High Alert: Allen Stumbles in 1st Start, What if it Happens Again Saturday?

The first game of the Drew Allen era at Syracuse is in the books, and it was, interesting, to say the least. The offense struggled to move the ball, only scoring touchdowns after a 55-yard pass and a long interception return set them up with extremely short fields. Even then, the Orange could only score on running plays. Allen finished the game just 16/37 for 189 yards, which is even worse when you consider he started 6/6 for 43 yards. Allen was not impressive, he looked lost at times in the second half, underthrew balls, and was a far cry from what many Syracuse fans expected.

Following the Spring Game, much was made of chemistry between Terrell Hunt and Jarrod West. West was supposed to be the go to man in a group of inexperienced receivers. Instead, West had just three catches against Penn State, and there looked to be no chemistry between he and Allen. On multiple occasions, Allen threw passes where he expected West to be, only for West to break later or keep running. Allen even admitted that the communication was off between him and his receivers.

“I felt like there were times when we showed a lot of great things, and then there were times when things weren’t so great. And I felt during those times it was when our communication broke apart.”

On the other hand, Allen seemed to trust Ashton Broyld as his go to receiver. Broyld made a key catch for a first down on a third and long, as well as turning short screen passes into longer gains. After a few connections, Allen began to target Broyld so much the defense easily read the throw before it even left Allen’s hand, leading to incompletions and an interception. It isn’t bad that Allen has found trust in Broyld, but he needs to develop that with West and the rest of the wide receivers. Without it, the offense will not be able to move the ball down the field.

Allen also looked uncomfortable in the offense. Many times, the graduate student looked over towards the sideline shrugging in the direction of George McDonald. He took a delay of game penalty, was forced to call a timeout to avoid another, and would have been forced to call another timeout if not for the end of the quarter.

Allen was also unsure of plays to audible to when the situation presented itself. Allen has only been in the offense since May when he graduated from Oklahoma, but he has to be comfortable with the playbook. Another interesting part about the offense was the use of the Pistol formation. The Orange actually ran an option on the first play of the game, then probably thought better and didn’t have Allen run another. The Pistol would seem much better suited for Hunt than Allen, so why would the SU coaching staff force it?

What happens if Allen struggles again? If he starts 6/6 and is on his way to 10/31 the rest of the way, will Shafer pull the plug? Will Hunt get a chance if the Orange is down against Northwestern this weekend and Allen is struggling? Shafer may not have wanted to pull Allen in his first game, but it would be borderline inexcusable if Shafer allows the quarterback to falter again. The Orange should not use a two-quarterback system, but sometimes when a player is struggling, he needs a break. It happens all the time with other players, whether it is the corner who was burned on multiple plays or the wide receivers who drop two or three passes. This may be different because it is a quarterback, but it wouldn’t be a rash decision made because of two or three bad passes. It would be five or six bad quarters of football. Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Allen to sit down for a quarter if he struggles in Evanston this weekend.

Bottom line, Allen did not look good in his first start for the Orange and his first since high school. Allen needs to play better, work with receivers other than just Broyld. If the Penn State defense was able to tell which receivers he was locked into, what is a better Northwestern defense going to do? Allen needs to improve, otherwise Orange fans could see Hunt against Wagner, and maybe even sooner.

Posted: Seth Goldberg


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  1. orangeinva says:

    I think you have Allen on a relatively long leash at NW..first game jitters/new offensive “chain of command”, kinks to be worked out..it’s expected in the season’s first game.

    NW can give up passing yardage if the QB is protected. Let’s see what he(Allen) does this week. If he struggles well into the 3rd qtr //seems confused, throws a few pics- then yes bring in Hunt.

    And then put Hunt at the controls for next week’s home opener, giving him every opportunity to succeed.

    Allen plays for his starting QB job this week..that simple.

  2. Saltine5 says:

    I think the hiccups of Allen’s first start won’t occur against NWU. I think it’s fixed already. SU has a great staff in place and DA is talented. I’m not worried, and I think we’ll see a difference vs NWU. If not, that is if the first quarter an a half is like the last two vs PSU, then I think we’ll see Terrel Hunt take on the day.

  3. Terry says:

    NW is not PSU!! Even with NW’s injuries SU is in for a far better team against NW. 12 point spread is a good bet to take, main because its at NW and its fans will be rocking. Spread should be at least 22!!! SU QB situation is very rocky. As the season moves on I think it might get worse. The starting QB has to run more to. Allen at times just did a statue-like look and got hammered a couple of times!!

  4. Derek says:

    I don’t know if he struggled so much as we mostly called passing plays in really obvious passing situations, like third and long. We need to let him use that canon and sling the ball down field more. Also, when the D is playing 8 or 9 in the box and cheating for the run, it’s time to start using the play action to keep ‘em honest.

    Drew does look down his primary receivers too much though and doesn’t get through his progressions fast enough, if at all. Could be first game stuff though. We’ll see how he does on Saturday.

    GO CUSE!

  5. Derek says:

    I should clarify and say I would not be disappointed at all to see Hunt get the nod. He looked awesome at the Spring practices and game, and at Fan Fest. Seemed to have total control over the offense, something that Allen hasn’t really shown yet. I still will defer to the coaches judgement, for now.

  6. Frank says:

    I believe they should dumb down the offense as having too many plays causes total team confusion.

  7. WsaltineW says:

    One of the problems for the entire team was crowd noise. After the game several players indicated there was confusion for SU players in part due to the crowd. Unfortunately NW will be no different this weekend. Even so, looking back, coaches and fans will realize Penn State should have been a win for the Cuse.

  8. chris says:

    If “it happens again” Hunt must be given the opportunity to get things going. It would not have been a good idea last week but this is week two. Improvement or change must be on the table for Shafer for ALL positions.

  9. zetabeta5 says:

    When are we going to get over the silliness created by Shafer when he set up the “competition” for the starting role as a way of motivating Allen….Who is Allen? All American high school quarterback from the hotbed of high school football where games draw bigger crowds than many college games in the East Recruited by half a dozen of the biggest programs in the country….Spent years at Quarterback U…working with the best quarterback coaches in the country (one All American and one Heisman ahead of him ) pro size and speed, can throw the ball 70 yards in the air…..Now, Hunt…All Queens in New York City…one of the worst recruiting areas in the country…only one college offer….so low on the depth chart at SU that Marrone used him on special teams…only strength ..escapability in the pocket since he can’t throw deep..but is smaller and slower than Allen..Shafer knows Allen is the only hope for a winning season…..We were ranked #96 in the country when the pundits thought Hunt was SU’s qb despite returning brilliant runners…We are playing #19 on Saturday…Hunt? Why? And as for the posters who say we should be giving Hunt playing time for “next year prep”…What a joke! We have some good frosh and a couple of big time qb’s and a world class receiver coming in next year…..and Hunt will play next year? Give me a break!

  10. Frank says:

    Crowd noise…….you better get use to it!

  11. Terry says:

    On bottom line of ESPNU it did not mention TV coverage for Saturdays game!!! Anyone know if TW is getting it. Hope not ESPN3!!

  12. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    Terry,I know you follow Rivals.com website pretty close as far as the class national rankings go. I’ve said over and over that”perception only leads to speculation”when it comes to these websites,and here is why I make a statement like that.

    Scout.com has Syracuse ranked at 55th in the nation.
    Rivals.com has them ranked at 69th in their national rankings.

    A 14 point difference between the two organizations. How can that be? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I know your going to say Rivals,so please tell me why.

  13. Ron says:

    If Shafer sticks with Drew Allen for the rest of the year as Qb,because he believs that Terrell Hunt is slower and doesn’t have the arm strenght to throw down field then,Terrell will either transfer out or decide to play another position,because he will not start next year either.

    We have Kimble and Wilson who will step up and one will be the starting QB,the otther the backup.

    The guy I really feel bad for is Charlie Loeb. He’s a kid,during the last 5 years have paid his dues. It’s really sad that things didn’t work out for him. I wish him the very best after graduation.

  14. Cuse don't luse says:

    Ron I agree about loeb it could have been a great story but I’m not sure if Wilson and Kimble are where u say they are I think hunt starts next year and the player who transfers is whichever Wilson/Kimble finishes lower next year I think Kimble is like a Dan persa elusive with a good arm and Wilson is more of a graham Harrell someone who is average size and below average speed but can really sling it that will some day be a great qb battle whether next year like u say or the year after where long could also be in the mix

  15. upstate andy says:

    Hey guys. I for one wouldn’t mind seeing a 2 qb system. I feel sometimes pulling a player in a game can benefit them. It can help them to see things in a different view. Maybe help them to relax and calm down. Maybe even taking the pressure off. In the situation from last sat. I feel with the way Allen was playing he needed to be pulled. Have him refocus a little bit. He looked totally uncomfortable. I do hope that if this happens again that Hunt take over to see what he can do. Our receivers really need to focus. Know where they need to be. I felt that PS was a good game for them to try and exploit a defense. NW has alot of returning players that makes them a very good team. I didn’t see this game as a win, but things can happen.

    Some of the things that killed me from last weekends game rotation. I didn’t see the defense rotating players in alot. The announcers ever were saying that the defense looked like they were stuck to the PS players at times. The other thing. Why didn’t SU play AMM. I didn’t even see him once. That is a big dude who did a good job last yr. Some things I just didn’t understand. Hope we get a win this weekend. GO CUSE!!!

  16. Terrell says:

    Drew Allen is terrible. He is awful fora senior QB. Hunt should get time for the future. Alt least if we go 4-8 we Shoukd go 4-8 and get better next year

  17. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    I’m not ready for another lesson in futility!!!!! I got enough of that from Marrone and his great Greg Paulis experiment.

    Remember,the reason bringing Paulis in for a year,was he was going to fill the seats because of being a local kid from CBA. We all know how that worked,don’t we?

  18. Ron says:

    @Cuse don’t luse;

    I’m assumeing that school has already began down in the great State of Texas.

    Study hard young man and good luck.

  19. Terry says:

    Ron Rivals is its own person. Scout is a part of a corporation view of things. College FB/BB is Rivals. To me the years class is average to weak so far. And Rivals has it right while scout and others have SU rated higher!! Rivals is not afraid of losing contact with schools inside institutions and rate them accordingly. Rivals by far has been closer on talent than the others to. Rivals if it misses it misses over talent than ability. Otherwords Rivals might give a 2 star to a kid and he has a 4 star career in college. While other over rate talent. But at the same time when I see a 2 star I believe he is a 2 star since that is coming from Rivals. The new kid from Conn is rated 2 stars from Rivals

  20. Terry says:

    Woops hit submit button on above babble-sorry!!

    Rivals have Phillips(CONN) a 2 star others have him a 3 star!! I believe Rivals. This kids so far is not in the limelight and I really think he really won’t improve this coming year!! Rivals have him right on!! That’s why Rivals is my recruiting bible!!

  21. Andrew says:

    @ Terrell

    IS THAT YOU TERRELL HUNT?!

    Well, whether or not it is or isnt, we dont disagree with you. Hunt should, I mean YOU SHOULD BE PLAYING.

    your secret is safe with us ;)

  22. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    As far as I know TW isn’t carring it and neither is ESPN.

    I guess the only way to watch the Syracuse game this weekend is on the “BIG NETWORK”.

  23. Ron,Bergen C HS is on TV tonight against La powerhouse John J Curtis HS at 7PM on Foxsports1 in Louisiana!Hope they show well like DBP usually did on the road in the south!

  24. Ron says:

    @Russell Stugots;

    Russell,I’ll try and see if I can get it on TV tonight. There are two good games going to be played in the dome tonight also.Union Endicott vs CBA and Fayetteville Manilus vs Schnectady. Both games should be real interesting. Thanks again russ for letting me know about Bergen Catholic.

    @Terry;thanks for explaining the difference between rivals website and Scout.com website.
    One other thing J.R. Zazzara said he is well prepared for the opening game tonight against Union Endicott.

  25. Ron says:

    @Russell Stugots;

    The Orange announced an incoming class of 16 players on Wednesday,seven of whom are among Inside Lacrosse magazine’s top 100 recruits. The class, ranked No. 2 by the magazine.

    Maybe this is why J.R. Zazzara who QB’s the CBA team decommited from Syracuse and later signed with Buffalo University.

    The Fayetteville-Manlius coached by a former SU RB Damien Rhodes had two DI players on it’s team that Syracuse had offered early. (TE)Tyrone Wheatly Jr. transferred to Canisius for his senior year and thnere is a CB that was offered for the class of 2015.

    I believe Russ that afer this year,things are going to change big time for the football program recruiting good athletes. I honestly believe that we have turned the corner. I find it real interesting that we haven’t heard a thing from Mavety,Holley,Winfree,Ollison,Holuba or any of those players from Georgia and Florida yet. There is still a ton of recruits from Illinois that we haven’t heard a thing from yet either. What are they waiting for? It just seems funny to me that none have committed yet.

  26. Ron says:

    I have to go clean up and then get set for some “JERSEY STYLE” high school football.

    Russell doesn’t DE Kurt Holuba play for Bergen C HS?

  27. Ron says:

    @@Russell Stugots;

    Will give my take on the game when it’s through Russell. I’m really impressed with Kurt Holuba. Boy I hope we get him to come to Syracuse.

    My comments after the game.

  28. Ron says:

    @@Russell Stugots;

    Russ,Bergen Catholic has nothing to be ashamed of man. They held that team to 24 points. John Curtis didn’t have a first down until 7 minutes left in the game. Bergen Catholics defense was impressive.

    I noticed that both teams played some of their players both ways. I thought that only happened in the upstate region.

    I didn’t like the dirty play from the John Curtis players. Kicking Bergen players after they were downed,just didn’t impress me.
    I thought that 250 fans of Bergen Catholic traveled with the team for support was very impressive and all of the 5’9″ RB’s from both squads were physical and ran really hard.

    I noticed that Kurt Holuba wasn’t the only gifted player for Bergen. I just don’t understand why in hell’s creation Syracuse hasn’t gone after talent like RB Corey Russo,OG/DE Kurt Holuba,QB Jarrett Guarantano who’s only a sophomore,DE/TE Garrett Dickerson,QB Colon McGovern and RB/DB JP Garcia.

    There was another 6 players that impressed me that played for John Curtis.

    Syracuse is definately missing the boat here. The announcers spoke very highly of the Bergen head coach. Maybe Shafer ought to pay him a visit after the season and hire him as an assistant. That would open the NJ area if that could ever happen.

    In the end Russell,thanks for letting me know about the game,I enjoyed it to the very end.

  29. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    CBA,ranked the #1 school in Syracuse. Here’s why. Taken from am article just posted on Syr.com.

    Zazzara, who plans to sign a Division I scholarship with the University at Buffalo, tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Salter on CBA’s first possession. But it was his 95-yard touchdown run just before halftime that definitively answered questions about Zazzara’s hamstring injury, one that kept him out of the team’s final scrimmage last weekend.

    Both Zazzara and Salter had 4 touchdowns each.

    Yep that proves to me,he’s no good and can’t play the game,I’m glad that he decommitted from Syracuse to enroll at the University of Buffalo.

    Great move J.R. Zazzara,great move. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR COLLEGE CAREER YOUNG MAN. GOOD LUCK.

  30. Ron says:

    @Russell Stugots;

    One thing I forgot to mention. I thought I was watching a college game tonight. One team(Bergen Catholic)was running a spread offense with pass plays using 4 and sometimes 5 recievers sets using the RB’s to throw the defense off a little.

    John Curtis ran the triple option. Their main play was a quick handoff to the RB hitting the hole going off guard.

    Both were impressive for high school football.

  31. BigDipster says:

    Wow…Drew Allen is garbage!!!!! Why not prep Hunt for next season?

    1. Allen is a career backup, he should read schemes well
    2. No loyalty HCSS .. an Oklahoma guy got you, your 1st loss
    3. Scary *ss quarterbacks suck
    4. “Tranfer promise gone wrong- the Drew experimentation”
    5. He could go 15 for 40? And still start next game… don’t ask?
    6. HCSS could be down trending.. OCMcD sux too
    7. Go SU….

  32. Ron says:

    earlier I had asked Drew Allen here,if he was ready to handle the scrutiny/pressure from the fans”if he were to start the season at 2-0. Well he didn’t deliver,instead he gave us a 0-2 start to the season. He better be prepared to handle what’s about to fall onto his shoulders. I hope that 6’4′ 256 lb frame is strong enough to handle the critizism that’s about to come his way.

    Terrell Hunt was brought in with 5 minutes left in the game. Drew Allen has lost the job as the starting QB. Terrell Hunt will take it now for the rest of the season.

  33. Seth says:

    Yes, Hunt was brought into the game, but so was most of the 2nd team offense. Funderburke was at wide receiver, George Morris II and MacFarlane were in at running back, so it was not just Hunt coming in for Allen. That was more of Shafer putting in the 2nd team in a game they weren’t going to win than Shafer giving up on Allen and giving Hunt his shot

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