Will Ashton Broyld ever live up to the hype? The question lingers there for every Syracuse fan. We knew about his prodigious talents as he ripped through high school just an hour down the road at Rush-Henrietta. We watched him get publicly embarrassed for his “exposure” circus before he even stepped on the SU campus. We waited until his isolation at Milford Academy expired.
It’s been a long road, Orange Nation and Broyld. And last season we finally saw some of that lightening. Fans had just a bite of the appetizer. 36 rushes for 171 yards (4.8 average), seven receptions for 53 yards (7.6 average) and one kick return for 10 yards. It’s no surprise the mailbag question this week to Poloquin was about AB.
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Fans want to know if we anticipated Broyld’s arrival in vain. Will he forever be just another athlete/quarterback washout, hyped but never delivered? Personally, I think there’s reason to be very optimistic about Broyld’s ’13 season: George McDonald.
Nate Hackett, who certainly had success running a humming offense at the end of the season, has a lot of Doug Marrone in him. Be accountable. Don’t make mistakes. Don’t turn the football over. Ryan Nassib could very well be a first-round draft pick, and he wasn’t allowed to really handle the offense until the final eight games of his senior season.
So Broyld’s inconsistency, the threat of making the wrong decision or turning the ball over, terrified Marrone and Hackett. But I don’t think McDonald is wired that way. Look at the talent be brought in on National Signing Day.
The Mailman went hard after wide receivers. He landed Corey Winfield, Corey Cooper, and an all-around big play threat on offense/defense/special teams in Brisly Estime. They had QB Austin Wilson in the bag, but got in on Mitch Kimble, a dual-threat signal caller. McDonald brought in playmakers.
That’s exactly what Broyld is. His 22-yard TD scamper through the middle of the Stony Brook defense put it on display. He can make things happen, and when you have horses you have to let them run. SU did not sign one running back. The backfield is well stocked, but it tells me this offense will spread the ball around through the air.
I could easily see Broyld turning into a hybrid Percy Harvin-type (not with the same talent or production, but in that mold). Get him the ball in space out of the slot, hand it to him on end-arounds, find him on bubble screens. McDonald’s not going to run the same old plodding SU offense, and my guess is they’ll take some chances. With an unproven quarterback taking over it makes too much sense to find high percentage ways to get athletes the football. I think that means a fun year for Broyld, and hopefully delivering on all that promise. We’re getting sick of waiting.