I wrote the other day that I expected Greg Paulus to be Syracuse University’s starting quarterback by the third game of the season, and maybe even by the first game.
For once, I was right. SU coach Doug Marrone named the former Syracuse CBA star and Duke University point guard the starter Monday, fully 18 days before the season opener against Minnesota Sept. 5 at the Carrier Dome. That’s probably because Marrone was sick to death of answering questions about the situation and wanted to get the issue out of the way.
I think Paulus will be a huge plus for the Orange, even if he hasn’t played football since 2004. I’ve enumerated his strengths earlier. His only weakness is not having played in that time, and I think he has the physical ability and mental capacity to make up for that.
I find it laughable that some people think Marrone wants to start Paulus in order to sell tickets, It’s funnier still, or strange, really, that some anonymous Big East coaches say they can’t wait to get their hands on him because he won’t be able to read coverages or withstand blitzes. Marrone might want to sell tickets, sure, but what he REALLY wants is to win football games, which will sell more tickets in the long run. You win football games by putting the best possible players on the field. Marrone might be wrong, but he feels Paulus is his best quarterback. And it’s not about building for the future, the argument some people use against Paulus because he has just one season to play football. It’s about doing your best to win every game right now. It’s that simple. As to the anonymous coaches who think this is a joke and that Paulus will not be able to play, hey, they could be right, but probably not. I don’t know why any coach would be so stupid to comment negatively in any case. What is to be gained from that? I’m sure most of the coaches in the league would want him on their team, as a starter or a backup. There is no downside to having as much competition at every position as you can.
I have so special attachment to Greg Paulus. I’ve only spoken to him as a member of a herd of reporters. I watched him play basketball several times at the Knights of Columbus when he was a little kid, and watched him on tape several times when he was playing high school basketball and football. I’d like to see him do well, yes, but I think any coach should – has to - put his best players on the field or court. I think Paulus is the best at his position at SU, and I think he’ll make a positive difference for Orange football.
Also, my respects to Mac Bristol, the old Hamilton College football captain who passed away early today.
Mac was a direct descendant of one of the original settlers of Clinton and founders of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy and Hamilton College. His grandfather helped form Bristol-Myers, and the family has been one of the college’s key benefactors for 200 years. Mac played for future Hall of Fame coach Forest Evashevski at Hamilton, and was a teammate and classmate of Milt Jannone, the college’s first football All-American. He was a longtime booster of the football team, and donated the rocking chair that goes to the winner of the Hamilton-Middlebury team each season.
I knew Mr. Bristol only slightly – he didn’t like you calling him Mr. Bristol, and wasn’t being falsely self-effacing when insisted on being called “Mac” - talked football with him a few times, and was invited to his luxury suite at Giants Stadium for Jets-Bills game a couple of years ago, which was just terrific. Our Bills won, his Jets lost, but we didn’t even think about gloating!
Mac’s death is a big loss for Hamilton College, for the football team, and for anyone who knew him, but he had a long, good life. We’ll miss him.