He's still a few days away from practicing in full pads, but Duke-guard-turned-Syracuse-quarterback Greg Paulus has already managed to steal the spotlight up in New York. It shouldn't come as a surprise, either -- not when there's otherwise no buzz around Syracuse football and Paulus is, at least for now, the most intriguing storyline on the team. Who cares if he hasn't taken a snap in five years? He's Greg Paulus!
That was the rationale on Big East media day, when questions about Paulus were a dime a dozen, and it carried over through the Orange's first practice of the year, when Paulus got the celebrity treatment from local media. Even on our Twitter feed, the four most-popular links from the past week were Paulus-related. (Hey, isn't Duke Football starting soon?)
The jury's still out on Paulus' place on the Orange depth chart, but the early verdict of public opinion is in, and it's almost entirely positive. Enough so for Paulus to usurp two other quarterbacks and be the starter come opening day? Too soon to tell for that.
Some quotes (and a video!) from the Syracuse Post-Standard after the jump:
"I was concerned (about his passing)," Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. " I knew all the areas were going to be just fine - the ability to handle the offense and the ability to go on the field - I felt good about that because of the position he played in college as far as being a point guard (at Duke). I felt good about him being able to have some field command. He's been a quarterback in high school at a high level. I felt good about that. What I didn't know was exactly how he could throw the football.
"I mean, he gets up on his toes. He throws a nice ball. It's catchable. He has a good enough arm to play at this level and win football games.
"Now, it's a matter of, let's see who the best player is for us to win."
"I'm real excited to have Greg here," said senior tight end Mike Owen. "He's a natural born leader. He comes from Duke. He won a lot of games at Duke. He knows what it takes to be a winner. He's a natural born leader. He played point guard at Duke. He knows how to lead a team. On and off the field, he's a leader with us."
"I knew Greg was a leader when he first got here. He wanted to get comfortable with guys. He made those relationships. As time went on, he started being a comfortable leader.... To read all about him, but you know four years off, he was a little rusty at first, but, I can see how he was a national player of the year," Owen said.
Meanwhile, if the idea of Paulus in a Syracuse helmet still hasn't sunk in, try sitting through an audio slideshow of the former point guard on the gridiron. You'll even learn that Paulus tossed around a medicine ball instead of a pigskin on his first day in the Carrier Dome.
Surreal? Sure. But in this comeback attempt, what isn't?