The element of surprise is something the Orange want to use against the Nittany Lions.
Since Ryan Nassib took his last snaps in the Pinstripe Bowl, the Orange has been looking for a new starting quarterback. The summer started withÂ four options, which has since been whittled down to three with John Kinder making theÂ move to wide receiver. Put Charley Loeb behind Terrell Hunt and Drew Allen, and that is where the competition stands right now. Hunt came out of the Spring Game as the starter, but Allen probably didnâ€™t leave Oklahoma only toÂ sit on the bench somewhere else.
The SU quarterback competition has been debated many timesÂ here on The Fizz. But could it be extremely beneficial to not name a starting quarterback until the Orange runs out on the field at MetLife Stadium against Penn State? Scott Shafer said yesterday after practice he wouldnâ€™t name a starter at all.
“Why give anybody an advantage? To me I just wouldn’t understand it. If it gives them one more practice play against something they think one kid can do compared to the other, why give them that advantage? I just don’t think it makes sense for me.”
By not naming a starting quarterback, Shafer and the Orange make it more difficult for the Penn State coaching staff to game plan. What makes the Syracuse offense even more unpredictable is that Hunt and Allen are different style quarterbacks and would run an offense differently. Hunt is more athletic, giving the Orange the options to run more of a fast paced offense with aspects of the pistol and run-option mixed in. Allen is a pure pocket passer so pistol sets and run-option are all but off the table with him unless Hunt is brought in for sub-packages. But as D.A. wrote yesterday,Â a two-quarterback systemÂ is in the best interest for nobody and puts the Orange offense in an extremely difficult situation.
Shafer believes naming a quarterback at this point doesnâ€™t do anything except help Penn State prepare for the Syracuse offense. Most likely, Shafer and the offensive coaching staff know who will start, and that player will continue to get the first team offensive reps at practice. But nine days before the game, there is no reason to give away the starter and a piece of secrecy. The Orange needs any advantage it can get, even if it is something as simple as keeping the opponent in the dark about the starting quarterback until the first play of the game.
It’s been hard to tell through first-team reps in practice exactly where Shafer’s head is. Hunt was named theÂ first string quarterbackÂ going back to the Spring Game and the first depth chart released. Hunt also brings a new dimension to the Syracuse offense. But nobody will know for sure until the Orange take the field at MetLife Stadium, and that’s just how Shafer wants it.
Posted: Seth Goldberg