Yeah, we still haven‚Äôt gotten there yet. The QB slot remains a mystery at Manley Fieldhouse during preseason training camp. Scott Shafer has made it very clear from the moment he was named head coach¬†he values each of his six signal callers currently on the SU roster. But with constant flip-flopping of guys under center between first¬†team and second¬†team, it‚Äôs starting to become a headache.
Live Twitter coverage of camp tells us that Shafer believes nothing should be read into who‚Äôs playing with which team. Via WAER Sports‚Äô Twitter account, Shafer said:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄúDefinitely don‚Äôt look into anything related to first team or second team. Way too early.‚Äù
But we’re only about 23 days away from kickoff against Penn State at MetLife Stadium. He‚Äôs awfully confident whoever he does name the starter will immediately excel in that role. Let‚Äôs assess the beginning of camp thus far.¬†Terrell Hunt has primarily handled signal calling with¬†the first team,¬†while¬†Drew Allen has worked with the¬†second team.
Even though Shafer said “don‚Äôt look too into it” this has to be a surprise. Technically a true senior,¬†Allen didn‚Äôt come to Syracuse for his final year of eligibility to ride the pine. Last year‚Äôs back-up Charlie Loeb¬†has been¬†with the first¬†team in the hurry-up drills.To top it all off, Shafer speaks very highly of youngsters Mitch Kimble and Austin Wilson, and, ‚Äúwants everybody to know those two have promise for future.” Reports indicate John Kinder has switched to wide receiver. Ultimately, the coaching staff has to make a decisive choice, sooner rather than later.
When you break down all options, you cannot blame Shafer or George McDonald for taking careful steps into making this call. The next leader of the Orange into the ACC slate is a pivotal decision. There‚Äôs a lot that goes into replacing three-year starter (and two time bowl winner) Ryan Nassib. When talking football logistics, obviously the ground game is¬†SU‚Äôs best building block offensively¬†right now. That‚Äôs clear, but the quarterback can also make all the difference, and you don’t want to have to switch midway through the season. The defense brings back veteran talent, but your quarterback establishes a big part of a program‚Äôs identity.
Getting too harsh on Shafer is premature, but Orange Nation is anxious for some answers. The team also is more comfortable knowing who’s going to be its leader. Maybe the players already know who the favorite is and have been told to keep quiet. Perhaps since this is his first rodeo as the head man, Shafer is being particularly cautious. Everyone has loved Shafer‚Äôs intensity and¬†mindset to play gritty football. In order for that personality to live up to expectations, bold decision making has to come with it. This one certainly will be.
Posted: Brendan Glasheen