D.O. Sportscast: Dungey or DeVito?

first_img Published on October 24, 2018 at 9:35 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ The Daily Orange beat writers discuss Syracuse’s quarterback situation, and whether the team should start Eric Dungey or Tommy DeVito on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.center_img JOSH SCHAFER: And we’re back! The D.O. Sportscast, Josh Schafer with Andrew Graham and Matt Liberman to talk Syracuse football and specifically, quarterbacks. We’ve reached the week of the quarterback, in a lot of senses here. It is Tommy DeVito or Eric Dungey. Maybe both. Dino Babers didn’t say today. He said “not sure,” when asked if he would entertain a two quarterback kind of situation. So I guess we’re also “not sure.”ANDREW GRAHAM: Dungey for tight end. MATT LIBERMAN: That’s just not going to happen. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSCHAFER: Andrew, how’d we get here? How’d we get to Syracuse, half way through the season, now in a quarterback controversy, when their starting quarterback was once at No. 10 in the Heisman? GRAHAM: I think the place to start, to look and see where this came from, is Dungey’s last three games. He struggled against Clemson, and I think everyone was willing and fairly gave him a bit of a pass for a bad performance, with how good Clemson’s defense was and how Syracuse was winning for most of that game. Then he comes out, not a dud against Pitt, but again more of a sort of pedestrian level, not the “play-making, game-winning, best player on the field” type of player. Syracuse lost that game when it probably should have won, and then when down against North Carolina at home, it’s time to make a change. SCHAFER: Matt what do you think overall?LIBERMAN: I think it comes a little bit before that, back with Florida State, when Eric Dungey went down with injury in the second quarter of that game … I was almost positive it was 7-0, because Florida State only scored a touchdown at the end. But you’re only ahead by 7, and when the game came to close Syracuse was ahead by 23, DeVito showed in that game he just wasn’t afraid to throw the ball downfield, in the first throw he had in that game, Josh I know we were at that game, and he just aired it out to Jamal Custis. He just aired it out, and showed that he’s not afraid of these big moments. He came in against a historic team, and really played well. SCHAFER: That’s why I think it goes back further for me. To last season, when the questions were being asked of “What’s Tommy doing in practice that we’re not seeing?” “What are you seeing from Tommy on a day-to-day basis?” When it came to the spring game, it was “Tommy looked OK, did he look like that all spring?” Dino has never said that much positive about DeVito, and he’s clearly good. And that tells me a lot. He’s clearly good. He has mechanical skills, he’s a talented quarterback, and Babers has never really, to the public, said “Tommy’s really mechanically sound, Tommy throws a great deep ball, Tommy’s flick of the wrist is great.”GRAHAM: Babers has basically been doing a two-year quarterback balancing act. SCHAFER: He hasn’t downplayed Tommy, but he hasn’t really revealed him. And he did that last Saturday by putting him and letting him do that. That was a reveal.GRAHAM: Yeah, well. I always think Babers, especially this season … I think has been very clear that the belief within the program is that Tommy DeVito is just as capable as quarterback as Eric Dungey. They believe that Tommy DeVito can play and succeed. LIBERMAN: And just to add onto that, it’s just that, he’s the guy of the future. They know that. SCHAFER: The more experience he gets this year, just the more prepared the team is going forward. That’s not ever my favorite thing to focus on. GRAHAM: But if he’s playing at the level that he’s playing at?SCHAFER: Right, it’s an added bonus. But it’s not a reason to play someone. Which I don’t think either of you said, but that concept always bothered me. And with that, in the concept of playing him or not playing him, we’re going to bring on our Digital Editor Andy Mendes, who I consider an absolute football expert. GRAHAM: A friend of the program. ANDY MENDES: Hello!SCHAFER: A friend of the program who we’ve been bringing on week after week, and he’s going to answer our burning question first. Andy, who should Syracuse start at quarterback on Saturday? Four-year starter, and senior, Eric Dungey, or the redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito?MENDES: You know, that is the burning question. It’s tough. I have heart for both, I have heart for both. I love both ideas, I love both concepts. But at the end of the day, I have to stick with my man Dungey. SCHAFER: Interesting. Why’s that?MENDES: I just really feel like that he will always just push through adversity. And he has been for awhile. I was there, at that very first game, my freshman year, when he got put in, when that other guy got hurt. SCHAFER: Terrel Hunt.MENDES: That was so funny, because we were all there. It was like our free ticket, our free student football game ticket. It was like, “Oh cool, the senior’s gone, just throw in the freshman.” And I like, know him through friends of friends. I met him once. So it’s hard for me to not root from him, and hope that he pulls through. SCHAFER: I feel like that’s an interesting perspective, I think we kind of consider Andy more of a fan than we are, trying to report on the team — not trying to, we are reporting on the team. We are reporting on the team objectively. GRAHAM: Then we have failed miserably, all season! SCHAFER: But, Andy comes from more of a fan perspective and student perspective. But it’s kind of interesting. Dungey has been the face of this program, since you’ve been here. It would be interesting to poll the student body, to see what everyone’s thinking, of “Start Dungey or start DeVito?”LIBERMAN: Well, just to talk about that perspective for a second. Keep in mind that, when you associate Eric Dungey being the face of this program for the last few years, you’re talking about a program that hasn’t won more than four games. So if you switched to basketball, and Tyus Battle is the face of the basketball program, you’re talking about a team that beat Michigan State in the Round of 32 last year and went to the Sweet 16 and almost beat Duke. Much different, if you’re looking at it from that perspective. That said, I still think they should start Eric Dungey next week, or this upcoming week. Because, if there’s one thing I noticed watching this game, while Tommy DeVito came out and played really, really well, that interception, that one interception, was a lack of foresight on his part, in what was sort of reading advanced coverage. He saw that, didn’t recognize the extra defender, and threw the ball right there. Dungey hasn’t been the greatest decision maker, in games that we’ve seen, I think Pitt was an example of that —GRAHAM: He threw that interception against Pitt that was almost identical —LIBERMAN: That was not great, it was very bad. That said, I still think that anytime you throw somebody in at the end of the game … UNC had not been studying DeVito, they had been studying Dungey. So you throw a guy in, they don’t know his tendencies, they don’t know the kind of player that he is, it’s much harder to adapt to that as a defense, when, if you came into this game, there was another quarterback and you had to cover both. GRAHAM: I wrote a column that says that Syracuse needs to start DeVito this weekend. DeVito came into a situation where Syracuse was losing, and he just let it rip … He played very well. I think to some degree, I think it’s like the blessing and curse of knowing that you have two quarterbacks, and who could you play. Coming off that just heater of a performance from DeVito, and just how the ball was coming out of his hand, and how confident he looked running the offense, he looked every bit as good as I’ve ever seen Eric Dungey throwing the football. And Syracuse has been running the ball with or without Dungey with a decently high level. Moe Neal averaged 8.2 yards a carry against North Carolina. I don’t think running the ball necessarily takes a hit without playing Dungey. And I also think that, looking at things players said after the game, Jamal Custis was asked about the difference between playing with DeVito and Dungey, and he basically said it was just normal. They take reps with him. They’ve been taking them through fall camp, and through, you know, all through practice they’ve been splitting reps to some degree. So they’re — DeVito’s been on campus for almost two years now. It’s a very comfortable environment, I think the players are all familiar with him, I don’t think there’s that big element of change internally that you’d normally have with a quarterback change. And that would — that’s why I think DeVito needs to play, because of how he looked and how comfortable the team is.SCHAFER: You gotta ride the wave. GRAHAM: Yes. SCHAFER: Tommy DeVito created the wave. Syracuse was gonna be in its normal slump, had he not come in and played well. I think we talked about the fact that he played with house money and he played with whatever, but guess what? He went out and won the game. He went out and won the game, and if not, Syracuse would be 4-3, this game against North Carolina State would probably be at 12, it wouldn’t be on ESPN, and now it’s on ESPN 2 at 7 p.m. and there’s gonna be more fans in the Dome this week than there were last week and they’re not looking to see number two at quarterback.GRAHAM: And last week was homecoming. SCHAFER: They’re coming to see number 13 sling the rock. I think you just let him do it out of the gate. If it doesn’t work, and you’re just like, ah, beginner’s luck last week, like you didn’t have a good three series and you pull him. But now is the time to make the change — if you’re going to ever make the change, or start to make the change, you let him start this game and you go deep on the first play and see if he does it again.GRAHAM: It’s also very difficult to start Dungey and then have to pull him again. That’s tough as a coaching staff.SCHAFER: You basically can’t do that. Unless you’re establishing rotation — if you’re establishing rotation, it makes sense, which we’re probably going to see.LIBERMAN: Well I think that’s an idea that they should really look into, because, when you look at the season overall, granted North Carolina wasn’t exactly an example of that, but Syracuse has typically, this season so far, come out early and scored on their first drive, second drive, third drive. They typically — early on, they build a lead. If you put DeVito in first, and they don’t do that, I don’t know what happens.GRAHAM: Yeah, I also think against a team like North Carolina State, where you — no football coach is ever going to think, say they view a game as a loss, but I think you know, looking at the schedule and looking at this game, this is a game that people aren’t necessarily expecting Syracuse to lose but would not be remotely surprised if they lost. So again, DeVito comes in, starts, plays solid, not exceptional, but is not the reason you lose the game. I think you’re okay with it. You’re fine if he’s okay, not stellar.SCHAFER: Yeah. At some point, there’s a fall from what he did.GRAHAM: Tommy DeVito is going to be the starting quarterback at liberty next fall, game one, you know that. And if he’s playing at a level equal or better than Eric Dungey right now, there’s no reason not to play him.SCHAFER: We’ll move on from yelling at each other. And we’ll just have more takes. A gaping hole from UNC, Matt, that was kinda left — there were a lot of things that went wrong in that game, that just kinda went by the wayside with little more than five minutes remaining. What was the biggest thing that you saw that you were like, hm, that’s not very good for Syracuse going forward?LIBERMAN: Uh, the fact that they were going up against arguably the worst quarterback situation in the entire ACC. One of the worst quarterback situations probably in the country, and Syracuse got pretty torched through the air. I mean, this is a North Carolina team, that up to this point had played five different quarterbacks at some point. Granted, Nathan Elliott has gotten the bulk of this for the entire season, but it’s still a team that has played five different quarterbacks. And it’s not like they’re blowing teams out. They’re losing and trying to come back. And they’re looking for a bunch of these different options. And Nathan Elliott looked far superior than Eric Dungey did for the bulk of the game until Tommy DeVito came in. And Nathan Elliott was really just able to get the job done against a Syracuse secondary that I think we all think, overall this season, I would say they’ve exceeded my expectations in a lot of areas, definitely in generating turnovers and looking at certain games, just limiting big plays — granted like, Pitt wasn’t an example of that — but overall in coverage I think they’ve done a solid job. They’ve missed tackles in the run game and I think that’s where they’ve struggled. But in terms of hopping on recievers and defending passes, they really struggled against North Carolina.GRAHAM: I gotta go with big plays, I wrote about it last week — feels like forever ago, but it was last week. That’s pretty much one of the big reasons Syracuse got stung. North Carolina went to this, sort of fly sweep look to Dazz Newsome a couple times and it’s the one where the quarterback pitches it forward and it counts as a pass but I’m gonna call it a run because that’s effectively what it is, and Newsome came around the right edge, er, left edge, and it worked a couple times and then finally ran it out early in the third quarter and then he got a gap and took it for like, 55 yards. Seeing a look multiple times like that and then getting beaten worse as it goes on is not a good sign. There needs to be some adjustment to when you see that Newsome also took a punt back 75 yards, which is not a great thing to see, especially from a team that was playing so well on special teams up until this point, definitely some lapses there. But Syracuse really needs to find a way to limit big plays and make teams earn every yard they get.SCHAFER: I was surprised to see — no sacks, right? One sack?GRAHAM: One sack.SCHAFER: One sack.GRAHAM: Kendall Coleman.SCHAFER: Okay. You’re right. But still, less sacks.GRAHAM: Not many sacks. I actually, it was kinda interesting, I looked at the season stats and it kinda balloons. It’s like one, three, six, four, three, one. Like they, they had a peak and they sort of dropped off a bit.LIBERMAN: The one thing though to consider with North Carolina is while the rest of the team is pretty bad, the offensive line is really good. There are a lot of big guys on that offensive line —GRAHAM: Yeah they hadn’t given up many sacks —SCHAFER: Well that’s the thing, I think, is a point of concern for Syracuse this week. North Carolina State I think has allowed three sacks all year if I’m not mistaken, some ridiculous number that Ryan Finley just stands there and plays like seven on seven.LIBERMAN: Right, I think North Carolina had given up four entering that game.GRAHAM: It was single digits, I know that.LIBERMAN: Or Nathan Elliott had been sacked four times in the entire season.GRAHAM: I think it was seven as a team or something. But not many.SCHAFER: The biggest takeaway though for me is, if Syracuse’s defensive line is going to be elite, which the stats portrayed at a certain point when they were in the top ten, you’ve got to produce week in, week out. So, I just, more consistency there is what you need if you really want to say you have a dominant, good defensive line.GRAHAM: Well, and I think we know they can produce against … I mean Kendall Coleman was, when they went to Clemson, was dominating Mitch Hyatt in the second half, one of the better tackles in the conference, I think. So there’s no doubt that Kendall Coleman and Alton Robinson can really win a one on one. I think a lot of it depends on the work Chris Slayton’s doing and on the inside and being able to free up guys on the one on ones. I saw a lot of good chip blocking, double teams on the edges that really kept Coleman and Robinson from doing their jobs.LIBERMAN: Right, because that’s where they’re really able to break open, is when Chris Slayton’s commanding double teams. If you look a the game against Pitt, yes Robinson had the game of his life, he had eight tackles, four for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles — I know too, I think three of those tackles were losses. He was unguarded. He just ran his way straight.GRAHAM: The first forced fumble he was not touched.LIBERMAN: Not touched at all. And I think, on one of the sacks, not touched at all. And so obviously if you have a guy that is a four-star recruit when he was coming out of high school and is SCC talent and plays for Syracuse, obviously if nobody blocks him you’ll be able to get easily to the backfield. But, it’s just something that — they have the talent to do so, it all just depends on Chris Slayton.SCHAFER: Syracuse-NC State, 7 p.m. on Saturday. Andrew, who you got?GRAHAM: I gotta give the nod to NC State on this one. I think the pass-rush doesn’t get going, I just think that’s a tough task against one of the better offensive lines Syracuse will face all year, and I think Ryan Finley is just a little too much for a banged up secondary. Unsure if Chris Fredricks is playing this weekend. Did we get an update on Scoop Bradshaw today?SCHAFER: I think they’re both in the same status.GRAHAM: Yeah, they’re both kinda questionable in the day to day throughout this week.SCHAFER: Not long-term injuries.GRAHAM: Yeah, yeah. Could play this weekend, might not. If they don’t, it’ll be probably Ifeatu Melifonwu and Trill Williams at corner — both capable players, but not nearly as experienced as — Melifonwu did look excellent in replacement for Fredrick on Saturday, definitely did a good job when he got his number called, but anytime you put two relatively inexperienced corners against one of the best, if not the most experienced and polished quarterbacks in the conference, it’s going to be a tough day.LIBERMAN: Uh, this is a really tough one for me. Because I — there’s something in me that says that Syracuse wins this game. There’s — I can’t explain it, I think in every facet of this game, North Carolina is pretty much stronger — North Carolina State, excuse me — but there’s just something that’s holding me back. I’m gonna take NC State in this one, not confidently, I think it’ll be a one score game, I think it’ll be a game that goes down to the wire. Ultimately, Ryan Finley’s going to be a little bit too much for Syracuse to handle. But I also think that NC State has been a little overrated this season.GRAHAM: NC State finally played a good team in Clemson and got smacked.L: They got exposed. They lost 41-7. And people were riding high and saying that NC State could go in there and it wouldn’t even be a shock to the world because Ryan Finley is that good and the rest of the team is that good. They got smacked by Clemson. And it’s always tough coming off a loss like that and then having to go play in another environment which, the Carrier Dome isn’t Death Valley, but the way the temperature gets sometimes, it can get loud in there.SCHAFER: This is where I finally step ahead of you two in the records.LIBERMAN: You taking Syracuse?SCHAFER: I’m gonna pick Syracuse. Syracuse will win because I pick them. And then I will have the best record among the beat writers. That’s excellent. I think Syracuse —GRAHAM: You do know there’s no prize for that, right? Just bragging rights.SCHAFER: Bragging rights is probably the best prize out anywhere.GRAHAM: Yeah but you do that to me anyways, so.LIBERMAN: Granted, my prediction could change. It’s only Monday, the game is Saturday.GRAHAM: A lot could happen —SCHAFER: This is recording.GRAHAM: — between me and filing my beat writer prediction.SCHAFER: I’m gonna go with Syracuse because, I think Matt touched on it a little bit, looking through NC State’s games, not that impressed. With really any of them. The only game that should’ve been a real test in there, like a real test, pretty sure they played BC with a hurt AJ Dillon, if I’m not mistaken —LIBERMAN: AJ Dillon did not play in that game, and they were dominating that game early on, and then let BC climb their way back in.SCHAFER: And they never played West Virginia. The game got canceled.LIBERMAN: Right.SCHAFER: I’m not putting too much into any of those other games that they played. And they got smacked by Clemson. And I think Syracuse — this is partially me picking expecting Tommy DeVito to start the game too, though — I think there is a little bit to that momentum. And I think the Carrier Dome the last couple years, in the big games that Syracuse has had — something like a 7 p.m. night game on a Saturday — might actually have an atmosphere. It certainly didn’t have one last Saturday. But I think — it won’t be full. It hasn’t been full in a while.LIBERMAN: But people are coming out for this game.SCHAFER: People that come will be excited. Which is really — in the Carrier Dome, you can have 30,000 people, but if they’re screaming, it’s loud. And Florida State I think only had 35,000 and it was a good environment.GRAHAM: You know what the environment is going to be just a little bit like? Clemson last year. 7 o’clock start, October game.LIBERMAN: I was about to say that.SCHAFER: Things are going to get spooky? Halloweekened? Last year was Friday the thirteenth.GRAHAM: Maybe. Maybe Tommy DeVito comes out wearing number two. Costume.LIBERMAN: I think that would be the worst thing that could happen. But no, just to touch on that a little bit, I mean, like you said, that’s the environment I think this game will most closely relate to, is Clemson last year.GRAHAM: Does Dino Babers finally stop picturing the sea of orange, and it’s just there?SCHAFER: The sea of orange was at — against — Clemson last year. It was like 43,000 fans and they upset the number two team in the country.LIBERMAN: I think the other thing to take into account for this game is if Syracuse wins this game, they’re going to a bowl game.GRAHAM: Yes.LIBERMAN: It’s not like it’s been recently with you need two or three wins near the end of the season. They win one more game and it’s there. This is the first time in a while that it’s been right there.SCHAFER: And we’ll find out on Saturday if they get it but first, we need to do our thirty-second sound offs. Andrew Graham, you are up, ready set go.GRAHAM: So, sometime earlier today, didn’t see when, UCF’s athletic director tweeted at College Game Day, the crew for basically talking smack about UCF on gameday and saying they’re just not good enough to be in the playoff effectively, well guess what? Game day is right. Give UCF ‘Bama and see what happens. I’m done.SCHAFER: Andrew Graham with a whopping 19-second sound off.GRAHAM: There’s no more to be said. Give them ‘Bama and silence them.SCHAFER: Give anyone ‘Bama!GRAHAM: Give anyone but Clemson ‘Bama and I can tell you who wins.LIBERMAN: Can I take his 11 seconds and add it to mine just for a little explainer before I go in? I just think we should do a segment of college football take and then regular thirty-second sound off.GRAHAM: Fair.LIBERMAN: Because that’s what it turns into every time. And I could talk about two things right now, but because you mentioned college football, I’m gonna go there with game day. The game day environment this past Saturday was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Washington State, for the first time, I know I’m getting 41 seconds on this and I see 20 right now, um, opening up at 6 a.m. with 20,000 people waving flags under lights, and you have the mascot ride in on a Harley Davidson motorcycle? That was awesome. That was absolutely unbelievable and it is something that I would love to see more of in sports.SCHAFER: It’s almost like Washington State has been following around game day with a flag for …GRAHAM: Fifteen years?SCHAFER: For as long as I’ve been alive.LIBERMAN: Yep, pretty much.GRAHAM: Basically yes.SCHAFER: And they got what they wanted.LIBERMAN: It was an unbelievable atmosphere.GRAHAM: It’s a good thing Washington State won that game too, I guess. It would’ve been kinda lame if they had that whole hype environment and then just laid an egg against Oregon.SCHAFER: Perhaps Syracuse will someday have College Game Day. It won’t be this weekend, though. Maybe next week, when we check back in on The D.O. Sportscast. Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *