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Local college football: SU backup QB Loeb shows interest in coaching

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Syracuse University football fans have watched Charley Loeb stalk the sidelines in a headset, signaling plays in for the past five years.

If SU head coach Scott Shafer has it his way, Loeb will be on the Orange sideline for years to come.

Loeb, a fifth-year senior and career backup quarterback, has expressed interest in coaching when his eligibility runs out after this season, and Shafer said that he’d like to add Loeb to his staff as a graduate assistant.

The first-year coach called Loeb a leader of this year’s Orange (5-4 overall, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which will play at unbeaten No. 2 Florida State (9-0, 7-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

“Charley is a special person. He’s really one of the most unselfish people I’ve been around,” Shafer said.

“He’s such a team player and he’s always encouraging to his teammates, including the guys he’s competed with. From a character point of view, there’s nothing that I could say about him that isn’t just so positive,” Shafer added.

Loeb has backed up Greg Paulus and Ryan Nassib in the past, and this year, has played behind Terrel Hunt and Drew Allen.

He was essentially out of the mix to start before preseason camp this summer, but still took command of the locker room as the team’s longest-tenured player.

“I’ve been here a really long time,” Loeb said. “I think I have a lot of experience I’ve been able to share with the guys. It really is a great bunch of guys and we have a bunch of tough guys that like being around each other, and to me, I’ve really just been able to be with them and enjoy the season so far.”

Loeb — who has completed 8 of just 11 pass attempts for 73 yards in his SU career — said he just recently considered a future in coaching.

“I had never really thought in terms of, after football,” Loeb said. “Everybody thinks you’re going to play in the NFL and everybody wants to, and I guess it’s something that I’ve maybe subconsciously thought about before.”

He added: “It seems like a logical choice because I do just love being around football. I’ve been around it all my life and I love being around the guys. And being with them every day and doing what you love, it seems like a nice fit.”

Loeb, much like Shafer, grew up in the coaching business. His stepfather, Matt Rose, earned his living as a Division III football coach in Maryland.

Shafer’s father was a longtime high school coach in Ohio. Shafer is also a former quarterback, which Loeb said has helped the two relate to each other.

“The thing about coaching is: Most of them are former players,” Loeb said. “They understand how you feel and they never really grow out of being a player. Every coach wants to still be playing. You take a lot of the same attributes that you have at quarterback and on the football team, and they really transition easily into coaching. In terms of being a great communicator, in terms of keeping your composure during a game situation, you have to be that calming force and help get guys to keep their head straight. I think our current coaches are great at that and I think that’s something I’ve taken from them.”

Loeb said he is unsure of how quickly he’d like to start his coaching career after he turns in his No. 17 jersey.

He has been on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll every semester at SU and is a three-time member of the Big East’s All-Academic Team. He is likely to receive the same honor from the ACC at season’s end.

Loeb is pursuing a master’s degree in instructional design and development and evaluation. He already has an undergraduate degree in psychology.

“I’m not quite sure (about the future). Obviously right now, I’m not sure where this season will finish,” Loeb said. “Immediately what I know is I’ll be working toward finishing my master’s degree this coming spring.”

INJURY REPORT

Freshman wide receiver Brisly Estime will not play on Saturday due to an upper body injury, Shafer revealed in his injury report released Thursday night.

Running back Prince-Tyson Gulley and safety Durell Eskridge, both of whom left last Saturday’s game against Maryland with injuries, did not appear on the report and are expected to play without limitation.

PLAYER CONNECTIONS

SU has 15 players from Florida on its roster, and several were high school teammates of Florida State players.

SU’s Eskridge lived with FSU running back Devonta Freeman for a short period of time when the two were teammates at Miami Central High School. SU linebackers Marqez Hodge and Oliver Vigille also went to Miami Central HS.

Other high school connections in Saturday’s game are: Miramar HS (SU’s Keon Lyn, Sean Avant and FSU’s Rashad Gholston); Atlantic Community HS (SU’s Brisly Estime and FSU’s Keith Bryant); Tampa Catholic HS (SU’s Jeremi Wilkes and FSU’s Christian Green, Michael Sheerhorn); Miami Beach HS (SU’s Ritchy Desir and FSU’s Pierre Jolicouer); and Dwyer HS (SU’s Julian Whigham and FSU’s Nick O’Leary).

Shafer discussed his reasoning for recruiting heavily out of Florida.

“The Florida kids travel well. They go to school and they play,” Shafer said. “There are other pockets of the country that I’ve recruited where you’d have talented kids in high school but they didn’t play well or they’d transfer out. They didn’t have that staying power that a Florida kid, especially a south Florida kid has.”

RISING UP THE RANKS

The Orange has risen to second in the ACC in rushing, averaging 202.7 yards per game and 237 in conference play.

The SU defense, which hasn’t given up a touchdown in its past two games, is second in the ACC and 10th nationally with 7.8 tackles-for-loss per game.

It also ranks seventh in the nation in third-down defense, 14th in sacks and is one of four teams that have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher.

Sportswriter Josh St.Croix covers SU football for the Times. He can be reached at jstcroix@wdt.net

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