But in passing situations in Fritz’s run-first offense, he very well may be the team’s best option.
Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @RWalkerAdvocate.