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Bailey: Improving Allen deserves chance to solidify starting job

first_img Published on September 12, 2013 at 2:11 am Editor’s note: Two beat writers were assigned a quarterback to make the case for as Syracuse’s starter — one for Drew Allen and one for Terrel Hunt.In 148 seconds, the Syracuse offense showed its true potential. Nine plays, 75 yards for a touchdown.Drew Allen led the Orange out of the locker room and went 5-for-6 on the drive, connecting with Ashton Broyld, Jarrod West and Kendall Moore. He hit Moore on a 16-yard scoring strike down the seam to finish the drive.The only problem? This was the start of the second half. SU was already down 34-7 and returning to the field with instructions from head coach Scott Shafer to just “win the second half.”The Orange put up 14 points and 193 yards with Allen under center in the second half as the offense found its rhythm. Quick perimeter passes coupled with outside-the-tackles running put the Northwestern defense on its heels.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd Allen, at times, looked very comfortable running the hurry-up offense.“All good athletes kind of get into a zone and there were times Saturday where he was in a zone,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said.Allen showed distinct improvement in his second contest despite throwing four interceptions, enough so that he deserves a chance to continue as the starter — at least for now. Admittedly his tendency to stare down receivers has resulted in six interceptions through two games and many more batted passes. But those flashes of dominance shown against Northwestern merit another opportunity against Wagner.A poor performance from the Oklahoma transfer could land the four-year backup back on the bench for good. But Allen’s ability to throw the deep ball and proven composure and leadership are worth the continued patience.“He’s our quarterback,” Broyld said. “We’re going to stick with him `til we can’t ride with him no more.”The chance to start against Football Championship Subdivision foe Wagner gives Allen every chance to strengthen his hold on the starting job as Terrel Hunt gets some reps off the bench. Frankly, if he can’t score at will against a Seahawks defense that gave up 42 points to Division II Merrimack, he shouldn’t be starting.But the high points of the Northwestern game provide hope for Allen’s success. He’s developed a core of short-yardage receivers in Broyld, who leads the team with 11 catches for 108 yards, senior Christopher Clark and freshman Brisly Estime.And Broyld was emphatic that the offense is better with Allen than with Hunt.“He’s our quarterback,” Broyld said, “so, of course.”The pieces are in place for an SU offense that has the potential to be dynamic. Those glimpses just need to become more consistent.“When we’re hitting on all cylinders, I feel that we can score at will,” Allen said.Allen said he watched more film from Sunday to Tuesday than he spent preparing for Penn State and Northwestern on those days each of the past two weeks.And he knows forcing passes like he did each of the last two weeks will only pull him off the field faster.His second-quarter interception thrown to Broyld in double coverage against Northwestern was never going to result in a catch.Allen stared down the sophomore Broyld in the slot before the snap and followed him 15 yards down the left sideline where Wildcats safety Traveon Henry rotated over to pick off the overthrow.“You’ve got to eat it,” Lester said.But Allen and the staff are confident those mistakes will be fixed. And with Wagner and Tulane to build up confidence against, they should.For those imploring their friends and family that Hunt is ready to play the role of savior, hold your horses. His 15-yard scoring scamper was exciting, but remember it came against second-teamers.And it was the result of a mistake by Hunt.“He made some mistakes that got under my skin,” Lester said. “The touchdown was a missed read. He ran the sideline and everyone was cheering and I grabbed him right out of the pile and said, ‘What are you doing?’”Once Hunt starts a game there’s no going back, barring injury. You can’t bench a senior for a redshirt sophomore then switch back.So for the immediate future it’s shine or sit for Drew Allen. He deserves this last chance and has every opportunity to make the most of it.Stephen Bailey is an assistant sports editor at The Daily Orange where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Stephen_Bailey1. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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