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