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Monday Morning QB - 10/26/09

If Syracuse just runs the ball, this whole column becomes academic

Editor’s Note: The following article is a weekly feature from Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan (twitter @jbren) that runs every Monday morning called Monday Morning Quarterback, assessing the quarterback situation of Syracuse football.

Welcome to the ninth edition of Monday Morning Quarterback here at Orange::44. This edition was so awesome that you had to wait until almost Tuesday morning to get it!

It was good to get back into things and see Greg Paulus settle down against the Akron Zips, beating them 28-14. The big shocker here wasn’t the fact that Paulus was starting the game – it was that his #1 receiver, Mike Williams, was suspended for the game. I knew that translated into “Syracuse is gonna run the ball today,” before the game even started. And run the ball they did! But I’m not gonna talk about that here, since this is a quarterback article.

In the limited “packages” that did call for Paulus to pass the ball, he did relatively well: 12 of 17 for 105 yards, 1 TD, and no INTs. None. Zip. Oh, bad pun. Meanwhile, Ryan Nassib’s only passing attempt was right through the hands of would-be receiver Cody Catalina, who was wide open running to the end zone. I actually thought it was a good throw, Cody just didn’t catch it.

But at any rate, Nassib received quite a few snaps in this game, sometimes alternating snaps with Paulus. I didn’t like this play-calling. It’s one thing to put in Nassib to run the Stallion. Or even to run an occasional pass play. But it’s quite another to put him in purely to hand off the ball. That’s how he was used in this game.

Of course, this was a run-first game anyway. So had the situation been different (i.e. Mike Williams playing, or not playing Akron), one wonders whether the play-calling would have been different? Would Nassib have been sent in to hand off the ball? These are tremendous questions for which we may never have an answer.

One thing seemed clear, though. Greg Paulus is definitely Doug Marrone’s guy. He played well enough to keep his job, and, quite frankly, the job is his to lose from here on out.

And that brings me to this week’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bearcats. And this isn’t just any Cincy; this is a Top 10 Cincy. Maybe even a Top 5, depending who you ask. So, Greg, not to put the pressure on you or anything, but you’re gonna have to play a perfect game. Mistakes will translate into fans calling for Nassib. Maybe ultimately, that’s not fair. Cincy is better than Syracuse. Cincy should beat Syracuse. Cincy should outperform Syracuse. So if that’s what we Syracuse fans see on the field on Saturday, we shouldn’t be surprised. We shouldn’t call for Nassib. Necessarily.

Unless and until Syracuse is mathematically eliminated from bowl contention, they should be trying to win every game. Not that they shouldn’t anyway, but once you’re out of it, it’s OK to start experimenting, in my opinion. So, until that time, you put the guy out there that can win the game for you. I’ve been saying that for several weeks now, just like Doug Marrone has. And he’s pretty damn confident that Greg Paulus is that guy. And based on what I saw this past Saturday – and like I said, we know what the play-calling was – I think Greg is that guy.

The Weekly QB Watch
Going into the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bearcats, the probability of starting is as follows:
Greg Paulus – 100%
Ryan Nassib – 0%
Cam Dantley – 0%
Charley Loeb – 0%
Other – 0%

I’d like to actually see Greg Paulus take most of the snaps. I don’t want a two-headed monster. I want consistency. But I don’t run the show here…

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