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 hed like to add Loeb to his staff as a graduate assistant.
The first-year coach called Loeb a leader of this years 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. Hes really one of the most unselfish people Ive been around, Shafer said.
Hes such a team player and hes always encouraging to his teammates, including the guys hes competed with. From a character point of view, theres nothing that I could say about him that isnt 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 teams longest-tenured player.
Ive been here a really long time, Loeb said. I think I have a lot of experience Ive 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, Ive 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 youre going to play in the NFL and everybody wants to, and I guess its something that Ive maybe subconsciously thought about before.
He added: It seems like a logical choice because I do just love being around football. Ive 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.
Shafers 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 thats something Ive taken from them.
Loeb said he is unsure of how quickly hed like to start his coaching career after he turns in his No. 17 jersey.
He has been on the Athletic Directors Honor Roll every semester at SU and is a three-time member of the Big Easts All-Academic Team. He is likely to receive the same honor from the ACC at seasons end.
Loeb is pursuing a masters degree in instructional design and development and evaluation. He already has an undergraduate degree in psychology.
Im not quite sure (about the future). Obviously right now, Im not sure where this season will finish, Loeb said. Immediately what I know is Ill be working toward finishing my masters degree this coming spring.
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 Saturdays game against Maryland with injuries, did not appear on the report and are expected to play without limitation.
SU has 15 players from Florida on its roster, and several were high school teammates of Florida State players.
SUs 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 Saturdays game are: Miramar HS (SUs Keon Lyn, Sean Avant and FSUs Rashad Gholston); Atlantic Community HS (SUs Brisly Estime and FSUs Keith Bryant); Tampa Catholic HS (SUs Jeremi Wilkes and FSUs Christian Green, Michael Sheerhorn); Miami Beach HS (SUs Ritchy Desir and FSUs Pierre Jolicouer); and Dwyer HS (SUs Julian Whigham and FSUs Nick OLeary).
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 Ive recruited where youd have talented kids in high school but they didnt play well or theyd transfer out. They didnt 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 hasnt 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 firstname.lastname@example.org