Redshirt sophomore Ryan Nassib assumed the Syracuse starting quarterback job this season and is off to a solid beginning. Nassib is completing 54.8 percent of his passes, averaging 212 passing yards per game and has three touchdowns against two interceptions.
I caught up with Nassib this week as the Orange (1-1) prepare to take on Maine in their home opener:
How would you evaluate your play after your first two starts this season?
Ryan Nassib: I think I'm doing all right. I've still made a couple of rookie mistakes, but I'm catching up with it. The game is starting to slow down a lot more. As the game goes on, I start to feel more and more comfortable and I start seeing a lot more stuff. I feel like as the games go on into the season, I'll get better and the games will only get slower.
Do you feel like you have command of the huddle and it's your team?
RN: We've got a lot of young guys on the team and a lot of guys I came in with. Being the quarterback, I kind of feel like it has to be my team. Ryan Bartholomew is the offensive captain, and he's in charge of the offensive line. I feel like I'm in charge of everybody. I have to know what everybody is doing and make sure they're all in the right spot at the right time at any given moment.
How would you say the offense is doing as a whole in this first year with head coach Doug Marrone as the offensive coordinator?
RN: I think we're doing well. We're moving the ball well and having some good drives. We've hit some big plays but we've also missed some big ones that are still out there. We still haven't punched it in enough for touchdowns. I feel like we're settling too much for field goals and field goal attempts. But I think we're only going to get better as the season gets on. We have a lot of young kids and first-year starters, and the young kids will start making less and less mistakes, and the growing pains will get smaller and smaller.
Last week, you guys took a 10-0 lead at Washington only to lose 41-20. How disappointing was that?
RN: With any loss it's going to hurt, and we did come out with a strong lead like we always focus on each week. Give credit to Washington. They're a great team and they did a lot of good things and made lot of good plays. We just didn't make enough of them. I guess we became complacent after taking the lead, and you can't do that against a good team like Washington.
What did you learn about yourselves in that game?
RN: We learned that we are a good football team. We went up against a pretty strong Pac-10 team and it's not we like got our butts kicked. If you take a couple of one-play scores, one-drive touchdowns off and give us a couple of third downs we felt like we were a half-inch short on, we feel like we're still in that game. It felt like we got better as that game went on.
You're finally coming home now to play Maine. Coach Marrone said this week the program isn't good enough to worry about trap games. What's your mindset going into this week?
RN: I'm going into it with the same mindset I have every game. I'll prepare the best I can, and we'll play whatever team we have this week like it's the best team in the country. We're preparing the same and practicing the same and treating this game like every game.
Do some of the FCS upsets that have happened -- like James Madison over Virginia Tech, Jacksonville State over Ole Miss -- have your attention this week?
RN: On any given day in this sport, anything can happen. You've got to have respect for anyone who plays this game. So we've just got to do what we do and execute and make sure Saturday is our day.
You've got these next two at home, with Colgate after Maine. Do you feel like you can use this to get on a little bit of a roll?
RN: That's the goal. We go in every week expecting to play our best and giving whatever team we play everything we have. We do have these two games at home, and victories in both these games can really jump-start us into the Big East.