Here's what we know...
1. Terrel Hunt was the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Syracuse Orange headed into the 2014 season. He hasn't played great but he was also saddled with George McDonald's offense. He broke his leg during the Louisville game and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks from that point.
2. A.J. Long won the starting quarterback job in Hunt's absence, outplaying Austin Wilson and putting up the best performance by a true freshman in his first SU start ever. With Wilson injured and Mitch Kimble untested, it is almost certainly his job until Hunt returns.
3. If the timeline works out, as expected, Terrel Hunt will be ready to play again after the November bye week with Pittsburgh and Boston College remaining.
4. Syracuse has four games between now and then.
Your hypothetical considerations, if you choose to accept them, are...
- Let's assume A.J. Long plays well and leads Syracuse to a 3-1 record over the next month, putting SU back in bowl contention.
- Let's assume Long and the other offensive players are clicking in a way we haven't seen all season.
- Let's assume Tim Lester's offense is humming, or at least resembles something akin to humming.
Your hypothetical question is...
If Terrel Hunt is healthy and ready to go, do you automatically re-install him as the starter or do you let A.J. Long ride the momentum out?
The way I see it, you've got three options.
1. Give Terrel his job back. He deserves a shot to work in Lester's offense and prove his capability. Besides, he shouldn't lose his job because he was injured. That's weak sauce.
2. Let A.J. keep the starting job. You ride the momentum and you ride it until you die. Don't mess with what's working, especially considering how badly things weren't working before. Also, if we're in this position, that means switching gears with the OC mid-season was a great move, proving that going off-script isn't always a bad thing.
3. Let them play it out against Pitt. Long's playing well enough that it'd be silly to bench him. But Terrel deserves a shot, you owe him that. Give him a couple drives and see what he can do. Ride the hot hand during the game and make your decisions from there.
If I force myself to answer...oh man, I gotta say you ride A.J. Long's momentum and stick with him. You only worry about those two games and getting to a bowl. Terrel can have the chance to win back his starting job in the spring. But if you're telling me that Long has led us to a 5-5 record with two games left, I'm sorry, I gotta stick with the one who got me there. But that's just me.
How bout you?