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Dietz's calm soothes team's concerns at QB

There was a moment midway through the second quarter of the Storm's 66-45 win over the Austin Wranglers on Sunday when Tim Marcum realized he wasn't dealing with a regular rookie quarterback.

By DAVID MURPHY
Published May 10, 2007


TAMPA - There was a moment midway through the second quarter of the Storm's 66-45 win over the Austin Wranglers on Sunday when Tim Marcum realized he wasn't dealing with a regular rookie quarterback.

With a first down on the Wranglers' 1-yard line, Brett Dietz had just burned an ill-advised timeout, and the coach was, shall we say, loudly expressing his displeasure.

But as Marcum ripped his new signal-caller a new earhole on the sideline, Dietz's expression remained blank.

"He's unflappable, " Marcum said. "It doesn't bother him."

It's that even-keeled nature that has the Storm feeling good about its quarterback situation for the first time since Stoney Case suffered a season-ending shoulder injury a month ago in Orlando.

Going into the game, Marcum was so concerned with the scrambling ability of Austin quarterback Adrian McPherson that he had wide receiver Huey Whittaker line up under center for the scout team during practice.

But come game time, Dietz was the best quarterback on the field, completing 26-of-32 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns while leading the Storm to its third win in four games.

McPherson, on the other hand, withered in the face of a fierce pass rush, completing just 19-of-45 passes. By Monday, the former Florida State blue-chipper was looking for a job after being released.

"A bunch of people always say that I'm poised, " Dietz said Wednesday, "but some coaches will say, 'He's not enthusiastic about the game.' "

The Storm certainly doesn't feel that way. In one of Dietz's first meetings in Tampa, he began quizzing offensive coordinator Pat O'Hara about scenarios and coverages.

"He was asking questions only a quarterback would think to ask, " said O'Hara, a former signal-caller with the Storm. "Right then, I went back and told Coach Marcum that he's ahead of the game."

That can be attributed to the year Dietz spent with the Louisville Fire of the af2. After spending the early part of the 2006 season on the Storm's practice squad, Dietz decided to take a step down to the sport's B-league in order to get more experience.

He ended up winning the league's offensive rookie of the year award.

"He took a calculated risk, " O'Hara said, "and it worked out."

WINNING ATTITUDE: With a win over Los Angeles 5-4 Saturday, the Storm could move into a tie for one of the final playoff spots in the National Conference. Granted, seven games remain, but the fact that the team is back in control of its own destiny is psychologically beneficial.

"You can tell by the way we are practicing, "Marcum said. "Everyone is upbeat, feeling good about themselves."

INJURY UPDATE: Lawrence Samuels has been limited on defense because of a shoulder injury, but he did catch three touchdowns at wide receiver against Austin. Jarrod Penright, who has been filling in for Samuels at linebacker, received a strong review from Marcum.