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Syracuse football: Garrett Shrader’s pitch count can help the Orange down the road

Let’s not hit the panic button yet

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We know Syracuse Orange fans are desperate for a season when the Orange’s starting quarterback is able to start all 12 regular season games.

That’s why we understand that hearing news that Garrett Shrader will start camp “on a pitch count” isn’t how you want to welcome the 2023 season. After off-season elbow surgery, it sounds like Dino Babers and the staff are being cautious as they ramp up preparation for the season.

In the short term, you probably don’t want that to be the case, but it’s not the worst-case scenario. Shrader worked with Jason Beck last season. He was around spring practices for installation of any variations Beck has on the Anae/Beck offense from last season. Not rushing Shrader back is the prudent decision, and not forcing him to play into the second half against Colgate would be ideal.

Shrader’s limited reps opens up more time with the first-team offense for both Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and Braden Davis. CDRW split reps in the spring with Justin Lamson and he’s likely the next man up so the more he can develop his grasp of the offense and rapport with his receivers, the better. That’s for this season (just in case) and thinking about 2024.

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal Jerry Habraken / USA TODAY NETWORK

Davis didn’t get to Syracuse until this summer so the time he’ll get during camp will benefit his transition. It’ll also help the staff start to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both quarterbacks. With Shrader moving on after the season, the 2024 quarterback competition kicks off now.

Dino Babers has watched key players suffer injuries in the second half of games against FCS opponents and he’d be wise to be very cautious during this year’s opener. By slowly working in Shrader during camp and the opener, he could help the Orange avoid some of the last-season struggles that have plagued the program. It could also help Syracuse make the transition to a new quarterback a smoother process heading into 2024. CDRW and Davis offer tantalizing size and high school pedigree, getting them ready to be ACC starters will be critical for a Syracuse program looking to establish consistency.