Syracuse’s backup quarterback is a lonely place on the roster. Ryan Nassib has started every game for three seasons. He’s one of the most durable quarterbacks in school history. He’s never missed a game due to injury. He also has proven to be a leader, exhibiting composure in the clutch and lead the Orange back from a 20-point deficit against South Florida to keep bowl hopes alive.
So that leaves Charlie Loeb without ever much to do (last season he was the holder on kicks). Except for two plays this season. Nassib has had to miss two offensive snaps because of the new college rule this year says that a player whose helmet slips off must leave the field for at least one play. The Fizz caught up with Loeb to see how the backup approaches his job with the new rule in place.
“We were briefed about that helmet rule at the beginning of the year. I knew maybe I would have more of an opportunity to go in for one snap here or one snap there.”
To Charley’s credit, he has avoided disaster thus far. Which is really all anyone can ask. His line: 2 plays, 2 rushes, 10 yards. Although one of the plays happened against Rutgers on a 3rd-and-long and fans were hoping SU would let him fire downfield. So what’s on Loeb’s mind during games, knowing he could be pressed into action at any time?
“I’m pretty ready for it, in all honesty. Chances are his helmet’s gotta come off every once in a while, right?”
You could see it with the gleeful smirk on Loeb’s face. A helmet popping off means he gets some rare action. The backup’s exuberance is evident when he does get the opportunity to see the field.
“I’m always out there before they even call my name. Everybody’s saying, ‘Where’s Charlie, where’s Charlie?’ And I’m already on the field halfway to the huddle, trying to get the call.”
So what’s with the run plays? Loeb is known for his arm more than his legs, and yet he’s kept it himself both times he’s taken a snap this season. Were they designed runs?
“Like a lot of run plays, especially from the shotgun, the quarterback had an option to keep it, depending on certain reads.”
And on his first play of the season, against Rutgers, the down and distance were difficult work with.
“As an offensive coordinator, to put a guy in that’s pretty cold on 3rd and 17 against a defense where they’re dropping eight in coverage, it’s asking a lot (to call a pass).”
It’s the nature of the new rule, the backup could be needed at any time. Beyond his duties as the holder for field goals, Loeb might spend the rest of the year on the sidelines. But there’s also a chance he’ll take a snap in a key situation. If another opportunity arises, the lefty would covet a chance to show off his arm.
“You know me, I’d love to go sling it around, but that’s not my call.”
Loeb should just hope for some more blowouts like the one against UConn so he can finally throw a pass.
Posted: Andrew Kanell