SYRACUSE Ryan Nassib ranks in the top five of nearly every major career statistical passing category in Syracuse University football history.
And yet, as the fifth-year senior enters his third and final season as the Oranges starting quarterback, most of the discussion surrounding him is about his inability to generate enough big plays, his ineffectiveness in sustaining drives, and the fact that he couldnt lead Syracuse to a win in any of its final five games to become bowl eligible last season.
But Nassib in the low, understated tone that has come to define him said that he simply doesnt care.
As long as I got the respect of my teammates and my coaches, thats all I really care about, said Nassib, a 6-foot-2, 229-pound, West Chester, Pa. native.
Because at the end of the day, those are the ones that you play for, those are the ones that are going to have your back when you do struggle or you do triumph. People on the outside, theyre with you when youre high and theyre against you when youre low. So, ever since I got here, thats not really something Ive been concerned about, he added.
Nassib ranks third on Syracuses all-time career list in completions (497), and completion percentage (.590, 497 of 841).
He is fourth all-time with 5,441 career passing yards, and should catch Don McPherson for third a few games into this season, which begins with a noon game against Northwestern this Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
He is fourth on the all-time passing touchdowns list with 44, just four scores away from tying Marvin Graves for the No. 2 spot. He is unlikely to catch Donovan McNabb and his 77 touchdown passes for the most all time.
Last year, Nassib set team single-season records with 259 completions and 2,685 passing yards. His 22 touchdown passes tied him with McPherson (1987) and McNabb (1998) for the most in a single year.
I know what Ryan is capable of doing, and I respect him a tremendous amount, said senior wide receiver Alec Lemon, who caught a school-record 68 passes from Nassib last year. Being the leader, telling everyone what to do, and being a fifth-year senior, hes been through it all. So I look up to him a lot.
For Nassib, the numbers are clouded by the way the Orange ended last season.
After starting the year with a 5-2 record and climbing as high as No. 32 in the AP poll, the Orange finished with five straight losses. A win in any of those games would have made Syracuse eligible for a second straight bowl game.
Nassib did lead the team to an 8-5 record and a victory in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2010, his first full season as the starter.
We left last season with a bitter taste in our mouth, so that only fueled the fire, Nassib said.
I think a lot of times, playing quarterback is the hardest position, said senior left tackle Justin Pugh, who has started every game with Nassib over the last two years. If something goes wrong, like maybe what happened at the end of last year, obviously youre going to get the criticism. That just comes with playing the position and I think he knows that. Hes a great player. Youll see what he does this year.
In all, Nassib has a 13-12 career record in his two seasons running the Syracuse offense. McNabb won 35 games in his four-year tenure as the starter, McPherson earned 33 victories in three seasons, and Graves finished with 23 wins in four years.
A category where you wont see Nassibs name near the top is yards-per-completion, a reason for why fourth-year head coach Doug Marrone has stressed this offseason the need for more big plays from the offense.
Nassib averaged 10.3 yards per completion last season, down from 11.5 in 2010.
In comparison, McPhersons single-season record is 18.1 yards per completion, and his career rate is 15.8, also topping the all-time list.
From a schematic standpoint, the big plays have to be available, as far as part of the process of how we do things both offensively and defensively, Marrone said. And then, obviously the players need to execute it and get it done, and at the same point, its accountability of when its there we need to be able to take it. Thats how you create it.
Nassib has a difficult task ahead in turning the discussion. Syracuse has the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, according to the Sporting News annual rankings, and went 1-6 within the Big East last year.
But Nassib, staying true to form, isnt concerned with that.
Its not really going to change anything Ive done in the past, Nassib said. Ive always practiced as hard as I could, or tried to, each and every day and get prepared the best I can. Its really going to be no different.