There are many concerns for Greg Paulus before he steps on the field for the first time next Saturday. Chief among them are how he handles the pressure, how crisp his passes are, how mobile he is in the pocket and how well he can manage the offense. These are all things he's been working on during practice, fine-tuning in preparation of the real thing. There's one thing he hasn't been working on, however, and won't experience until the first time it happens in an actual game. It's extremely likely to happen in the Minnesota game, sooner than we all might think. That is...
Take a booming shot from defender that knocks him on his ass and rings a bell in his head so loud his parents can hear it.
Paulus said Wednesday night he's been knocked around a bit in practice but is not concerned that he's yet to take any serious licks from defenders.
"I've been hit a little bit, but nothing to run off and say stuff about."
Greg, I can assure you that you will be hit a lot bit in the next few weeks. And you will want to run off and say stuff about it. I just hope you have the intestinal fortitude to handle it.
Of course, once he's on the ground, that's a place Greg is very comfortable with as the Three Idiots remind us. If anyone knows how to fall and not get hurt...it's Greg.
One guy on the team who's been helping Paulus get used to the starting quarterback role is a guy who doesn't even play quarterback. Least not anymore.
"I guess it's a little bit of a different relationship, but [Andrew Robinson's] been great ever since I got here. Since day one, he's always been, hey if you see this, this might happen. He's always in my ear just giving me little pieces of advice. I'm going to take any advice I can get and try to use the guys who have a lot of experience and just try to learn from them."
Overall, the Orange are ""a tougher football team" than how Doug Marrone found them in the spring. Though, HCDM does warn that a lot of the younger players are still getting their maturity in check. Look out for some late hits and unnecessary roughness calls from the frosh. Then again, if it happens once, I have a feeling HCDM & Co. will make sure it never happens again.
It was important for Dougers that the Orange get used to playing in the Dome and he's been very happy with the way the team has adjusted.
"As a former player here, I believe I know a lot more than most people about playing games there and how hard it was for me and [Coach MacPherson] back then. We did a lot of work in the Dome. We conditioned in the Dome. and our off-season workouts were in the Dome quite a bit, so I knew it was a tough venue to play. I knew that I wanted to make sure our players were conditioned for it and it is something that we can use as we talk to our players as an advantage."
Finally, Mike Couzens of The Orange Fizz has a great one-on-one with new kicker Jake Smith. Jake talks about his very quick recruiting process, where else he had walk-on offers (other Big East schools), how he grew up a Syracuse basketball fan and how excited he is to play for the Orange. And about those other Big East schools who kinda-recruited him...
"I'm not very pleased with (those schools) so I'll let them remain nameless."
Chip. Shoulder. Big East rivals. I like it.