New Staff Leaves Big Impression

Austin Wilson sounds confident once again in the Syracuse staff and is trying to help other players see the positives he has seen. More on his talk with CuseNation.com inside.

With no player solidified as the next quarterback for Syracuse Orange football, adding talent in the 2013 class is imperative.

After previous verbal commit Zach Allen de-committed to join the TCU Horned Frogs instead, Austin Wilson became even more important to keep in Syracuse orange and blue.

Once the news broke of head coach Doug Marrone leaving with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett for the NFL's Buffalo Bills, Wilson took a step back to look at the situation.

But the Orange remained steadfast in retaining Wilson's commitment.

He opened up first about his meeting with defensive line coach Tim Daoust. "It went good," said Wilson. "I was just informing him on what I was thinking and, overall, what my feelings were about the whole situation."

"He said that he understood, but he was just reassuring me that everything's gonna stay primarily the same offensive-wise, and that those were tough losses, I mean, obviously with me with [Nathaniel] Hackett and [Doug] Marrone leaving," Wilson added, referring to the relationships he had built with the two coaches who had since decided to join the Bills.

Wilson left the meeting with Daoust still committed to the Orange, but unsure of whether or not he would take any official visits to other schools.

"Now after last night, when I got to talk with the new guys coming in, it reassured my feelings for Syracuse and really made me excited again, so that's good," Wilson remarked, referring to his conversations with Syracuse's new quarterbacks coach Tim Lester and offensive coordinator George McDonald.

He discussed his conversation with Lester first. "I just felt comfortable talking to him just like I was with coach Hackett almost," Wilson shared. "Like kind of a similar person. And just the way that his style as a quarterback whenever he played is pretty close to how I play. And I think that our priorities and everything are gonna mess pretty well together. And I think that he's gonna be able to help me a lot...what he's done in the past working with some guys reassured me and that from him playing in the NFL was also a positive."

With Lester joining the Orange coaching staff as strictly a quarterbacks coach, Wilson spoke on whether or not he liked the idea more than the hybrid position Hackett held. "I mean, before...I'd say it's a little better having your quarterback coach as your offensive coordinator because then they...know more specifically and are...around your quarterback all the time, and they can design your offense around that," said Wilson.

"Which I'm not saying it isn't gonna be that way with coach [George] McDonald because he's still gonna take input from what coach [Tim] Lester has to say about how the quarterback's gonna work," Wilson continued. "But...I mean now, he's (referencing Lester) not gonna be focused more on designing plays instead of...working on the little things with the quarterbacks and fundamentals and things."

Turning his focus to his conversation with McDonald, Wilson said that, "It was real good. He was just going over his style of offense, which him and coach Hackett, he said that they go way back to when they coached together at Stanford, and they still stay in close contact. He's gonna keep the same up-tempo offense that Hackett brought to the table last year, which I like."

Wilson expounded on McDonald's offense, saying that, "It's gonna be a quarterback-friendly offense, which is another positive. I'm gonna have my different reads and calls at the line of scrimmage that I can do, and try and keep it as simple as possible."

"I'll just say that he's coming from Arkansas, a big-time program," Wilson remarked. "He's a great wide receivers coach and helped develop [Green Bay Packers' wide receiver] Greg Jennings when he was at Western Michigan. I think he's gonna be able to help out. It stood out to me was that he's gonna help out and create and also recruit some dynamic wide receivers for me."

"He definitely likes to throw the ball around as well," Wilson continued. "So, just basically going back to the quarterback-friendly offense was just what stood out to me."

The quarterback commit was not clear of mind going into his phone conversations about Syracuse with Lester and McDonald. "My mind was just kinda spinning, to be honest," Wilson shared, "'cause I wasn't sure on how I was gonna with them and what I should do, what was best for me in this situation."

"After these conversations and hopefully after getting to know 'em more when they come to visit me, everything's gonna grow even more stronger, I won't have any second thoughts," Wilson stated.

As far as when Lester and McDonald will meet Wilson face-to-face, he shared that, "Both of 'em are planning on coming to see me on an in-home visit as well as at my school to visit my coach. And they said that nothing's set 'cause they only have about five or six coaches on the road visiting everybody right now. So, when they can both come down it'll probably be [in] about a week, they said."

After speaking with Lester and McDonald, Wilson answered as to whether his official visits elsewhere are on hold. "Yeah, definitely," Wilson stated. "I'm not talking to anybody right now."

As the initial National Letter of Intent signing date of February 6th is fast-approaching, Wilson talked about whether or not he is more confident now that Syracuse will indeed be the right place for him. Simply put, he remarked, "Yeah, definitely."

Wilson admitted that the new Syracuse staff has helped him to get even closer to joining the Orange. "I mean, that was one of the big things when all of this went down. I said that I just needed to be able to start getting in contact with the new coaches and go over what their plans were with me and everything, and it's definitely reassuring," Wilson expressed.

With the recruiting season in an ever-changing environment, Wilson spoke about keeping in touch with commits Tyler Provo and defensive end Isaiah Johnson. "Yeah, I mean I talk to them two, and I talked to Gus (Augustus) Edwards a little bit, and he's going on his official this weekend to Florida State," Wilson stated. "So, I mean, I'm just trying to talk to him as much as possible." "I went over my conversation [with the coaches] with him last night," Wilson continued. "I talked to Gus about that a little bit and try to just reassure him that I'm more comfortable with it and just trying to keep him to see the big part."

From what Wilson has gotten from Edwards, "He's telling me every time that he's still committed to the 'Cuse and that definitely we're his number one pick. But...in his mind, and I understand where he's coming from 'cause I was in the same position, that he feels like he deserves it, he owes it to himself to expand his opportunities and see if something else feels right, seeing that the people that recruited him are no longer there anymore."

Concerning what Wilson shared with Edwards about his talks with Lester and McDonald, Wilson said, "Just that the offense is gonna stay the same and that if he's worried about that, that he shouldn't be basically. He's still gonna be a dynamic role, a big role of the offense at running back, like with our two backs that were great this season, Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith. They both had a great season and they're gonna be a huge part of this offense still. And just trying to tell him as much as possible that it's gonna stay the same and he should be happy with here and kinda tell him he should be staying close to home. But, other than that, just trying to reassure him."


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