Ever since taking over as the starting QB for Syracuse, Greg Paulus has been impressive. How impressive? He's apparently opening his eyes and looking at things!
"Very impressive. I can say it right now, he can see the field. When something breaks down, he can see the field, he can make quick decisions, very impressed."
Was that all it took? Relatively good vision and the ability to identify grass? So many years wasted worrying about reads and coverage and plays.
Most positions are giving HCDM the night terrors, especially the offensive line and linebacker. But over in the backfield, he's got an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.
"I could play any one of those guys," Marrone said. "I really could. I'm happy with them. There will be a position for them. Obviously, the one that is playing the best is Delone Carter. Antwon Bailey is playing well. He has a little nagging injury but he'll be fine. He'll be playing tomorrow. Averin Collier is starting to come along well. He's coming away from some nagging injuries. But Michael Jones has been a surprise for me. I mean, I'll be honest with you."
Marrone seemed downright giddy discussing Mike Jones in his presser. Expect to see the 4th horseman returning kicks. Perhaps alongside Donte Davis, who has been named the 1st-string punt returner.
At the O-line, Dougers has his concerns. None more so that at the backup center spot. Jim McKenzie seems to have established himself as the cornerstone of the line but who's going to be there to back him up? Ryan Bartholomew, who has returned from an apparent concussion, is getting snaps again. Tucker Baumbach has also stepped in and done a "tremendous" job, but expect "Bart" to get the nod once he's back to full-strength.
Speaking of McKenzie, he and Arthur Jones seem to be Syracuse's top preseason candidates for the award circuit. It can only help both of them that when they line up in practice, they're constantly going against each other. Marrone couldn't be happier:
"You see both Arthur and Jim as national post-season award candidates because they battle every day," said head coach Doug Marrone. "In Jim’s case, when you play against Arthur Jones, that's going to make you a better center. From Arthur’s perspective, playing someone as tenacious as Jim makes him better because Jim McKenzie loves the game. In my opinion he plays it the way it should be played. Arthur Jones isn't going to have a free pass at every rep, Jim is going to go hard every single rep. I think that's why they are in the position they are."
Finally, once again Doug Marrone was asked about the WR position and once again he had nothing great to add. Though, once again, he did mention Alec Lemon by name and before the rest of the WRs.
"In the scrimmage (on Saturday), I thought that Alec Lemon played well. I thought Van Chew played well. We're still looking at Marcus Sales, Donte Davis, Da'Mon Merkerson, Lavar Lobdell, who are going to be the guys that we can go into a game with, the four or five guys and what positions they're going to be."
The answer: clone Mike Williams.