Long turns in poor performance in season finale; Lester discusses Hunt as part of improvements looking to next season

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Since becoming Syracuse’s offense coordinator five games into the season, Tim Lester’s overlooked games from the coach’s booth.As a result, his reactions to his offense’s struggles have gone unseen. That is until he stood on the sideline for the entirety of Syracuse’s (3-9, 1-7 Atlantic Coast) 28-7 loss to Boston College (7-5, 4-4) at Alumni Stadium on Saturday, as his offense — most notably freshman quarterback AJ Long — turned in one last dud to put a woeful season in perspective. Lester spent most of the game talking with Long and rallying his offense onto and off the field. But when Long threw an interception right into the arms of Eagles linebacker Mike Strizak on the second play of the second half, Lester hung his head. “The good thing is I get to go back and watch AJ,” Lester said. “… He just didn’t hit anybody.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe loss to Boston College wasn’t just the end to the Orange’s season, it was also an end of a two-week stretch that the SU coaching staff had advertised as an experimentation for its young quarterbacks. That includes Long and sophomores Austin Wilson and Mitch Kimble, but Long was the only one of the three to play meaningful snaps against the Eagles, which was the last time Syracuse will see any of the three against a live opponent until the program starts making decisions next August. And even Long wasn’t given much of a shot early on, as the Orange tried to establish a run game with running backs that haven’t scored a touchdown since the team’s opener against Villanova on Aug. 29. When Eagles quarterback Tyler Murphy hit wide receiver Sherman Alston for a 26-yard touchdown with 1:10 left in the first half, Boston College had 14 points and Syracuse had 9 passing yards. On the ensuing possession, the Orange ran George Morris II three times and didn’t attempt a pass as the second-quarter clock wound down. “We have a lot of work to do with those kids,” Shafer said of the three quarterbacks. “We’re just trying to win football games. We know a lot about these kids now because they’ve prepared for game planning and that sort of thing.”Lester said that Kimble’s struggles against Pittsburgh narrowed this week’s game plan down to Long and Wilson. The offensive coordinator added that being on the sideline gave him a worse look at the quarterbacks than he normally would have, but wanted to call plays from there to encourage the offense and work hands-on with Long and Wilson. Long, playing behind a fully healthy offensive line, finished 7-for-18 for 59 yards and an interception. Wilson came on for Syracuse’s last possession, down three touchdowns, and threw a pick on his second pass. “I have to say this is my worst game other than Clemson,” Long said. “I didn’t throw the ball well and didn’t make good reads. I had a lot of mental errors. If I had to grade it, it would be my worst game right next to Clemson.”With an hour and a half until kickoff on Saturday, Terrel Hunt limped around the middle of the field and threw passes to the Orange’s tight ends. The fractured fibula that has kept him out since Syracuse lost to Louisville on Oct. 3 kept him from moving too much. His passes were spirals but expectedly didn’t have much zip. He wore a blue jump suit, SU beanie and smiled as if it wasn’t the end of the line for a team that hasn’t been bowl eligible since Nov. 8. Because for him it’s not. Hobbled or not, Hunt was the best quarterback that took to the Alumni Stadium field for the Orange and that’s why Lester pointed to the will-be fifth-year senior when asked how he plans to improve his offense heading into the offseason. The Orange didn’t get a great look at any of its young quarterbacks against the Eagles, but Hunt’s expected return had Lester not too worried.Said Lester: “Having a fifth-year senior quarterback is going to change a lot.” Comments Published on November 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img

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