"Trust" seems to be a theme of Syracuse Orange football this week. At ACC Media Days, quarterback Terrel Hunt told attendees he "trusts the hell out of" Orange offensive coordinator Tim Lester. And now, we find out that there's no one Lester trusts more than new tight ends coach Jake Moreland.
In the first extensive story on Moreland since his arrival at SU, Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey chats with both him and Lester about how they've cultivated a great relationship over the past 20 years. As you already know, it all started back in 1996, when the two players were part of the same Western Michigan backfield. After rewriting the Broncos' record books, both tried their hands at playing professionally before ending up in coaching. As Moreland tells it, though, coaching was no sure thing for him:
"I really didn't want to..." he said when discussing Lester's offer to coach tight ends at Elmhurst College.
"Within the first five minutes that I was on the field coaching, I knew that's what I was supposed to be doing. I fell in love with it."
In a turn that shouldn't surprise you at all given Shafer's own conversations with his former coaching colleagues before arriving at Syracuse, Lester and Moreland shared their own dreams to work together at a higher level of college football too. Said Moreland:
"We always talked about, 'Hey, it would be great if we could get back together and coach someday together. We've talked about that since 2007. Now, we have an opportunity to do that and it's been a lot of fun so far."
The two go on to discuss how Moreland was already in consideration as last season wrapped up and the staff figured OC-turned-WR-coach George McDonald would move on from Syracuse. Once he did, it was an easy call to grab Moreland to replace him. Lester says there's no one he trusts more than Moreland.
Without relegating the entire piece to how their relationship formed, there were some good tidbits on the design of this year's offensive scheme as well. As Bailey points out:
Moreland's knowledge of how versatile players in the tight end room can be used was instrumental in shaping Lester's plans for the hybrids, which are athletic runners and pass-catchers, as well as the 'Y's, more traditionally built tight ends who can be split out.
That should play right into some of the ideas we discussed in this week's receivers/tight ends preview, which discusses how the team might utilize mismatches around the field. For those looking for more on how tight ends may be used this season, well... this is probably how.
Now, here's to hoping this long-standing relationship turns into some great on-the-field production this fall. Please. For me, at the very least?