Syracuse football's 2015 spring practices have already at the Ensley Athletic Center. And as we prepare ourselves for another season, we'll spend some time previewing everything that matters on and off field for the Orange. Today's topic:
Questions at Quarterback
Who's on campus?
Mostly the same cast of characters (minus Mitch Kimble) from last year's QB bacchanal. Terrel Hunt has returned healthy after last year's fractured fibula and is taking first-team reps under center. A.J. Long, who was a bit banged-up himself at the end of 2014, is the primary challenger to Hunt, though still largely considered in second place. From there, Austin Wilson -- who also saw the field -- will slot in third, followed by preferred walk-on Zach Mahoney, who's the only relative unknown for fans at the position right now given the outbreak of injuries last fall.
Who's arriving this summer?
The class of 2015 brings too additional names into the mix, for a total of six QBs on the roster. Eric Dungey is a speedy dual-threat passer from Oregon who is HIGHLY likely to redshirt this fall. Same goes for Alabama product Kenterius Womack, a big runner who can throw the ball well and spent time in high school playing both sides of the field.
Where's Alin Edouard?
Syracuse's long-time "QB of the future" will be going the JUCO route this fall, suiting up for Garden City (KS) Community College. Doesn't mean he ISN'T coming to Syracuse at some point. Just means not now. And that he's not really tied to attend SU anymore if that's just not his prerogative after some time in Kansas.
So how's Hunt faring so far?
The Daily Orange has a whole lot of feedback from the redshirt senior QB, including some soreness when he runs still (we're not concerned about that, right?), as well as notes about how he's grown a lot mentally since his injury in the fall. He also told Syracuse.com's Nate Mink he wanted to be known as a pocket passer "like Russel Wilson," which I commend, though it's going to take time. As we all know, Hunt's passing has never really been his forte -- relying on his bruising running style to both pick up yardage and keep defenses off-balance as they're forced to keep a spy home on him.
There's a chance that his goal there is assisted by Tim Lester's offense, however. With two-tight end sets, and a glut of potential pass-catchers (we'll get to them in the coming weeks), it would seem that the new offense could actually provide him with more safety valves and some quicker reads. Through last season, Hunt's deep ball had improved, but was still a last resort as opposed to ill-advised bubble screens that made up the large majority of former OC George McDonald's offensive strategy (check-downs or not).
Any chance Long challenges?
It really depends on just how "sore" that leg is from Hunt, and whether or not Long's been able to add a bit of bulk (while not slowing himself down any). Hunt's being given every opportunity to keep his job early on, and right now we can consider it "his." But if Hunt fails to really grasp the first half of the offense this spring, we could see Long get his shot. I don't expect it, however I also didn't expect to see five different players throw the football for Syracuse last year (shout out to you, Riley Dixon!). So, we'll see, I suppose...
And what of Austin Wilson?
If he's left in the dust by Hunt and Long this year, perhaps he starts looking elsewhere. But given the state of this offensive line, an offensive scheme in flux and the squad's injury rate of late, he might want to stick around. For now, he'll be best served observing and proving himself when he has a chance to show his stuff within the offense this spring.
Sure, it may appear like things are status quo, but despite the lack of a depth chart shake-up, this is still a position worth keeping an eye out for as the spring wears on. Hunt has the job now, but as we saw last year, it can also disappear. And with a new offense in place, it's even more of a chance (and a reason, honestly) to give everyone a shot to see what sticks best.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know below.