Who doesn’t love a good quarterback battle? They are always so fun to track, pick sides, and eventually see who wins. However, QB battles mid-season are not so fun. For the first three games of the Syracuse football season, Tommy DeVito held onto the title of QB1. Against Liberty, though, DeVito didn’t play a snap. It was Garrrett Shrader who orchestrated the offense.
Is this a sign that Dino Babers and Syracuse have finally found their definite starting quarterback? Or did they just go with Shrader because he is a better runner and Liberty’s rush defense was atrocious? Let’s hope its the former.
Here’s the skinny – DeVito is a serviceable quarterback that has shone flashes of greatness, but can never sustain it. He makes quite a bit of mistakes too. Although he may be Babers’ “golden child” by being his first big recruit at SU, DeVito’s days as the starter should be over.
Shrader needs to be Syracuse’s starting quarterback because of his legs. Plain and simple. Through four games, it’s pretty clear that the Orange are a run-first offense. That is their identity. So, lean into it by going with the dual-threat quarterback.
Sure, opposing defenses will know Syracuse is going to run the ball 40-plus times a game and pack the box, but who cares. Shrader’s ability to run paired with Sean Tucker being Sean Tucker is a dangerous combo that not many teams want to see. DeVito can run sometimes, but he’s not close to having Shrader’s abilities. Defenses need to seriously respect the Mississippi State transfer’s legs, which then opens up more opportunities for Tucker.
The downfall of this decision, however, is Shrader’s inability to throw. So, if Syracuse was to ever get down in a game, which we all know will happen at some point this year, and needs to go to the air to get back in it, Shrader isn’t going to be too much help.
After the Liberty game, Shrader admitted his passes were not his best and that he knows he still needs to improve on that. So, at least he is aware. The question just becomes, how much better can he get through the air on a short timeline?
Despite that worry, I am still all aboard the Garrett Shrader train. He fits Syracuse’s identity better. He helps out Tucker and the run game. Plus, he can finish in the red zone, something the Orange struggled with last season.
The pros outweigh the cons. Stop the battle, Garrett Shrader needs to be Syracuse’s starting quarterback.