Facebook Twitter Google+ One team scored 40-plus points and the other was shut out in Eric Dungey’s first snaps as a freshman quarterback, a game he found himself in because of an injury to the starter.He was 15, manning the Lakeridge (Oregon) High School offense against powerhouse Canby (Oregon) in 2011. Lakeridge lost 41-0, forcing a play-in game just to make the 32-team state tournament.“That was getting thrown into the wolves right there,” Dungey said. “But it kind of prepared me for what this is right now.”What this is right now is what nobody expected.Fifth-year senior quarterback Terrel Hunt tearing his Achilles just seven minutes and 27 seconds into the season. A true freshman taking the reins, surrounded by intrigue and uncertainty, guiding Syracuse to a 47-0 win against Rhode Island. A semi-circle of cameras pinning the 19-year-old up against a wall as he gives brief, soft-spoken answers about prepping for a conference opponent just four days after being thrust onto the Carrier Dome turf.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNobody in Dungey’s inner-circle thought he’d play this year – his mom, dad and high school coach were certain he’d redshirt. At 6-foot-3, his hush is a surprise, his humility an added bonus. Coaches rave about his windmill dunks on the hardwood and mobility on the gridiron. A versatile athleticism complemented by an aura that draws respect from elders he now has to lead.A year ago, Dungey was 2,798 miles away without his name attached to a college, starting a senior season in which SU offensive coordinator Tim Lester needed to see polish. Now, the keys to a reformed offense lie in his hands as Syracuse tries to return to relevance.“Eric Dungey has paid his dues,” fifth-year senior center Rob Trudo said. “He’s our quarterback now.”Syracuse wasn’t going to take a quarterback in the 2015 class, but Lester expanded the search once three-star QB holdover Alin Edouard’s arrival became cloudy. Recruiting director Eric White scoured major recruiting sites and compiled a list of the top 150 uncommitted signal-callers. Lester watched film on each one and Dungey’s tape stuck out.On a visit to Syracuse during last season, Dungey watched practice from the sideline. Scott Shafer approached him to survey his thoughts, and Dungey astutely responded along the lines of, “So coach, ‘Seattle’ is double slant and ‘Fargo’ is clear-out flat,” clarifying what plays coincided with certain calls.“Most young men would say, ‘Oh yeah coach, everything looks good,’” Shafer said. “Right then, I knew, hey, he’s a locked-in guy that watches the game differently than most young people.”That observant, intellectual demeanor lends itself to Dungey’s placidity off the field. His mother, Cindy, says he’s always had a quietness to him, and his father, Tim, says he won’t take over a room at first.Even after heroics, Dungey is tame. He’d just thrown a game-winning touchdown on the last play against Lakeridge’s rival his junior year. Facing the media postgame, Dungey only gave credit to his coaches and the opposing players.“We all kind of followed suit,” Dungey’s high school friend, Andrew DeMonico said. “That was one of the best examples of leadership I’ve ever seen in a high school kid ever.”Speaking with reporters Tuesday, one of Dungey’s answers centered around staying focused for his teammates. Another around Lester and Shafer giving him confidence. Other questions elicited immense praise for Hunt as a mentor and how all to expect on Saturday is for him to do the best for his teammates.Cliché, but by the book. No answer given with any aggression, just a tranquility masking his football flare.“No one wants a quarterback coming in running their mouth right away,” said Taylor Barton, Dungey’s private quarterback coach. “You’ve got to go earn your stripes, and that’s what Eric’s done.”Between the hashmarks is a gunslinger that holds his high school records for most single-season passing yards (2,395), passing touchdowns (22) and career passing yards (10,124). Outside those, a dart with cleats – initially hidden by his height – that ran for 982 yards and 15 touchdowns last year.SU coaches voice full confidence in not having to scale back the playbook, but even Dungey didn’t think he’d become immersed in it this quickly.“When we were visiting with the coaches during all of our visits and what not, (redshirting) was the plan,” Cindy said. “I think Eric had embraced that because he saw the value of having the opportunity to get another year of education paid for.”Even though she thought redshirting was still a possibility as recent as last Friday afternoon, Cindy was planning to fly from Oregon to Syracuse for the game. Eric told her not to – even if he got in at the end of a blowout – since the airfare was too steep. It was the first football game of his she’s ever missed, but now she’ll be seated in the Dome bleachers when her son trots out for his first collegiate start on Saturday.Tim wishes Hunt was still the starter and Eric was redshirting, acknowledging his son will be humbled in the coming weeks, but knowing he can handle it. Lakeridge head coach John Parke expected his former prodigy to get in for the last 15 seconds against the Rams once he was named the No. 2, but now finds himself hoping an increased bulk just isn’t too much.A situation pulled from the realm of the unrealistic is now countered with cautious optimism.Before playing Rhode Island, Lakeridge principal Jennifer Schiele texted Dungey reminding him to slide when he escapes the pocket, which Lester noted he did. Parke mentions how even as a freshman, Dungey served as a role model to older players and how it mimics what he’ll be tasked with.His Lakeridge days have relevance now, just on a bigger stage. It’s a platform the teenager with peach fuzz creeping up his neck now finds himself at the center of, and one that showcases him at the helm of a new era in Syracuse football.“I’ve always been more of the, ‘Let’s see what happens; if it happens, great,’ all the way through high school,” Tim said. “To be honest with you, it’s surreal.” Comments Published on September 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman
Alexander: Baseball’s ‘unwritten rules’ need to be erased Alexander: Playoff series takes a turn Clippers weren’t expecting • For what it’s worth, Iowa has been designated as the home team for Friday night’s Holiday Bowl against USC at The Stadium Formerly Known As Jack Murphy. There will indeed be a huge assemblage of Iowans on hand, and here’s one reason why: The high in Iowa City on Friday will be 43 degrees. In San Diego, it’ll be 60 during the day, 57 and clear at the 5 p.m. kickoff.(They might consider that balmy. I’ll be bundled up.)• So how many USC fans will show up? This will be the first test of Trojans supporters’ devotion as the Clay Helton administration continues. If the amount of Cardinal and Gold in the stands is small, it won’t change Mike Bohn’s decision to retain Helton, but it could speed the process of staff decisions, which began with offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s contract extension last week but could include a couple other coordinator changes soon after the bowl game.• This was Helton from the transcript of Thursday’s pre-bowl news conference in San Diego: “Since the day that Dr. Carol Folt, our president, and Mike Bohn, our athletic director, have come on campus, I have felt nothing but support. You know, for them to be able to evaluate a season and say: ‘Hey, Coach Helton is our guy, we want to give him the tools and resources and support needed to be able to take that next step from a Top-25 team to a national championship team,’ is one that as a head coach, you’re very appreciative for.”Related Articles Alexander: Lakers-Blazers is not your typical No. 1 vs. No. 8 series The world according to Jim:• Pick one. The Dodgers, from managing partner Mark Walter and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman on down, are:(a) Timid.(b) Cheap. (c) Not as obsessed with winning a World Series as they should be (i.e., the way their fan base is).(d) Smart enough to avoid long-term commitments that become more onerous as players get older.(e) All of (a), (b) and (c).• Among a fan base increasingly frustrated by October failures, not to mention rising ticket prices and a TV contract that brings in about $332 million per year but still leaves a significant chunk of SoCal viewers without access to the team’s channel, (d) won’t get very many votes.Sunday’s loss of free-agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu to the Toronto Blue Jays – in which the Dodgers were reportedly unwilling to match the average annual value the Jays offered the left-hander with their four-year, $80 million deal – is just the latest indignity. The Dodgers could use another established starting pitcher to stand tall in October. Alexander: Coping with the desolation, and silence, of empty seats Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Alexander: Lakers fans, it’s been a long wait None of this satisfies many USC boosters. But keep in mind what we’ve mentioned before: This isn’t a lifetime appointment. The prudent thing for Bohn, who had less than a month of up-close evaluation after arriving in early November, was to stay the course with the head coach and look for ways to improve in other areas.If we’re still having this conversation by the end of next season, the angry villagers might get their [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Instead, not only did they whiff on Gerrit Cole – see category (a) – and lose out on Stephen Strasburg, Dallas Keuchel and Madison Bumgarner, they let a pivotal member of their own rotation get away.• But this couldn’t have been unexpected, could it? At some point, baseball’s pundits – the national guys, like Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Buster Olney and Bob Nightengale, who are generally well plugged into negotiations and transactions – will have to stop listing the Dodgers as one of those teams “interested” in various free agents, or “working” on blockbuster deals for All-Stars such as Francisco Lindor and Mookie Betts.• What’s the point? The Dodgers have become baseball’s stalking horse. They might express initial interest, they might even drive up the bidding a bit, but at a certain point, it’s a given they’ll drop out. Whether it’s years and dollars for free agents or prospects in trade talks, the price will inevitably be too steep.It is a small-market philosophy in an operation with big-market revenue. Is it any wonder it infuriates Dodgers fans, for whom division titles become less fulfilling with each postseason hiccup? Anyone out there still think those 106 regular-season victories in 2019 held any meaning after Howie Kendrick struck in Game 5 of the NL Division Series?• Maybe we should have sensed this early in the ownership of Walter and the rest of the Guggenheim group, even as they initially dug out from the Frank McCourt reign of error and raised the payroll. Asked once about long-term commitments to pitchers, Walter said, simply: “Pitchers break.”That, and the Dodgers’ risk-averse methodology, probably helps explain their reluctance to commit to $20 million or so for Ryu in his age 36 season, which is what Toronto has done. (Maybe they should keep that in mind when it comes to their continued faith in Kenley Jansen as their closer.)• All of that said, there are still seven weeks or so before pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch. Maybe by then, Blake Treinen won’t be the team’s marquee acquisition.And yes, World Series titles aren’t won in December and January. But can you blame Dodgers fans for suspecting they can be lost in the dead of winter?• Anyone else experience vertigo while watching the ESPN/ABC telecast of Lakers-Clippers Christmas night? The deep thinkers at the networks decided the marquee game was the ideal place to experiment with their Skycam and overhead shots during live action. Our view: Save them for replays.• This is why we enjoy our dealings with Doc Rivers: It’s a no artifice zone. Ask a question, you get an honest answer. For instance, he was asked during Wednesday’s postgame scrum, following the buildup, if it was in fact just another game.“Now it is,” he said.
Jazz rookie Grayson Allen was getting playing time during garbage time Wednesday night in Portland when he found himself in the way of driving Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu. Allen instinctively did this: MORE: Twitter was also there for Allen vs. Trae Young in summer leagueThe infraction did not go unnoticed on the internet. Allen was quickly trending on Twitter. A sample of the content:Grayson Allen just gave Aminu the Phenomenal Forearm. pic.twitter.com/sHqMly5vkm— Dave Schilling (@dave_schilling) January 31, 2019″The White Flag” Grayson Allen is an Intercontinental Champion waiting to happen https://t.co/nqK0VcJxlY— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) January 31, 2019I love how much Blazers fans hate Grayson Allen already. Lol.— Tucker Stevenson (@tuckerstevenson) January 31, 2019wait, the Jazz have Grayson Allen and Joe Ingles? That’s like having a frat star and his Dad.— Max Denning (@TheMaxDenning) January 31, 2019Me when Grayson Allen gets a flagrant and the whole world freaks out pic.twitter.com/9cyCpGFNIL— RGiss (@rgiss11) January 31, 2019Allen came into the game averaging 4.2 points and 10.5 minutes in 23 games (one start) during his first NBA season. Grayson Allen appears to be handing out phenomenal forearms pic.twitter.com/S4krwGoThQ— Curtis Rogers (@AKidFromKent) January 31, 2019Aminu was fine, if a bit stunned. Allen, the former Duke star, was charged with a Flagrant 1 foul.