Pasqualoni still won't name starting QB

Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni still isn't saying who will start at quarterback when the Orange open their 2004 campaign against Purdue this Sunday.

"We've chosen the direction we're going, but we'll wait and make that announcement later this week," Pasqualoni said. "I think it gives us this week to really finalize what we're doing. It is what we're comfortable with, so it makes sense for us to do that."

It has been a three-man race since spring between Xzavier Gaines, Joe Fields and Perry Patterson. RJ Anderson started every game for Syracuse last year.

None of the three separated himself from the pack last spring and the competition carried through until the summer.

"I think that they (Joe Fields, Perry Patterson and Xzavier Gaines) have all worked so hard," Pasqualoni said. "Each day in preseason camp there have been days that Xzavier has looked great and days when Perry has looked phenomenal, and days when Joe has looked very, very good."

Should Fields be the quarterback, the true freshman would certainly face some pre-game jitters. But Pasqualoni downplayed the idea of an inexperienced quarterback starting the season.

"My experience with kids at this level is once the ball is kicked off they want to compete and play," Pasqualoni said. "I think that is what will happen. There is obviously going to be some nervousness, but hopefully if we can move the ball and make some first downs, that will settle the quarterback down and give him some confidence."

Patterson made a miraculous recovery from an injured knee in 2003 and played six games last season. Still, Patterson had a noticeable limp in his appearances as well as in spring ball.

As for Xzavier Gaines, Pasqualoni told reporters that "he's still in there."

Center Matt Tarullo, who has worked with all three, said he felt comfortable no matter who starts.

"Last year our offensive line gave up only 12 or 13 sacks," Tarullo said, when asked about protecting a younger, inexperienced quarterback. "I am excited to try and match that number. Last year's offensive line was great and this year's is even better."

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