We are just about two weeks away from the Syracuse Orange kicking off their 2011 season against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons under the great teflon bubble known as the Carrier (for life) Dome. Putting aside our feelings on the plethora of weeknight home games this year (hint - we like these as much as Ron Paul likes the Federal Reserve) we are excited about the fact that the season is almost here.
To get ready, over the coming two weeks we'll be doing a series of posts previewing the team, on a unit by unit basis. Well, actually I will, since I haven't even run this idea by Champ and just decided to start writing tonight. Look at the bright side, even though I'm making this crap up on the fly, if it sucks it's not like we've got a NY Times paywall that charges you to read site.
So, without further adieu, let's kick off The 3 Idiots official football preview looking at:
Led by junior starter Ryan Nassib, the Orange return 3 guys who were in the program last year (good luck at a JUCO Johnny Miller) and athletic freshman Terrel Hunt. The unit has adequate depth, but no real experience should Nassib go down.
Pre-Season Depth Chart (year listed by eligibility)
- Ryan Nassib (Jr)
- Charley Loeb (Soph)
- Jonathan Kinder (RF)
- Terrel Hunt (F)
Most likely none, although you get the feeling that Kinder has an outside shot a supplanting Loeb, especially if Nassib goes down for any extended period of time.
In his first year as a starter, Ryan Nassib had a solid season in 2010, marked by a late-season swoon that had as much to do with shaky pass protection and a lack of receiving threats as his own struggles. He rebounded nicely to play an excellent game in the Pinstripe Bowl. While he struggled at times with accuracy and did show some happy feet in the pocket, overall he did a better job than he generally gets credit for.
We don't much about Loeb, other than a few end of the game hand offs, but right now the best case scenario for him is the Todd Philcox career plan - stay in the system for 4 years, win the spot as a 5th year senior and try and take advantage of it.
Reports indicate Kinder and Hunt are athletic mobile quarterbacks who are still learning. It will be interesting to see how they develop over the course of their careers. Hopefully we don't see either this year, unless its in some type of gimmicky package.
This year I think Nassib has a break-out season. He's got two years of game action experience under his belt and he's starting his 4th year in the program. Dave Rahme reports his accuracy has improved, which is the number one thing he needed to work on. He's a big kid with deceptive speed and a strong arm. Physically he's got the tools to be very successful and he's shown me enough (G-Rob term alert warning) flashes for me to believe this year is it.
This season he'll have an offensive line that's better, a center that will allow the team to use the shotgun and an array of receivers that will be better than last year (even given the fact that Marcus Sales got arrested playing drug dealer a few weeks ago.) Nassib's been tested, and he's passed. This is the year we find out whether he's a honor student or a career B minus type of guy. I'm going with honors student.
Best Case Scenario
Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett open up the offense and Nassib responds. He breaks the season record for TD passes (an attainable 22), brings his completion percentage up to 64%, and throws for more than 2,000 yards. After being carried by the defense last year, the Orange offense, led by Nassib, finally lets SU outscore opponents.
Worst Case Scenario
Nassib's struggles of last year reappear -- he misses too many short crossing routes, he gets happy feet in the pocket and he doesn't push the ball down the field. Then he goes down to an injury and Loeb and Kinder prove they aren't ready. By week 10 fans are calling for Terrel Hunt to play or they are trying to see if Nevin Shapiro can somehow sneak Ashton Broyld into school.
Here's Nassib working out this past spring.