Four years ago, Greg Paulus was enjoying a prep All-American senior season.
Fast forward to 2009, and Paulus is attempting to resurrect a once-promising future in football at Syracuse.
Here are three reasons why Paulus may or may not succeed.
Why Paulus may succeed:
1. You don’t become the highest rated prep quarterback in the nation for no reason. Paulus threw 152 touchdowns in his career at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, NY. The guy knows how to toss the rock, and even if he retains a fraction of the talent he had coming out of high school, it will be an improvement for the Orange.
2. He has one of the most enthusiastic coaches in all of college football. Doug Marrone has spent his career in preparation for this job. His passion for the Syracuse program runs remarkably deep, and he would not have named Paulus the starter if he weren’t absolutely sure it would give the Orange its best chance to win.
3. Anytime you spend four years under the tutelage of Mike Krzyzewski, you will come out as a better competitor than most. Even if it was on the hardwood, Paulus’ time at Duke playing for one of the most well-respected coaches in the country will pay big dividends in crunch time this fall.
Why Paulus may falter
1. The Big East featured six of the top 50 defenses in the country last season, and that was against some pretty good opposing offenses in the conference. Super stars like George Selvie (USF) and Reed Williams (WVU) lead defenses that should continue to be stout in 2009.
2. It’s not like Paulus has Dez Bryant to throw to, or Jonothan Dwyer to hand off to. Mike Williams is a solid young receiver with big-play potential, but he is rather unpolished. Decorated running back Curtis Brinkley has graduated, and a stable of young, unproven players are vying to replace him. If the Orange can’t establish a respectable running game, defenses will be pinning their ears back, coming after Paulus early and often.
3. Rust. Even with all his accomplishments as a prep quarterback, he still has not thrown a football in an organized game in four years. The Orange’s schedule doesn’t cut him any early slack, either. Minnesota and Penn State square off with Paulus’ bunch the first two weeks, both threats to challenge in the Big Ten. The new, old quarterback better adjust to the speed of FBS football that first week, because if not, the Nittany Lions could be picking him off left and right.