Notebook: Nassib, Loeb react to starting quarterback situation for 1st time

first_img Comments Nathaniel Hackett isn’t ready to hand off the Syracuse starting quarterback job just yet. He has a definition, but not an identity. ‘That position takes such a unique person to do it,’ Hackett said at SU’s Media Day on Monday. ‘You have to be a very special guy to handle a lot of the pressure. So many different things are coming at you. … It’s one of those things. There’s always room for great quarterbacks.’  Though Hackett wouldn’t explicitly state the quarterback who could bear that definition, it has grown more and more likely that sophomore Ryan Nassib will be SU’s starter in its opening contest at Akron on Sept. 4. Amidst a crowded field — which includes sophomore Charley Loeb and true freshmen Jonny Miller and John Kinder — Nassib has received subtle hints in the past week from head coach Doug Marrone and teammates that he will be the Orange’s starter. Last week at Big East Media Day in Newport, R.I., Marrone suggested that Nassib would be his starter. Then, on Sunday, senior punter Rob Long told The Daily Orange that the team expects Nassib as their starting quarterback.‘We know he is our guy going in (to camp),’ Long said Sunday, ‘and he will be our guy until the season gets started.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen told of Long’s statement, Nassib said the words were meaningful to him coming from the senior captain.‘It means a lot,’ Nassib said. ‘Rob has always been a supportive captain. He’s always been like that to every other player. He’s always been a good, strong support system on this team. I’m very happy to hear that from him.’Of course, Nassib has been here before. He was named the starter in Marrone’s first spring practice in 2009, only to have the title stripped away from him when Greg Paulus decided to suit up for the Orange.This spring, there was some doubt cast by Loeb, who opened eyes in SU’s Spring Game on April 17. Loeb threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns in that game, albeit against Syracuse’s second-team defense.When told of Marrone’s comments from last week regarding which player will be the starter going into camp, on Monday Loeb said it was the first time he had heard them. But he didn’t think the quarterback situation would affect his fall camp.‘It doesn’t change a thing for me in terms of how I’m going to practice or play,’ Loeb said. ‘I think that’s something more for people outside the team.’And despite no official confirmation that Nassib will be the starter in SU’s first game at Akron, much of the team, including junior wide receiver Van Chew, seem ready to take the field with Nassib as their leader.‘He had the physical part down,’ Chew said. ‘He’s always been athletic. Now, I think he has the mental game down. He’s ready to be a leader.’Graham shifts to wide receiverAs a freshman two years ago, Dorian Graham lined up on the practice field against Ryan Nassib. Now, he could be one of Nassib’s primary targets.After missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, Graham will make the switch from safety to wide receiver this year.‘My initial reaction was that I was excited and ready to get started,’ Graham said. ‘I trust in the coaches’ opinion, and I’m just looking forward to getting on the field and making plays.’ Graham, listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 182 pounds, will join a crowded wide-receiver cast that includes juniors Van Chew and Marcus Sales, sophomore Alec Lemon and transfer Aaron Weaver. Graham said he was informed of the switch ‘a couple of days before camp.’In shifting to the other side of the ball, Graham’s adjustment period will come in learning an entirely different playbook.‘I need to show that, first of all, I know the plays,’ Graham said. ‘It’s a new playbook. After that, second is catch the ball, and it’s just natural.’For Marrone, it is a decision he thinks will pay off for his new-look offense that, as of now, returns just three starters. He thinks Graham’s speed could add an important dimension to a unit that lacks an explosive threat.‘Any time you’re able to bring someone over to the offensive side of the ball that has speed that can get behind the defense,’ Marrone said, ‘that creates an advantage for us.’This and thatOffensive lineman Lou Alexander, a junior-college transfer from the College of the Canyons in Palmdale, Calif., is also facing eligibility issues, and his status for the fall is unknown. An SU spokesman said his status is ‘pending with the university.’ As of Monday, he is still listed on the team’s official roster. … Defensive end Jared Kimmel, tight end Cody Catalina and fullback Carl Cutler were not at Media Day and have not reported to camp yet, as they are each rehabilitating from injuries. … Marrone announced a ‘drop dead date’ of August 30 for academically ineligible running back Averin [email protected]–– Asst. Sports Editor Tony Olivero contributed reporting to this story. Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on August 8, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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