On Terrel Hunt’s Ejection
Much has already been said and written about Terrel Hunt’s punch and subsequent ejection in Friday night’s game against Villanova. Legendary #44, Floyd Little, expressed his disappointment in Hunt’s decision making, which is likely punishment enough by most metrics. Head Coach Scott Shafer said that the team handled it internally and that no further punishment would be necessary.
However, an interesting debate has emerged among Syracuse fans regarding whether further punishment should be dealt. Most abide by the Head Coach’s decision that Hunt learned his lesson, realized that he put the team’s victory in jeopardy, and let down the team and community. Others feel that this teachable moment is incomplete, and that more action is necessary to both send a message and drive home the point that this type of on-the-field behavior is inappropriate and that leaders should know better.
Personally, I could go either way on this. There is no doubt in my mind that Hunt learned his lesson and the likelihood of him losing his cool in a future game should be significantly reduced. I applaud Hunt’s passion and his competitiveness, and hopefully moving forward he’ll respond with more maturity.
Having said that, I would fully support making Hunt sit out for the 1st half the game at Central Michigan and actually think that there is a potential advantage to this strategy.
First, making Terrel Hunt sit out the first half (and thereby the equivalent of an entire game, including the 2nd half the VU game) sets a high standard for the team. Also should the NCAA or ACC try to implement further disciplinary actions, there is a likelihood that SU’s self-discipline will be greater-than or equal to what the other organizations would implement.
Secondly, this will give Offensive Coordinator, George McDonald, the opportunity to game plan an entire half specifically for back-up QB, Austin Wilson, who played well enough considering that he was practically thrown into the mix without any preparation or planning. According to McDonald, 90% of the gameplan was for Hunt and when he was ejected, the gameplan went with him. Forcing McDonald and Co. to prepare a contingency plan. To paraphrase legendary football coach Chuck Noll:
Pressure is for the unprepared.
Let’s get a game plan in place for Wilson and never have to worry about “what if” should he need to go in as Hunt’s replacement, whether because of ejection, injury, or just having such a good lead that we don’t need our starter out there any longer.
Lastly, putting Wilson as the starter forces Central Michigan to gameplan against two scenarios: 1) Austin Wilson in the first half, and 2) Terrel Hunt in the 2nd. The two QBs are very different in their styles and forcing CMU to break down film and practice for both QBs could have a huge impact on their preparations.
Of course, there are those that will say, “But without Hunt in the 1st half, we run the risk of falling too far behind”.
This is true, but not because of our offense. As mentioned in the season preview, SU is replacing two key components on their defense (Bromley and Spruill), and until the defensive unit learns to contain QBs, make solid tackles, and not get beat in the secondary, then they are the greater liability for the team (second maybe only to coaching at this point).
If Hunt starts, I have no problem with that. The kid likely learned his lesson and will come out fired up and will want to make-it-up to his team. But if Syracuse wanted to, they could leverage it for their own advantage.
h/t – kotite4ever