After JaCobian Morgan’s 7-7, 57 yard and a touchdown debut in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse fans may be in favor of starting the true freshmen. After all, he scored one of SU’s two touchdowns against the Demon Deacons in his only offensive drive.
Rex Culpepper had another mediocre performance, throwing for just 85 yards and a touchdown, to go along with two interceptions. Postgame, Babers shot down any quarterback controversy, saying that Morgan didn’t have to deal with any blitzes, or make any pre-snap checks on offense. In Syracuse’s final drive, Wake Forest also was playing deep coverage to prevent big plays. That allowed Morgan to make easy passes around the field.
Of course Babers isn’t going to allude to a quarterback controversy, even if there was an open competition in practice. That doesn’t help him, or his team. He is also right in saying that Morgan had a relatively easy opportunity against a second-string Wake defense. There wasn’t a play Morgan made that Culpepper couldn’t have made.
But at this point, sitting at 1-7, Syracuse should be focused on development. Culpepper, a redshirt senior, isn’t the answer for SU at quarterback. Maybe Morgan is. Maybe it’s incoming freshman Justin Lamson.
However, as head coach, Babers isn’t in a position to put in a first-year quarterback, if they aren’t outperforming Culpepper in practice. He could tell fans and the media that Morgan is practicing better, but his team will know if that’s true or not.
If Culpepper is the best option, but Babers puts him on the bench, he risks losing the trust of his players. By throwing in the towel on the season, Babers loses the confidence of veterans like Josh Black and Airon Servais. A couple of weeks ago, Servais commented on how great it was to see Culpepper get a shot to play after battling testicular cancer.
Losing the trust of players is a worst case scenario for any coach. While SU is in the midst of its worst start since 2008, players have not shown frustration with Babers. Fine, maybe outside of Taj Harris. And perhaps more importantly, recruits aren’t decommitting.
If players start to show an inclination of wanting a change at quarterback, then Babers has nothing to worry about. Maybe after the latest beatdown, that change will come against Boston College. But for now, fans may just have to accept that Culpepper will be taking snaps under center.