Giveaway Greg Will Start Against Akron

Ryan Maloney@RyanEMaloneyContributor IIOctober 11, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Greg Paulus #2 of the Syracuse Orangemen throws a pass during the second half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium  September 12, 2009 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State won 28-7. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Syracuse football coach Doug Marrone wasted little time announcing quarterback Greg Paulus as the Orange starter for their Oct. 24 game against Akron.  The former high school phenom was benched after a horrid first half on Saturday, in which he threw for just 30 yards and killed the first Syracuse drive with an interception to a defensive lineman.

Backup Ryan Nassib threw two touchdown passes in the second half, but it wasn't enough as the Orange fell to West Virginia for the eighth straight season, 34-13.

Paulus has thrown an interception in all but one of Syracuse's six games, including an end zone pick in overtime of a season-opening loss to Minnesota.  He has thrown ten interceptions on the season, five of which came in a 34-20 loss last week to South Florida.  He has been picked off by defensive linemen in two consecutive games.

Meanwhile, Nassib has been impressive in limited action. The red-shirt freshman completed four-of-five passes for 30 yards in his debut at Penn State on Sept. 12.  He threw his first collegiate touchdown pass on Saturday, a 50-yard strike to Mike Williams that brought the Carrier Dome crowd to life after Paulus failed to lead the Orange to a single point in the first half.  Nassib was named the team's starting quarterback in spring practice, but lost the job after Paulus received a special waiver from the NCAA to play a year of college football after playing four years of basketball at Duke University.

Marrone stated in Saturday's post game press conference that he benched Paulus because, "I just didn't feel comfortable with the way that Greg was responding to questions that I was asking him...on the sidelines."

Paulus would not elaborate on what those questions were. ”Whenever a player and a coach have a relationship, I think that's the way it should stay, whether it's in-game action or what a coach might say, individually, in a private meeting," Paulus said. "Coach and I are always having constant dialogue...talking about what we need in order to be successful. We're going to keep doing that."

Meanwhile, Nassib is doing his best to stay optimistic about his role on the team. “I trust the coach’s decision on what he thinks needs to be done,” Nassib said. "Any time my number can get called, I just need to make sure I’m ready.”

Nassib completed just 7-of-16 passes against West Virginia, but his receivers dropped three well-thrown balls. He threw his second career touchdown to former CBA wideout Marcus Sales with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. Nassib has yet to throw an interception in his first 21 passes.

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