Ryan Nassib: Next Great Syracuse Gunslinger Or Just A Placeholder

NEW YORK NY - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange gets around a diving tackle by Terrence Sweeney #16 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30 2010 in New York New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

R.J. Anderson, Troy Nunes, Perry Patterson, Joe Fields, Andrew Robinson, Cameron Dantley, Greg Paulus, Ryan Nassib

These are the many Syracuse quarterbacks who have stood behind center since Donovan McNabb. Only Patterson could say he was the undisputed No. 1 quarterback for more than one consecutive season. After '07, we thought Andrew Robinson was on his way to doing the same. Instead, he spent his senior year on the special teams unit. Cam Dantley and Greg Paulus each took a turn for a season before handing the ball off to Ryan Nassib in 2010.

With two season left, Nassib has the chance to be Syracuse's starting quarterback for three consecutive seasons. It's the kind of stability that Orange fans have been waiting for since that McNabb guy left for the NFL.

Question is...by the time he's a senior, will he still be the starter?

Heading into the Pinstripe Bowl, you wouldn't have been blamed for thinking Nassib might not be "the guy." The question was, was Nassib not able to handle it, was it his offensive line or was it just the play-calling. By the time the Pinstripe was over, everyone seems on board with the idea of Ryan leading the charge for years to come. If Nassib is good enough to show the moments of brilliance he had in 2010, how good could he be by 2012 with another season under his belt?

Then again...John Kinder and Jonny Miller didn't come here to hold clipboards for three years, did they? Word on the street is that Kinder impressed with his arm and his speed. Meanwhile, Miller was recruited because he has a cannon attached to his shoulder and he seems to have worked out the kinks that plagued him in camp. If Nassib plays out his career as the starter, Kinder will have one year of eligibility left by then, Miller two. It's fairly common, but that doesn't mean they're going to accept it.

And then there's Terrel Hunt, who's specifically coming to Syracuse to play quarterback. The young man is looking at a lot of time on the pine if the current situation holds. Again, it happens all the time. But is he going to sit idly by with everyone else?

(Hey, what about Charley Loeb? Well...Charley looks good, right? Ridiculously-good. That's what's important.)

The key, it seems, for Nassib to keep his job, is going to be two-fold. How does he improve his decision-making and how does he improve his proficiency.

The first part is self-explanatory. At times, Nassib's decision-making was suspect and that's putting it lightly. A lot of that had to do with his offensive line breaking down quickly and it didn't help that he was never able to drop back into shotgun. But the fact remains, when that does happen and he needs to act quick, Nassib's going to have to make better decisions. That should come with experience, but, that's what we thought about Andrew Robinson too.

The second part is revealed in the quarterback numbers during the Doug Marrone Era. We only have two QBs to go off of but they reveal a lot.

Nassib broke a Syracuse record this season with 358 attempts. That obliterated the previous record of 310. Nassib also broke a Cuse record with 202 completions. The record he beat? Greg Paulus', who threw 193 completions in '09.

In other words, Doug Marrone quarterbacks are going to pass. A lot. More than quarterbacks have ever passed the football at Syracuse University before. And if Ryan Nassib is going to keep his spot atop PassingFancy Hill, he's going to have to complete more of them. Nassib's completion percentage in 2010 was 56.4%. Greg Paulus' percentage was 67.7%. Remember how much Doug Marrone liked that about Paulus? He's always going to love that and he's always going to demand it.

We know Kinder and Miller have arms (duh, Sean, of course they have arms). But do they have accuracy? If so, Nassib better watch his back.

True, Ryan didn't get a lot of help from his receivers. They dropped more passes than I can remember. But they'll be improving in 2011. Especially if Marcus Sales keeps this up. Sales-Chew-Lemon is going to be a formidable trio and that's not even including the young guns on their way up. The drops should go away and then its the QBs problem when something goes wrong.

So will Ryan Nassib be the starter in 2011? Probably? I think we have to assume that until something happens to tell us otherwise. How bout 2012? Hard to say at the moment. Lots of variables ahead. In the meantime however, it's nice to see a Syracuse quarterback with the possibility of being a three-year starter. It doesn't happen often.

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