Nassib’s Orange Going Bowling: Why Did the Right Offense Take So Long?

SU’s quarterback draft stock is rising, but it raises some important questions about the coaching staff.

CBS Sports

This week The Fizz showcased the growth we’ve seen in Ryan Nassib, and his surge to the top of the Syracuse record books and in his draft stock. He has developed into one of the most successful quarterbacks in program history, and will be going to his second bowl game in three years as a starter.

But the idea that he has mastered many offensive systems is inaccurate. He’s succeeded through many variations in these three seasons, including the west coast, the hurry-up and read option.

Scouts indeed do love Ryan’s ability to put up massive numbers despite ever changing schemes and pieces around him. Think of all the injuries in the receiving corps over these three seasons, then add the burying, rediscovering, breaking out, suspending and reclamation of Marcus Sales. However, saying Ryan has mastered multiple offensive systems is a farce.

If the offense was working so magically and efficiently, this staff wouldn’t have made so many wholesale changes. This season the coaches have done a tremendous job of essentially using the best of the past two years and creating the current Syracuse offense. Nassib’s strengths in his first two years were throwing to the tight ends and hitting big plays. SU was also at it’s best with a solid run/pass ratio. Those are all staples of the recent Orange success.

Why it took Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett this long to encourage the hurry-up is bizarre. Fans and media like myself begged Syracuse to go no-huddle for years. This was far and away Ryan was at his best, which allowed the phenomenal comeback against Wake and the other dramatic wins early last season. We could all see how much more efficient Nassib was in these circumstances. Why couldn’t the coaches? It was just common sense. This year Syracuse’s tempo is unquestionably the key to their offensive success.

When assessing Nassib, you must also analyze his first two years. He’s grown as a player and a a leader this season. But he hasn’t proven that he can play in any system. He has shown he can learn them though, and he’s clearly very coachable.

What team Ryan gets drafted to is far more important than what round. The Redskins are in the playoff hunt not because they have Robert Griffin III, but because they know how to use him. The Panthers are a three-win team because they make Cam Newton throw the ball way too much.

Nassib has all the attributes to succeed. He has a laser arm with one of the quickest releases you’ll find. He seems to have gotten over his pocket jitters that plagued him much of the last two years. He’s incredibly smart and has shown through all the systematic changes that he is coachable. But the idea he has mastered three systems in three years is simply not true. He was inconsistent for two seasons, but was put into a situation where he has thrived and helped push the Orange into the postseason.

His stock is going to skyrocket in pre-draft interviews, and we may see another SU product shoot up draft boards. Could this be the second straight year with a first-round draft pick? The Fizz won’t complain.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

25 Comments on this Post

  1. @Craig Hoffman;

    I agree Craig that the hurry up no huddle pro set offense has worked wonders for Syracuse. But even with the pros(to keep opposing defenses honest) you need to establish the run game. Syracuse completed the 2012 season accomplishing that feat.

    Watching Syracuse play the game this season was fun and frustrating for me. I was in ninth heaven when everything clicked correctly and frustrated when Ryan couldn’t/didn’t see the open receiver to throw the ball too.

    The future looks good for Syracuse and I believe that the best is yet to come. Bring on 2013 and the ACC. We’re ready!!!!!

  2. Section 129 Smitty

    I’ve got to say it’s been a pleasure watching Nassib progress. Two years ago before the Pinstripe Bowl we all were questioning his status as the starting QB. Credit should be also given to Marrone and Hackett for developing him and right now in the college game if I was down 6 with 2 minutes left in a game I would take Nassib as my QB to lead this team 80 yards anyday. This team has gone 5-1 in the last 6 games and all along some of us kept saying that this team is better then most people think and that they just didnt know how to win. Well they figured it out and this is going to carry over into next season. If we have a QB step up next year and some WR’s step up as well this team will be really good. Next year, RB-very good, Off line- very good, TE good, Def-line- good, LB- excelent, DB- improved. Special teams-getting better. Watch out ACC SU is coming and coming with a very solid team.

  3. Wow guys,I mean really? The staff does a terrific job of developing a very effective offense and we respond to that with,Why couldn’t they do it sooner? It shouldn’t surprise me in this town as, for some reason, we strive to yank a negative out of any progress we make.It shows at the turnstiles as we continue to be an indifferent fanbase more focused on cleaning our gutters on a Saturday

  4. Dave – it took this staff two years to figure out what I figured out in half a season of watching Nassib play. There’s reasoning behind it too. Ryan’s so good at diagnosing things pre-snap that often his first read is a good one. When you run no huddle, your set of plays is designed around quick decisions so if he knows pre-snap where he’s going and what’s going to happen, he’ll be successful. Or if you want to ignore that, you can go with the “it worked” logic and your argument is just as valid.

    I give Marrone and Hackett a ton of credit. I’ve talked to both guys enough that I know they know what they’re doing. The way this team turned it on down the stretch is amazing. You don’t have to be all in one corner though. You can criticize and praise. Nobody’s perfect and nobody’s 100% awful either.

  5. hey guy’s;I know there’s still a lot of football to be played and were in the middle of transitioning to Basketball so I needed to put this here today.

    Big East basketball: Syracuse leads Big East sweep in Friday’s SEC/Big East Challenge.

    We only need one of the remaining 4 teams to win their game today to win this competition. A note to remember,the BE kept Louisville,Pittsburgh and Connecticut out of the competition this year.

  6. @Hoffman;

    your last statement that you made,says it all about the FIZZ.”You don’t have to be all in one corner though. You can criticize and praise. Nobody’s perfect and nobody’s 100% awful either”.

    That statement alone is what makes the Fizz a great web site for people to debate on any subject provided.


  7. Dr. bill

    Congratulations to HCMM for withstanding the heat and producing a winner. We needed a different twist on offense…and as the former OC for the Saints, we expected to see more….and never saw it. Finally……Finally…..Cudos to Hackett for having the courage to change…..and cudos to Nassib for executing. We look good…….
    I am proud to wear orange….Go Cuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. You guys are noticing all of the right things, but drawing the wrong conclusion. Nassib succeeded in earlier seasons DESPITE the lack of talent, the right system, and an effective running game. You don’t put up those numbers without playing well more often than not. Sure, he’s needed time to develop, but he hasn’t always had such a great offensive line in front of him or go to receivers like he has now. I don’t know why you’d tear down one of the bright spots and best QB this program has produced in a decade, and one of the best in program history.

    Also, while I’ve been hard on Nate Hackett, this has been a team that has been trying to find its identity since HCDM showed up on the Hill. Hackett has been learning on the job, and it seems that he’s finally figured it out (although there’s still plays he calls routinely that I’ll never understand). Again, I think this staff has done remarkably well despite the lack of talent.

    If you want to know why we were so successful in the stretch this season compared to last season, it all comes down to depth. Last year, we didn’t have the depth to cope with injuries and the long season. This year, we have the depth to withstand an 8 game stretch without a bye week. How about that?

    While I think the hurry up offense might’ve worked last season the way it did this season, you can’t chalk it up to one half of football played at the beginning of the season. Also, we had a workhorse back at that point in the season last year in Bailey. Smith didn’t emerge this season until the Pitt game. I think the hurry up offense lends itself to a passing attack and sure receivers like we have this year than to the running game where you need to give the back a breather between downs to have success.

    In any case, we’re in a bowl for the second time in 2 years and Big East champs for the first time in 8 years and you guys are complaining about what this staff could’ve done better? …I’ll take these guys over Grob’s disgusting play any day.

  9. Ron – thanks a lot man. That’s what we try to do and we’re open to all opinions.

    Derek – Who said we’re complaining? I’m just pointing out that it took a long time for them to realize and implement something that we all were screaming about when we were struggling. That’s a fact. I give them full credit for totally buying in this year and getting the players to buy in too. I’m a big Doug fan and think Hackett has improved.

    My whole point is that we seem to “misremember” (thank you Roger Clemens for inventing that word) Ryan’s first two years. He put up some solid total numbers but he wasn’t that awesome. You say he was successful and I never thought of him as that. It was a struggle and yes he had his moments and his games (WVU last year) but overall he did a lot of things that made me scratch my head. This year he’s been fantastic, but this notion that he’s been super for 3 years is just not accurate.

  10. A winner is not at .500!! HCDM/dougie jerked Ryan all along his 4 years at SU. Paulus for Ryan was STUPID!!! But your man showed his coaching savey with that move. In the next 2 years you hardly heard dougie stick up for Ryan at all. This year it took HCDM nearly 3/4 through the year before he patted Ryan on the back. The fan base was no better about Ryan either. I bitched about HCDM/dougie since he got here. And I thought his hire was a great one too!! But I hung by Ryan for years. I heard crap from the Paulus homers when I said Paulus sucks and Ryan should be #1 QB. Yes HCDM/dougie started to grow into this job. But Ryan’s and the other players play made this year, not dougie’s coaching!!

  11. I can’t for sure say that Doug opened EVERY game with a hanoff to #45 but far morethan half for sure. Sure Jerome ran for good yardage but every opening play?? What do you bet the bowl game will be no different. !

  12. @chris;

    What’s the point that your trying to make?

    Did you watch the SEC Championship Game earlier? Alabama’s running game has put them into the national championship game against Notre Dame.

    When you establish the run you draw the opposing defense in to try and stop it,after drawing them in is when you start throwing the ball because your receivers will be open 90/98% of the time.

    That’s fundamental football taught in Pop Warner.

  13. I have to agree with Chris. I can’t remember which game it was (I think Cinci), but I was paying particular attention to first down play calling since it was an issue this year and we ran off tackle on literally every 1st down but one… maybe two if I missed it. I think you have to establish the running game as well, but you also have to at least try to keep the other team guessing.

  14. Also, that’s not just on Doug. That’s the OC.

  15. Coaching is fine… Enjoy the post season folks.

  16. Russell MacEachern

    I agree with Derek that we were too predictable and w/a little innovation we might have won an extra game or two!But Im just glad were on the winning side of the ledger again and hope some of our disillusioned fans w/return (bgogo,Norma)!!

  17. Dr. bill

    Where are all the Skip Holtz Fans..who thought he should have been SU’s next coach? He just got fired after 3 bad years at South florida. He went to a winning program and turned it into a loser. He is in South Florida…..has all the talent right in his back yard…and still could not win. NOw, where are all the Holtz to SU fans…..they were extremely vocal way back when. The silence……..speaks for itself. SU made the right choice in Doug Marrone……
    Look back at all the candidates people were screaming for:

    1. Mike Locksley: Was the University of Maryland Assist. with a great track record for recruiting. Got the head job at U. of New Mexico….Got fired after 2 years…Had a terrible record

    2.Turner Gill: was the head man at buffalo….went to U. of Kansas..was fired after only 2 years….

    3. Skip Holtz: Everyone in Upstate NY was in love with this guy, ready to sell the farm for this guy……..This site was flooded with people criticizing the CUSE for not paying this guy 5 million a year to save us!!!!

    Did I leave anyone out???
    What are your thoughts now? Fizz, you need to do an entire show on this!!!!

  18. @Dr. bill;

    I’m with Dr.Bill on this guy’s. Where are all of the people that was following the Pied Piper(Terry)saying Skippie ,was the better choice?

    Dr. Bill great post. Amen bro,A-MEN.

    Thank you for making my day/night a much happier one. Man I really enjoyed reading what you printed. Have I said what a GREAT POST yet? hahahahahahahahahahah.

    Terrie,now be careful when you read this post,I don’t want you to start choking on anything that you might have your hands on.

  19. @Derek;

    Are you coming to the party that’s being held at Yankee Stadium? Come on guys let’s get together and have a ball down there.

    Let’s have some fun,if anyone comes down and brings the wife,please remember the golden rule of respecting all of the women that joins us if any. None of us using that great F— word ok. Thank you.

  20. Man I missed you guys. So glad to be back. Dr. Bill and his doctorly scholarly ways. Terry and his clearly infallible logic.

    Aaron – Coaching has been great down the stretch and overall has been very good over HCDM’s whole career in terms of player development and gameplanning. The day of coaching wasn’t always the greatest but like players, coaches can get hot and Hackett and Marrone pressed all the right buttons down the stretch.

    Terry – Marrone has been tooting Ryan’s horn for a while. That statement is blatantly false. Read this which talks about Marrone saying Ry would be drafted at the start of this year.

    A bunch of the Fizz crew will be in NYC so maybe we can organize a little pre or post-game listener/reader meet up. If Fizz Radio is live down there, we’ll definitely let you guys know where to show up and see us. I’m coming up from Kansas so you crazy fools have no excuse!

  21. Russell,what do toy think,does the R&R show have a chance in NYC?

    The Russ & Ron show. HOW SWEET IT IS.

    To the Fizz Crew let us all know as to where your going to be set up. If anything maybe we can get a couple of pictures and a couple of autographs.

    it’s going to fun.

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