The news of Greg Paulus' potential return to football has the national and local media, as well as the blogosphere in a tizzy. On Monday if someone told me that Greg Paulus would be dominating headlines I would have mocked them, but hey, it's a strange world we're living in. I mean, who would have thought that a fit Danny Ainge would suffer a heart attack, yet obese John Madden feels just fine as he rides off into retirement?
In regards to Paulus, I've heard some sentiment from SU fans and bloggers that they don't want him - which makes no sense to me. IF Paulus wants to come to Syracuse and if the coaching staff determines he's still got some ability, they should absolutely bring him in. There's absolutely ZERO downside to doing so.
Right now there are 2 quarterbacks on the roster and a third, true freshman Charley Loeb, won't arrive until August. Ideally you'd like to redshirt Loeb, so the team is basically headed into the season with 2 functional QBs. So from a depth perspective alone, there's a need. Plus, without an additional QB on the roster, there's a chance Loeb could be forced into action this year, meaning he and current starter Ryan Nassib would be in the same class eligibility wise, and ideally you'd like a year separating them.
In terms of existing talent at the position, that is thin as well. The current starter, redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib has thrown the same about of college passes as Greg has - zero - so we're not dealing with a known quantity right now. I like Cameron Dantley, but he had ample opportunity to prove last year that he could consistently get the job done, and that didn't happen. So Paulus represents the POTENTIAL to upgrade the talent on a team coming off a 2-10 year -- and SU isn't in a position to be turning away talent.
I also do not believe bringing Paulus would hurt the development of Nassib. It's not like Marrone is just going to hand the reigns of the team to guy who hasn't played a down of football since 2005. If Paulus beats out Nassib it means we have a better player manning the most important position on the field and a promising young guy waiting in the wings who will have 3 years of eligibility left. Nassib can continue to get better in practice and I'm sure there will be chances to get him some game action.
If Paulus doesn't beat out Nassib, it means we've got one more guy to call on should the need arise. It's not like Paulus is some bad character guy. He's on track to graduate with honors from Duke, and the last time I checked, that was pretty impressive.
Maybe people don't like the Duke connection, or the fact that he flops all over the basketball court, or the fact that he didn't choose SU 4 years ago. I have some advice for those people - get over it.
Look, I hate Duke as much as the next guy - actually probably more. There's nothing more aggravating than listening to Dick Vitale cover Coach K and the vaunted Duke program in big wet sloppy kisses (let that visual image set in for a minute). I hate Duke so much it's actually fun to root against them - in anything. If I saw the Duke badminton playing, I'd root against them, but at the end of the day, this is about a talented player showing up on Syracuse's doorstep and potentially making the team better.
I have no idea if he can play, or if he represents an upgrade at the position. It's not like there's a lot of precedent for a guy taking 4 years off and playing football again. But my point is, it doesn't hurt to find out. Greg Paulus is the $20 bill you find in your jeans pocket after doing the laundry. You don't throw it because it didn't spend enough time in the wallet with the rest your cash. You spend it.
If Greg Paulus wants to come to Syracuse for a year - let's throw out the welcome mat, because it won't cost a thing.