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Syracuse Football: Terrel Hunt & The Quest For Eight-Plus

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I just want us to win eight-plus games. I want us to go in and demolish everyone."

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Terrel Hunt entered the 2014 Syracuse Orange football season as the undisputed starting quarterback. His play was spotty but never bad enough to lose grip on that starting job. When he was injured, however, it opened the door for Austin Wilson and AJ Long to prove themselves worthy instead.

They didn't.

Long showed the most promise to be Hunt's usurper but he's been redshirted for 2015, something he was supposed to have done last year until the injury forced him into action. That means Terrel enters the 2015 season as the undisputed starting quarterback once again.

What's going to make this year different for him?

Good question, huh?

Are you just stalling cause you don't know, Sean?

Yep.

The underlying difference between Hunt and Long last year was Hunt's perceived recklessness vs. Long's ability to understand how the game is played off the field. While Hunt was trying a little too hard to seem confident, Long would use his opportunities to actually inspire confidence. That doesn't necessarily make Long better than Hunt, but when added to the lackluster performances, made a good portion of Orange fans turn on the veteran signal-caller and look to the future instead.

Hunt's hoping George Whitfield will help him make Orange fans forget they ever wanted that. Some would call Whitfield a QB guru while others would call him "that guy who chases QBs around with a broom for no reason." While there are plenty of QBs he's trained that have gone on to do well (Andrew Luck), he's got plenty on the roster who haven't (Johnny Manziel). The question is, does the service Whitfield provides really do anything at the end of the day? Some say yes, some say no.

Regardless, Hunt's decided the best thing for him is scrounge up his own money and spend six days working on everything that could turn a good QB into a great one. When it was all said and done, both Whitfield and Hunt think it made a difference:

At the end of the week, Hunt said Whitfield told him he's "going to surprise a lot of people this year" and is "going to be remembered."

"I think I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year," Hunt said. "That's me personally. That's how every quarterback should be thinking.

Something else Hunt seems to be working on? His workouts. A recent photo of his raised pecs raised some eyebrows and drives home just how much work Hunt is putting into the upcoming season.

As he pushed forward with his rehabilitation, Hunt worried he might gain weight, so he made the choice to change his diet. He cut out soda and junk food, replacing them with grilled chicken, eggs and almonds.

For those, like myself, who felt like Terrel Hunt's head wasn't in the game last season, it looks like we can put those concerns to bed. Now all he has to do is transfer all of this training, all of these workouts and all of this practice into winning football games.

"Right now, I just want us to win eight-plus games," Hunt said. "I want us to go in and demolish everyone.

"I don’t want to be an average team."

Terrel is saying all of the right things about that. But translating all of this into football wins, well, that's easier said than done.