Marrone may or may not be screaming for more of Ashton Broyld this season. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
I laughed, I'll admit it. Actually, I couldn't help it. It was an honest reaction and totally out of my control. I laughed, nervously, in response to the following question: How's Syracuse football going to do this year?
A co-worker of mine asked me that question. A simple, "Hey, how's your favorite going to do this season?" Still, I couldn't help but to laugh as I answered.
It's not funny like ha-ha funny. I mean, 'How's your team going to do this year?" is certainly not, "An Italian, Irishmen, and caveman walk into a bar (I'm being told that joke is too offensive to Inuits and women to continue...). But, responding to the question still made me laugh. And the only reason I could come up with is because I assumed in asking the question my co-worker already knew the answer. He knows I'm a fan and I know he knows SU football hasn't been 'good' in a long time. The answer was so obvious it was funny, right?
So I guess subconsciously I laughed to divert attention from how disappointed I expect to be this season. I mean, look at the schedule, look at the injuries, look at the injuries (added twice for emphasis). But funny or not, potentially subconsciously disappointed or not, I still think I really am excited. Deep down somewhere, I have that unavoidable enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Every year, August is a time when "there's always next year" meets "I can't wait for this year!" That time is now.
And you know why I think I'm excited (I'm pretty sure I really am)? Two words sum it up: Ashton, Broyld.
He may play quarterback, running back, and wide receiver this coming season. I'm no mathmagician, but that's three positions! Can you remember the last time Syracuse football had a player like that?
So, yeah SU may put up a stinker 4 win season in 2012, but, even as players continue to evolve and the depth chart continues to develop, the thought of Broyld taking over leaves hope that 2012 will be a special year.
I'm not blindly jumping in. I know it's a rare feat to have a frosh take over a college football team. You probably could count on one hand how many players that inexperienced dominate at the BCS level. Still, why not be pumped?
Who cares if Broyld ends up needing a year to get acclimated to his surroundings, if he struggles to play three positions because no one else does, if the team has so many holes Broyld may end up with negative total yards! This is August and we've got a player Doug Marrone, the same Doug Marrone who helped coach the freakin' New Orleans Saints, thinks can run wild on offense.
I'm pumped. I keep telling myself that anyway. OK, a really good Northwestern team is going to be licking its chops to play us September 1, and USC is on the schedule, and SU has to go to Missouri. But the Big East is down and maybe, just maybe, Broyld is a player who could turn what looks like 4 or 5 wins into 7 or 8.
The alternative means another "staycation" in the winter. It means SU will have zero hype going into the ACC. It means Doug Marrone's head will be closer to the chopping block (well, at least in the court of Public Opinion). It really could be more of the same, but where's the fun in thinking that way in August?
I may have laughed in response to the question about how SU will do in 2012, a form of a defense mechanism. But if there's one thing that give me hope, and should do the same for you, is the fact the Orange will deploy something of the rarest athlete, a multi-position player, on its opponents this season.
Hopefully SU and, just as importantly, its fans get the last laugh this year courtesy of Broyld being Broyld.