If we go by Now You See Me‘s philosophy of “the closer you look, the less you see,” then there absolutely is a QB competition. But here’s the catch- the competition is for who sits at #2, #3, #4, and so on behind Garrett Shrader, who is slotted in as QB1 for the 2023 season as he should be. Let’s put it to rest right here and right now. There should be no doubt as to who will be under center (for the first half at least) when Syracuse hosts Colgate on September 2.
Though ridiculed, when Shrader was healthy last season, he was effective for the most part. In Syracuse’s first five games, the Mississippi ST transfer had a sparkling 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while adding five scores on the ground as well. As the toll of a long season got to Shrader, his performance diminished (Notre Dame and Florida State ring a bell?), but when he was 100%, he gave SU a chance to win every game. You can’t harp on that enough.
You also shouldn’t expect to see a drastically different game plan for the quarterbacks this season. Even though the Orange have a new offensive coordinator, we won’t see much change. Jason Beck was under Robert Anae’s watchful eye at Virginia, and now that the latter has bolted for Raleigh, Beck gets his chance to run the show. That said, expect to see a lot of what Anae instilled in the offense on the field in September because he and Beck have been together for so long. Familiarity plays a big role in football, and Shrader is pretty familiar with this offense.
Now let’s look at who could theoretically usurp Shrader. Justin Lamson? He has the makings of an excellent run-and-gun quarterback, but after missing the entirety of 2022 with a torn ACL, he’s got a steep hill to climb. And as impressive as his spring game performances have been, it’s a spring game. Carlos Del Rio-Wilson? When he saw the field against Notre Dame and Pitt last year, it wasn’t exactly an inspiring performance. He’s very athletic, but had no clue how to fully utilize that athleticism and looked out of sync with the receivers. Not a recipe for success. While Lamson and Del Rio-Wilson have high upside, it shouldn’t be enough to steal the starting job.
Is Shrader perfect? No, but who do you want running the offense, prime Tom Brady? He’s not walking through that door anytime soon. Unless Shrader goes out and lays a pair of eggs against Colgate and Western Michigan to start the season, there should be no quarterback change anytime soon.