As a part of the recent media days, many ACC coaches, including Scott Shafer, spent time at ESPN headquarters. While talking to Ivan Maisel, Shafer said the close wins at the end of last season were great for momentum – and especially for Terrel Hunt, who really came along against BC and Minnesota. Shafer also spoke about wanting to play faster on offense.
One of the reasons Syracuse did not play a fast offense last year, Shafer says, was because of the uncertainty of the unit. From the quarterback position to the unknowns at wide receivers, there were too many questions around the offense for the team to move at a fast pace.
This year, there is much more continuity: Terrel Hunt comes into his second year as a starter, and Jarrod West and Ashton Broyld return as two of his top targets. So, as Shafer says, it is “time for the Orange to start moving at a faster pace.”
A quicker attack will be needed in the ACC this season. The conference is obviously deeper and stronger than the old Big East, and filled with far more athletes on both sides of the ball. To keep up with other offenses, SU will need to score. To figure out ways to put opposing defenses on their heels, the Orange offense needs to be aggressive. This betting site has FSU as the favorite to win the national title again, while Clemson, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Duke and Pit all have odds to win it as well.
Maisel asked Shafer his favorite part of the fast-paced offense as a head coach, and it could be a telling sign for future success. Shafer said, as a defensive coordinator, he used to hate fast-paced offenses like the one Syracuse is installing. Hopefully, the defensive coordinators Syracuse plays this year will feel the same as the Orange runs up and down the field.
This is an important development for both Terrel Hunt and OC George McDonald. Both need to grow on last year’s performances. It was easy to see Hunt was more comfortable in a faster-paced system; look at the game against BC and especially the game-winning drive. Now it needs to continue into this season with more up-tempo, no-huddle offense.
Hunt has a chance to grow and become a very good quarterback and become a legit NFL prospect going into his senior year. He has the weapons around him, continuity in those weapons, talent, and the starting job. It is there for Hunt, and it is there for George McDonald to look like a good play-caller and not just a master recruiter. If Shafer wants to offense to speed up the way he sounded with ESPN, this is the year to do it.
Posted by: Seth Goldberg