ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Syracuse Orange

Can Charley Loeb Succeed Ryan Nassib As the Orange QB This Spring, Or is it Someone Else's Job to Lose?

Can Charley Loeb Succeed Ryan Nassib As the Orange QB This Spring, Or is it Someone Else’s Job to Lose?

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Syracuse Orange

Spring Practice Start Date: March 19

Spring Game Date: April 20

Syracuse wrapped up a wild 2012 season by winning six of seven games… and then watching their head coach, Doug Marrone, and seven other staff members walk out the door for the Buffalo Bills. Since then, panic has subsidized for the Orange faithful, but there are still plenty of questions for this group. New head coach Scott Shafer’s committed to keeping the transition as simple as possible (he was the team’s defensive coordinator last year after all), but the success of that strategy relies largely on the personnel. SU must replace several key contributors on both sides of the ball, and it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to alleviate those issues by the end of spring ball.

First and foremost, the team is faced with as tough a challenge as any in the nation, replacing departed senior quarterback (and program poster boy) Ryan Nassib. After a record-setting career that brought the program back from the depths, Nassib’s off to the NFL (and likely the Bills), and in his place is a massive hole to fill. As of right now, there are four candidates for the job — Charley Loeb, John Kinder, Terrell Hunt and Ashton Broyld — and without much experience (Nassib was a three-year starter), it’s virtually anyone’s game. Plus, whoever this new passer may be will also have to figure out who he’s throwing to. Top targets Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales are both gone as well, leaving the team to wonder if Jarrod West, Jeremiah Kobena and Arkansas transfer Quinta Funderburk can step up as the main receiving options. There’s also the issue of the offensive line, which must try to replace star lineman Justin Pugh as well. In the early goings this spring, the squad’s biggest saving grace may be the backfield, which returns all three top rushers from last year and looks to build upon a strong finish.

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Far-Too-Early 2012 ACC Football Power Rankings (May 15)

For the Time Being, Florida State’s Still in the ACC, and Currently Sit Atop Our Power Rankings

As we creep along further into the lengthy college football offseason, we also have another installment of our early power rankings for the entirety of the ACC. As always, we take into account what’s happened both on and off the field (WHY, SAMMY WATKINS?!). This will be revised monthly throughout the offseason.

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): Based on recent news, you’d think FSU was more of a marketing opportunity than a football team, yet this years’ ‘Noles actually look pretty good. As we’ve given thought to previously, it’s all about how E.J. Manuel responds to the pressures of being a top-10 squad that will make or break them.

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): Clemson remains at number two, only because the distance between this team and numbers three through 14 is a much wider gulch than most will let on. Even if the Tigers’ drop their Watkins-less opener against Auburn, there’s little that says this team can’t run through much of its remaining slate.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): We still have no idea about this offense as it’s currently comprised. Will the O-line mature quickly enough? And the run-game? The pistol offense will be getting some play time during games, but we’re unsure how much. Just a lot of uncertainty for the Hokies, much of which gets glossed over because of its defensive strengths.

4. NC State Woflpack (LW: 4): If you read anything this offseason, you’d think the Pack were a two-man team. And you’d probably be right. Mike Glennon and David Amerson run things on their respective sides of the ball, and as long as no one messes up that dynamic, this will be a fun team to watch. The opener versus Tennessee should tell us a whole lot. Continue reading