Once again, Greg Paulus has proven he should never be underestimated.
On Monday night, coach Doug Marrone named Paulus the starting quarterback at Syracuse. Paulus, who took a four-year hiatus from football while playing point guard for Duke, beat out sophomore Ryan Nassib, senior Cam Dantley and freshman Charley Loeb to earn the position.
At Duke, Paulus proved not to be as athletic as some had thought after he was named the 2004 Gatorade National Player of the Year in football. He couldn’t move his feet fast enough to stop ultra-quick opposing point guards from penetrating, so he was a liability defensively.
But what he lacked in pure ability, he made up for with hard work and savvy. He wasn’t an outstanding perimeter shooter when he entered Duke, but emerged into a dangerous 3-point threat. When the Blue Devils defeated No. 3-ranked North Carolina in 2008 at the Smith Center in one of the biggest games of his junior season, Paulus’ 6-for-8 performance from 3-point range was the difference.
Paulus also found other ways to beat people. He flopped to draw offensive fouls on his opponents, chased loose balls out of bounds and was the first player to the floor when an opponent lost control of the ball.
When Paulus was quarterbacking his high school team at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, his coach had to leave the locker room to find a pump for his footballs before the state Class AA championship game. The coach, Joe Casamento, returned to find his players in tears.
While Casamento was gone, Paulus had told each player on the team what they meant to him. Fired up beyond belief, CBA stormed out of the locker room and won the state title over a New Rochelle team led by a superb running back named Ray Rice, who’s now in his second year with the Baltimore Ravens.
Even if Paulus isn’t the most athletic in college football, that kind of leadership makes him special and gives him an incredible one-year opportunity to start at quarterback in his hometown.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Posted by Observer Sports at 9:51 AM