EDMOND — There was a noticeable difference in the way Edmond Santa Fe quarterback Keaton Torre carried himself Monday morning.
Sure, he’s 3 inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than his sophomore season at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds.
But it’s Torre’s confidence that stood out during the Wolves’ first practice of the season as he talked with teammates, went through drills and completed passes.
It’s one of the best signs for Edmond Santa Fe after he played to mixed results the final six games of last season replacing star quarterback Justice Hansen because of an injury. Torre credits that experience for his improvement both physically and mentally.
“Getting that experience under my belt, I’m not coming into the season timid or tempted to be scared,” he said. “It was a great learning experience. I took everything out of that and I’m just going to take it to the season and get better on it.”
Torre completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,297 yards and nine touchdowns. He even earned a scholarship offer this summer from Louisville, where he spent the past weekend alongside Westmoore star receiver and Louisville commitment Dahu Green.
But Torre also threw six interceptions and showed limited mobility in the pocket that often hindered the Wolves.
“We were worried about how we were going to hide his speed last year compared to what we were used to day-to-day with Justice,” Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said. “Now, we’re not so concerned about that. We’re comfortable with his ability to run the football, run the offense and keep things similar to the way they’ve been in the past. Not only that, his arm strength’s as good as anybody I’ve ever coached.”
Torre said mobility was his primary focus during the offseason. He knows he won’t possess the breakout speed Hansen possessed, but he no longer feels like he will be a liability.
“The one thing I needed to work on was me getting out of the pocket being able to break out those 10-yard runs, maybe not 80-, 90-, 100-yard runs Justice did because that’s a freak way,” Torre said. “If I can get those extra yards it’ll help our team tremendously.”
During the final six games last season and the offseason, Torre also earned the respect of his teammates.
He referred multiple times Monday to the improved offensive line and his junior teammates’ talent. More than anything, that stood out as a display of his maturity.
“As a younger quarterback, he does appreciate what the offensive line does for him a lot more than any other quarterback I’ve gotten a chance to work with,” Santa Fe senior lineman J.R. Hensley said over the summer. “The things that he’s had to overcome, he gets a lot of knocks, but the thing is the stuff that he puts in in the weight room, no one really understands or notices except our coaches.”