Football

Hunt ‘didn’t go as hard as he should have’ in preseason camp

Andrew Renneisen | Staff Photographer

Terrel Hunt may be saving Syracuse's season, but why wasn't he starting in the first place? SU head coach Scott Shafer pointed to sluggishness in the team's training camp.

Scott Shafer shed some light onto why Terrel Hunt didn’t start the first two games of the season during the Atlantic Coast Conference’s weekly teleconference Wednesday.

“The thing that you couldn’t see in the preseason was his ability to do what he’s done and that’s move in the pocket, slide up, take off with the ball a little bit here and there and move the chains,” Shafer said. “I think he was kind of sluggish doing that in preseason camp.

“Because he knew he wasn’t going to get hit, he didn’t go as hard as he should have.”

After losing the starting job to Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen in camp, Hunt watched from the sidelines as Allen imploded against Penn State and then-No. 19 Northwestern. Since taking over, Hunt has led the Syracuse offense to consecutive 50-point wins against Wagner and Tulane. The lack of intensity that H-back Ashton Broyld mentioned after SU’s thrashing of the Green Wave is long gone.

Hunt has been as efficient as any quarterback in the nation, completing 33-of-43 passes for 468 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. And he’s run for two more scores, clearly displaying the mobility and pocket presence Shafer indicated he would have liked to see when he was deciding on a starter before the season.

“I didn’t have any preconceived notions that he was this guy or that guy without seeing what he could do daily,” Shafer said.

At practice Tuesday, Shafer said he approached Hunt to tell him that. He said that he didn’t have “a good feel” for Hunt’s ability to make plays with his feet back in camp.

Now he does. And with No. 3 Clemson coming to town Saturday, the Orange will need another near-perfect performance from the redshirt sophomore quarterback if it wants a chance to pull off an upset.

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