The information coming out of Syracuse Orange football spring practice has slowed to a bit of a trickle of late. As widespread change gives way to adjusting to the new normal, we're left with small observations in the lead-up to April's spring game.
Today presented a few of those, by way of Syracuse.com's Nate Mink. First, the depth chart is constantly fluctuating and according to Dino Babers, it's unlikely to be truly settled until the first game. Second, Coach Babers has little to do with non-conference scheduling. Though "someone" does. As he explained, briefly:
"They come by my office every blue moon and say either A or B. If they want my opinion I give it to them. If not, that's their job."
I have questions:
- Who's "they?"
- I'll volunteer to be "they" for free.
- Who was "A" in this case? Was that Alabama? Oh God...
- Who was "B" in this case? Was that just referring to the Crimson Tide as "Bama?" Bowling Green, maybe?
More on this at some later date. Hoping these questions mean that things are happening behind the scenes and we can finally put an end to the gaping holes in the 2017 and 2018 schedules (among others).
But back to the feedback from Babers, and specifically the title of this article. The comparison between Eric Dungey and Seattle Seahwks QB Russell Wilson is a good one from Babers, showing a player that uses his legs to move the chains while not sacrificing throwing the football. Wilson has actually improved steadily in terms of throwing the ball -- accuracy, yardage and touchdowns have gone up over the course of four seasons -- and he still runs for over 500 yards per season. All of this without injury, which is an additional plus.
Dungey could obviously throw the football last year, but with a faster offense in place for 2016 and a mandate to run less (and when doing so, running smarter) will put more pressure on him to succeed in that facet of the game. Without a boatload of designed runs to leave him dead-to-rights, that's one way to reduce the hits he'll take. Quicker reads will be another, as we saw when he made adjustments mid-season last year.
"When you think about Russell Wilson and what he's been able to do and keep himself healthy compared to like RGIII, I think it's a geat indicator, it's a good lesson for quarterbacks who are active and they want to bring their feet into the game."
He's right, though I'd also point out that while Wilson avoids getting banged up too much while running the football, he gets sacked plenty. Despite the Seahawks working to solidify the line before last fall, he still took 45 sacks over the course of the year -- the most he's had since entering the league. Wilson has actually averaged 41 sacks per year (over 2.5 per game) since he entered the league.
That completion percentage is worth looking at, however. After floating between 63 and 64 percent completed passes for the first three years of his career, Wilson jumped up to 68 percent in 2015. You don't expect a leap of that magnitude for Dungey, necessarily. But with quicker reads and a faster offense, building from last year's 59.7 percent to something around 63 or 64 isn't out of the question at all.
Ultimately, Dungey will be Dungey. Not Russell Wilson or Donovan McNabb or any other quarterback that's ever shown off some mobility. So there will be different wrinkles to his game just like there are other, different wrinkles for those players. But if all Dungey takes away from watching Wilson's tape is "get hit less," that's a step in the right direction.