After coming off its worst campaign since 2005, Syracuse Football is gearing up for a bounce back season. The Orange have a plethora of guys coming back, but the most important position on the field is still up in the air. SU doesn’t have a clear cut starting quarterback right now and that became even more evident this week.
Syracuse announced on Monday the three players it plans on sending to Charlotte, NC for the ACC Football Kickoff, the two day annual media event. Along with Head Coach Dino Babers, the Orange will be represented by defensive lineman Josh Black, wide receiver Taj Harris and offensive lineman Airon Servais.
Those selections make sense for the most part. Black and Servais are veterans coming back for their sixth season. They are seen as the team’s public leaders, being called on to speak with the media more often than their counterparts.
Harris, on the other hand, is a confusing decision. Yes, he is arguably the most talented player on the offensive side of the ball for Syracuse. Yes, he is a fourth-year player and has been around the block. However, he has had non-football, character issues in the past – most notably when he flipped off the camera during a blowout loss last season.
Whether you agree with the selections or not, there is still a glaring omission on Syracuse’s list – quarterback. More specifically, Tommy DeVito.
Of the 14 ACC teams, 13 of them will be bringing a quarterback. Two of them will actually be bringing two QBs. Syracuse is the only team in the conference that will not be represented by the most important player on the roster.
If it isn’t evident by those statistics, not bringing your quarterback isn’t common. In past seasons the ACC has only allowed two players to go to the media days. Back then it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that teams would bring their QB and one defensive representative, usually a linebacker as they are the “quarterback of the defense.”
It also isn’t common for Syracuse not to bring its quarterback. Tommy DeVito has attended the event for the past two years, albeit virtually last season. Now, as a senior and having two seasons under his belt as a starter, he is being benched from the preseason media days.
The only explanation can be that DeVito doesn’t have the starting spot locked up. The decision makes it look like the quarterback battle is 50/50 right now. If DeVito led at all, you would expect Babers to bring him. Even if DeVito was close to leading, you would anticipate Babers bringing him since he is the veteran and earned the opportunity to represent his team at media day. If Mississippi State-transfer Garrett Shrader, who is believed to be the next option, led the battle, you would expect Babers to take him and boost his confidence.
You can make an argument that Babers and co. are choosing not to send a quarterback as a strategic decision to not let the opponents know which guy is going to start. However, that doesn’t make too much sense since the Orange play four non-conference games before they get to their ACC slate.
So, more realistically it seems like the Syracuse coaches don’t know what the heck is going on at the quarterback position right now. Before this announcement, you could assume DeVito led the battle just because he is the incumbent. But now, it seems like the most important position on the field is up for grabs for the Orange.