Football

Starting quarterback an open competition entering training camp

Scott Shafer shook his head when asked if Drew Allen came into training camp as a freshman because it was his first year with Syracuse.

“No, he’s a senior,” Shafer said. “He stood up yesterday with the newbies, and then I reminded everybody that he’s a true senior here so he’s ready to go.”

With that said, Shafer spoke during media day on Sunday at Manley Field House about how the quarterback competition is still wide open. Shafer left the answer to that question a mystery. Allen, Terrel Hunt, Charley Loeb and the rest of Syracuse’s quarterbacks will compete for the starting job during training camp, which officially begins Monday.

“All those quarterbacks that we have in the program compete and love the game,” Shafer said. “It sorts itself out. I just want them to have a fun battle.”

Hunt emerged as the front-runner after an impressive showing in the spring, but Allen’s decision to transfer from Oklahoma brought the dilemma back to square one. While Hunt has more experience at SU, Allen learned from some of the best quarterbacks in the country as a Sooner.

All things considered, Shafer said he’s not sure if he’s any closer to making the decision now than he was weeks, even months ago.

“You can’t look into a crystal ball and say, ‘Is this the number of reps this guy needs to compete?’” Shafer said. “You’ve got to just throw him out there and let him go.”

The media, however, did not act with such equality. Allen spoke to a horde Sunday that dwarfed the number of reporters who gathered around his teammates.

Backing up quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Landry Jones, both of whom have since gone on to the NFL, left Allen itching for a chance to play. He said that he came to Syracuse for the opportunity to compete.

“They didn’t promise me anything,” Allen said, “but they promised that I’d have the opportunity to compete for the starting job.”

And so he will. Allen said one way he’s helped prepare for the season before training camp is by watching film extensively. He said seeing what kinds of routes receivers run is key and that memorizing their tendencies is imperative heading into camp.

Matching Bradford and Jones’ intensity and daily work ethic helped teach him how to play quarterback, Allen said, and the high regard to excellence and precision they brought every day helped make him the player he is.

Shafer said competition is the ultimate motivator for athletes, and he believes the budding battle will improve the play of all of SU’s quarterbacks.

Each one will have a chance to showcase those skills over the next few weeks, prior to the team’s season-opener against Penn State at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 31 at 3:30 p.m.

Said Shafer: “I’m fully confident by Penn State we’ll have not only that position figured out, but every other position we have too.”

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