I'm not on the Syracuse Orange football team. I played one season of organized football in my life. I've never coached a day in my life.
I just watch football. That's the extent of my analysis. Watching football for 26 or so years, most of which on television.
With all of that in mind, here's what I'm fairly sure of. Without Eric Dungey we're probably 1-5 right now.
And I'm the guy who's been telling you pump the brakes on Dungey-mania, mind you.
He hasn't been perfect. He really, really needs to learn how to step out of bounds and/or throw the ball away because at the rate he lets himself get hit, he won't make it to senior year. He's still a freshman making freshman mistakes for sure.
But he's also playing above his pay grade much of the time as well. He's already on a touchdown pace that will rival Ryan Nassib (who himself didn't really get cooking until he was a junior). And he's born leader, prone to getting pissed off at himself for minor mistakes and taking the responsibility for any offensive deficiencies. He doesn't wear a C on his jersey but he's captain material. Six games in and it's already clear that he's the kind of guy we want repping the orange.
He also spends a lot of time saving the asses of offensive coordinator Tim Lester and his offensive line, both of whom have been dubious at best in recent weeks. So maybe those two shouldn't be throwing Dungey under the bus as often as they do.
Lester has been pinning it all on Dungey the last two weeks in interviews, never actually taking any kind of personal blame for bad playcalls, which he has had many. When push came to shove, the problem against USF was Dungey's experience, not his offense. (For his part, Eric is more than happy to accept blame because of course he is).
Following the Virginia loss, Lester was once again more than happy to remind everyone that if Dungey gets hit too many times unnecessary, well, that's his own fault.
"A lot of the hits he takes are when he's hot," Lester said. "We have five guys to block and they bring six. I think there were one or two times when we actually got beat up front (against UVA), but other times it's like, 'Hey Eric, that's the guy we can't block.'""Sometimes you've gotta see it," Lester said of the learning curve. "It's like telling a kid, 'The stove's hot, the stove's hot.' Until they touch the darn thing, they really don't know."
Rob Trudo chimed in as well this week, adding that he thought the offensive line "played ok...a couple inches here, a couple inches there." As far as the times Dungey did get sacked (three) and hit, well, maybe he should have moved faster.
"You always see something that you didn't prepare for, but that's when you become a football player and make a move," Trudo said.
Pray for Eric Dungey and give him your support. Clearly, he needs it.