Lots going on with Syracuse Orange football right now as camp is in full-swing. We're past the photo ops at Fort Drum and FanFest is all but a memory. The August 31st showdown with Penn St. is looming so you better believe things are getting serious.
Obviously the biggest story is that the QB race between Drew Allen and Terrel Hunt remains such a close heat that Scott Shafer is unwilling to name either one the starter before Penn State. Shafer says it's because he doesn't want to give PSU an advantage and that he won't really know until then, but, I'm guessing it's more of the former than the latter.
It's been impressive to see Hunt make his case so strongly since I think most of us expected Allen to run away with the starting gig. Syracuse.com makes the argument for both of them, starting with Michael Cohen's defense of Drew Allen:
...with Allen comes that presence, that aura, that poise of a quarterback who knows exactly what tools he has and how to use them out on the field. Sure he's never started a game, but he's received playing time against Texas, Kansas State, Florida State and Baylor, among others. Do you really think he'll be nervous against Penn State and Northwestern?
And then there's Chris Carlson's plea for Terrel Hunt:
Terrel Hunt isn't the best pro-style quarterback on the Syracuse roster, but he's the best fit for the Orange.
He offers more versatility, fewer mistakes and the chance to add a few extra wrinkles on offense. Most importantly, he allows the Orange to win the same way they did last year when Syracuse was just as overlooked, just as big an underdog.
We already knew that was going to be the big story. Then there's the other big story we hoped wasn't going to be one...the injury story.
Ross Krautman and bunch of walk-on/young players are currently out of practice while Kyle Knapp, Josh Kirkland, Oliver Vigile and two others are working out without pads. Coach Shafer is sticking with his predecessor's style of describing injuries (by not really doing so) but remains upbeat that it won't hamper the team too much:
"We’ve had a lot of bumps and bruises and some headaches and situations like that, but not a lot of major, major injuries which I’m pleased with," Shafer said. "I’m just knocking on wood that we can finish out this week."
If you're looking for any indication as to who's going to be on the field when it matters most, the guys who are working predominantly with the first-team offense are Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley, Clay Cleveland, Jarrod West, Adrian Flemming and Ashton Broyld while your second-teamers have been Brisly Estime, Jeremiah Kobena, Christopher Clark, George Morris II and Devante McFarlane.