Syracuse quarterbacks prepare for final 2 weeks with future implications in air

first_imgThough the next two games are meaningless to Syracuse’s ongoing season, Tim Lester has a message for his offensive players.“They’re mistaken if they don’t think the momentum of the end of one season can’t carry over into another,” the SU offensive coordinator said on Tuesday night.And that concept applies more to the Orange’s quarterbacks than any other positional group.While a Terrel Hunt return in the next nine days seems unlikely, freshman AJ Long and sophomore Austin Wilson feel it’ll be Hunt’s job to lose when he plays again, whether it be this season or next. But Lester didn’t indicate as much, and the quarterbacks have two more games to make their case for their roles next year, starting with Syracuse’s (3-7, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) matchup at Pittsburgh (4-6, 2-4) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.When Lester is assessing his group of signal-callers and deciding the pecking order heading into next season, he said there will be no better platform for evaluation than live game action.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“What they’re doing at the time will be a huge deal, but there’s no way I could put a better challenge to them than to go out there and play ACC-caliber teams,” Lester said. “So the next two weeks will be big as far as figuring out how they react to different situations and try to put them in those situations.”At Tuesday’s practice, Lester had all three quarterbacks — Long, Wilson and sophomore Mitch Kimble — at his disposal for the first time in a few weeks. Long, who sat out Syracuse’s loss to Duke on Nov. 8 due to a nerve issue in his shoulder, will be the Orange’s starter against the Panthers if he’s healthy, Lester said.But in the same answer, the offensive coordinator praised what Kimble brings to the table for SU as a running threat, good decision maker and accurate thrower.Long spoke with reporters Tuesday evening for the first time since the week leading up to his injury against North Carolina State. The true freshman pointed out that this season has been the first time in his career he hasn’t consistently won. Long’s accounted for five touchdowns, but also seven turnovers.That’s why he feels he hasn’t created any competition against Hunt, despite Long’s flashes of talent.“At this point, I haven’t played consistently enough to be the starting quarterback,” he said. “This two weeks is probably where it has to start. It’s not going to end here because clearly you have to go into the spring and it’s going to take time to be able to take a spot from somebody that’s held it for two years.”Though he said the starting job is still Hunt’s to lose, Long still hopes to improve his play as SU takes on Pittsburgh and Boston College to round out the schedule and to keep progressing into the offseason to make a run at Hunt’s title.Wilson also referred to Hunt’s experience and said he doesn’t think about competition; he just approaches each day the same way.But if somebody plays well enough, Lester hinted, it could be anyone’s team.“I don’t believe any one quarterback owns anything,” said Lester, a former college quarterback himself. “If you go out there and play, you’ll own a team quickly. You can ask (Drew) Bledsoe when (Tom) Brady went in for him.“Whoever goes in there and makes plays, that’s who the team is going to follow. If I go in there and make plays, they’ll follow me. I would love to.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 20, 2014 at 12:20 am Contact Phil: pmdabbra@syr.edu | @PhilDAbblast_img read more