When we last saw Syracuse Orange quarterback Eric Dungey, he was knocked out of the Louisville game (and the season) after a very hard hit in garbage time. That player was lighter, more prone to taking hits and quick to take off with the football out of the backfield. This version of Dungey? Seems like the exact opposite.
After this morning's first spring practice, the sophomore passer talked to attending media. The Daily Orange's Matt Schneidman captured his comments in an insightful post today. The biggest takeaway, from Dungey himself:
"With this new offense I’m not really taking the load as I did last year. I’m not going to be running nearly as much."
That's predictable, and also a relief to the many Syracuse fans that watched the talented (but at times, reckless) QB electrify and terrify the Carrier Dome in his freshman season. While his fearless, run-prone attack certainly generated plenty of excitement, it also created a fear for his safety and long-term career prospects. That hasn't seemed to faze him, however. Regarding the greater impact of another hit to the head:
"I never really thought about that. I think it’s more talk and rumors…I’m 100 percent healthy and I’m looking forward to this season."
Even with less running, he'll still be asked to lift a larger load for Dino Babers's up-tempo offense. And to prepare, he's been very busy in the weight room over the last few months. The 6-foor-3 QB was 202 pounds last year. This spring, he's already weighing in at 216 and has a goal of getting to 225 by the time September rolls around. Attending media and his teammates, including Steve Ishmael (below) have taken note:
"I mean have you seen it, he’s huge! I’m like, man I’m jealous of you. He’s going to be able to take a lot more hits."
Well, hopefully he's not taking more hits, Steve... but it's good to know he's building a frame that can at least withstand them a bit better than last year.
Babers has not named a starting quarterback this spring or for the 2016 season yet. But Dungey would appear to be the favorite until proven otherwise. The new Syracuse coach seemed impressed with what he saw this morning, even if it is just day one of spring ball. We'll continue to watch Dungey's development in this new offense closely in the coming weeks. His early aptitude could go a long way toward determining the Orange's trajectory in year one of this new regime.