If you’ve been going through Syracuse sports withdrawal over the past few weeks, never fear. The Fizz is here to wish our readers a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. ‘Cuse sports start up again tomorrow with a men’s basketball game against Brown, but SU football stirred up some exciting news today.
This afternoon, it was announced that former Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae (pictured, above) and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck have been reportedly hired by Syracuse. The hirings have yet to be finalized, but reputable reporting leads us to believe they’re legitimate. The two have been tied to Syracuse for the past week, and they’d be the latest assistant coaches to depart Virginia after head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s resignation and the team’s Fenway Bowl cancellation. Just hope these two don’t welch the same way former defensive coordinator Zach Arnett did.
Anae and Beck would be a boon for Syracuse and its largely one-dimensional offense that ranked last in the ACC in passing yards per game in 2021. Any blame heaped on ‘Cuse’s point-producing in 2021 (10th/14 ACC in PPG) likely shouldn’t be placed on the players or even Dino Babers. Former offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was an objective failure, but he has since been relieved of his duties. Anae and Beck now arrive as a package deal with a track record of success.
Prior to UVA, Anae has coaching experience dating back to 1986 including an early stop at Hawaii – Dino Babers’ alma mater. Beck played quarterback at BYU in the mid-2000s before coaching stops at Brigham Young, Weber State, and Simon Fraser.
Anae and Beck thrived together during Mendenhall’s UVA tenure. Over a six-year span, the team amassed a 36-38 record (including a 2-10 first season dud) with three bowl appearances, but the team put up impressive offensive numbers every season. Prior to Anae and Beck’s arrival, UVA had played 126 seasons of football and never had a 3,000 yard passer. Since 2016, they’ve had three different players accomplish the feat. Functioning within Anae’s up-tempo spread offense, junior southpaw Brennan Armstrong rewrote UVA’s passing records and set program marks for single-season passing yardage and total yardage last season. Prior to Armstrong, dual-threat QB Bryce Perkins powered the Cavs all the way to the 2019 ACC Championship Game.
This is all great news for Babers and incumbent SU quarterback Garrett Shrader. Shrader proved last season that he’s a capable Division I quarterback, but he showed his limitations and frequently looked uncomfortable throwing the football. ‘Cuse didn’t make an effort to secure another quarterback in the transfer portal or recruiting trail, and the only viable alternative might be sophomore JaCobian Morgan, who is still unproven. Shrader is here to stay, but he’ll now be under the tutelage of dual-threat quarterback whisperers.
Both Anae and Beck are intriguing offensive minds, and there’s reason for legitimate excitement if they come North to SU. Syracuse already has a strong option game with Shrader and All-American running back Sean Tucker. The team is trying to improve upon its 5-7 record and reach a bowl, and hiring new offensive minds to jumpstart a struggling unit is a strong step toward that goal.