Posted: 6:47 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, 2013
By Sean Keeley
Paulus was our guy for one campaign. He was basically in our lives for five months. It's been four years since he left SU and yet, given what's occurring at the moment, what he was able to accomplish in that short time might have been worthy of more praise than it received.
These days, a college player using an extra year of eligibility to transfer to a new school is commonplace (or somewhat common, at least). When Greg Paulus transferred from Duke to Syracuse following a four-year basketball career, it was a curiosity. Most people didn't even know you could do that. Most people still don't understand how you can do it.
Paulus entered camp in 2009 battling a sophomore QB who had been handed the keys to the kingdom just weeks prior (sound familiar?). He eventually won the job, as expected (sound familiar?). In his first game, which was against a Big Ten opponent, he struggled but had a chance to grab victory late only to throw a back-breaking interception (Does any of this sound familiar to you???). He also lost to Penn State (Jesus, this MUST sound familiar to you...). He would then have a chance to redeem himself against Northwestern (MY GOD, THIS HAS TO SOUND FAMILIAR. I MEAN, IF IT DOESN'T, SWEET MERCY...).
Here's where the script changes. Paulus beat Northwestern. Well, Syracuse beat Northwestern. But Paulus was a huge part of that, throwing for 346 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a third. It was a monster statistical performance and proof that The Greg Paulus Experiment had potential, if nothing else.
I'd love to tell you Paulus led the Orange to glory, a bowl game and accolades a-plenty. But, no. The Orange would finish 4-8 that season, just about as they were expected to. They did beat Rutgers, so, that was nice. But Doug Marrone's first season was always going to be a wash anyway.
Some people might be saying the same about SU's first season in the ACC.
For Paulus, even if he didn't earn the wins, he certainly earned the stats. He had a then-school-record 193 completions out of 285 attempts for a still-school-record .677 completion percentage. He also threw for 13 touchdowns and 2,024 yards. Sure, he also had 14 interceptions, though if you got rid of the South Florida game, that number drops to nine.
Paulus had some stinkers in there, for sure (the South Florida loss, the Louisville loss). But when you look at what Drew Allen has done (or not done) so far, given the fact that he's actually been around football the past four years, doesn't that make the fact that Paulus was able to seem...decent, kinda amazing? Especially when you factor in that he was playing with the last vestiges of the Greg Robinson Era around him.
(And let's not even get into the fact that, if not for a handful of mistakes, that 4-8 Syracuse team could have easily finished 6-6).
Like Paulus, Allen's start in a Syracuse uniform has been a rough one. Like Paulus, the drumbeat to give his backup some playing time is getting louder. As for where Drew Allen goes from here, we'll have to wait and see. If the Oklahoma transfer is able to turn things around and simply look competent on the field, perhaps that will have to be good enough. If he's able to take Syracuse bowling, all the more impressive.
Until then, Drew Allen lives in Greg Paulus's shadow. Can you believe that?