The Syracuse Orange enter the 2013 season with change hurtling at them in every direction.
- Thanks to the madness that is conference realignment, Syracuse will begin their new lives as ACC members in 2013. They were given no favors as they'll start off conference play with Clemson at home and travel to Florida State for a mid-November matchup.
- Former head coach Doug Marrone, who lifted Syracuse out of the pit that the team was thrown into and left for dead in during the Greg Robinson era, is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills (Go Bills!). Marrone's defensive coordinator Scott Shafer now takes the reins of a team that has posted eight-win seasons in two of the last three years.
- Finally, Ryan Nassib leaves upstate New York as the school's all-time passing leader as well as breaking many of Donovan McNabb's single-season records with his 3,891 yards of total offense in 2012 which led to become a fourth-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Now, the question becomes, who leads this team into the face of change from the quarterback position? History seems to be repeating itself as sophomore Terrel Hunt seemingly won the job out of spring camp, but a fifth-year transfer in quarterback Drew Allen has come in to all but end the discussion who will lead the Orange offense come August 31st. The same thing happened four years ago as a 19-year-old Nassib was the presumed starter until former Duke point guard Greg Paulus decided that he wanted to throw the rock around a bit and came and took the job from Nassib's grasp.
Allen never got his shot at Oklahoma although he was a big-time high school recruit coming out of San Antonio, probably due to the fact that he came to Norman at the same time as Sam Bradford and Landry Jones. Allen stands 6-foot-5 with a big arm, a prototypical quarterback if you had ever seen one. Jordan from SB Nation's Oklahoma blog Crimson and Cream Machine was able to provide a quick scouting report of the Texas native:
He's a guy with a strong arm who can make all the throws a quarterback needs to make. While he'll never be confused for a run-first type of quarterback, he is a much better athlete than people seem to give him credit for so he's capable of pulling the ball down and picking up a first down with his legs if needed. The obvious "what if" with Allen is how he responds under the lights and having to run an offense after really only having the opportunity to do so during practices for the majority of his college career.
In talking with those who know the Syracuse fanbase and program, there isn't anyone who believes that Allen won't end up taking the first Sryacuse snap from MetLife in August. No matter who wins the job, though, Sean Keeley of the Syracuse SB Nation faction says that they'll have enough offensive weapons to make things a bit easier for them as they ease into the starter's role for the first time.
Allen's motivated to prove that he's NFL-capable so while he has not been promised the starting gig, you better believe he chose SU because he thinks he can win it. He'll have some decent weapons to work with in WR Jarrod West, TE Beckett Wales and a loaded backfield featuring Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and George Morris II.
On the slim chance that Terrel Hunt wins the job, it changes the entire look of the offense. He doesn't have the arm of Allen but he's got a lot of speed and an ability to open up the offense on the ground more. Hunt was a good manager in the spring game, spreading the ball around and proving he's comfortable with WR West and running the offense. The good news for him is that, even if he's not the starter this year, he's almost certainly the clubhouse leader to have the job in 2014.
While they have been down in the past, Syracuse is certainly not the FCS lamb or MACrifice that Penn State fans are used to seeing from season openers past. Having the Orange breaking in a new quarterback should cushion the impact of the ramp-up in talent to those previous cupcakes, however. Still, on August 31st, Penn State should be ready for anything, including the possibility of a steady dose of Allen being broken up by the change-of-pace talents exhibited by Hunt. It is certainly a game, and a quarterback situation, that Nittany Lion fans shouldn't overlook.
For more information on Syracuse, head over to Syracuse SB Nation blog Troy Nunes Is A Magician.
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