The Syracuse Orange football team starts their first season under head coach Dino Babers on Friday. Heading into the opener, the quarterback position is one that has a lot of questions despite a returning starter.
Who Will Start?
Cam MacPherson took the starting spot during spring football, partially aided by an injury to Josh Parris. Still, his emergence makes the tight end spot something to watch this fall. MacPherson may not be exceptional at any one thing, but is a solid all around tight end.
Parris may be the most talented and athletic tight end on the roster. The question is whether he can regain the starting gig, one that he has had a strangle hold on when healthy.
A key to Parris reemerging as the starter may be his blocking consistency. That is something to watch heading into the season. Not only who starts, but the rotation. Even if Parris starts, MacPherson will play. And vice versa.
The tight end position is one looking for someone to emerge. Expectations entering the season are low regarding receiving production.
Can a Walk-On Step Up?
Kyle Kleinberg moved from inside linebacker to tight end in the middle of camp. The move seems to have gone well, as Kleinberg looked like a natural at the position during the open portions of practice. He routinely made nice catches and moved quite well in and out of his breaks in route running.
With so many questions surrounding the tight end position, and the seeming lack of someone emerging as the guy, Kleinberg has the opportunity to become a factor. The key will be blocking.
Yes he is athletic and yes he has good speed for the position. But consistency in his blocking technique and execution will either allow him to or prevent him from seeing the field.
Moore and Not Much More
Behind Parris and MacPherson is Kendall Moore. Moore is an exceptional blocker and superb athlete. However, he struggles with consistency catching the football. That has kept him from emerging as the starter. Will he be able to improve in order to become a bigger weapon in this offense?
Trey Dunkelberger has moved back to tight end after switching to defensive end this spring. Tight end is his more natural position, but he added weight in order to play on the defensive line. The key for Dunkelberger is shedding that weight in order to regain his athleticism that made him a big time junior college receiving threat.