That No. 2 on Eric Dungey’s jersey is looking pretty appropriate today, as Tim Lester told Syracuse.com that the true freshman from Oregon will be the team’s second string quarterback – at least for right now. Obviously, things change, but it’s a testament to how talented and impressive Dungey has been through fall camp.
Dungey has been turning a lot of heads, and looking like he just may be the quarterback of the future for the Orange. The question then comes up: under what circumstances should, or could, we see Dungey take the field this season? Obviously, Scott Shafer would love to see Terrel Hunt handle the QB duties as much as possible this season. Assuming Hunt gets through the year unscathed, that means that Dungey would most likely only play during mop up duty – either when the team is up big, or down big.
Is that necessarily a good thing? Think about it: this Friday, Syracuse could find itself leading Rhode Island by a score of, oh, let’s say about 35-7 in the fourth quarter. If Terrel Hunt gets pulled, chances are whoever takes his place is going to be handing the ball off an awful lot. Is it really worth burning Dungey’s redshirt just to let him hand the ball to a running back – in that kind of situation, probably a fellow true freshman like Jordan Fredericks, by the way – rather than actually slinging it and seeing what the kid can do as a passer?
One benefit to burning Dungey’s redshirt this year is getting up used to the speed of Division I football, even if it’s against third string players. Third stringers at Clemson are a lot faster and more talented than the kids Dungey got used to playing in Oregon, so it can only help get him prepared heading into 2016. With that said, it still doesn’t make sense to insert Dungey into a game just to let him hand the ball off or take a knee.
So if he’s going to play this year – give him some actual opportunities to be a quarterback. I’m not saying you need to insert him for a series or two every game, though that also wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible idea. I’m just saying that if it’s mop up duty you need, a guy like Austin Wilson will do just fine. He’s already burned his redshirt, and can hand the ball off as well.
Syracuse has gone far too long without consistency at the quarterback position, so when you’ve got a kid with seemingly all the tools to succeed, it seems a bit crazy to burn a year of his eligibility to throw the ball maybe 20 times all season. But if we’re talking about getting Dungey in to actually play some football? Then by all means, use him this season if you think he’s ready. Just don’t play him for the sake of playing him.