One thing sticks out on the Syracuse offensive depth chart for the season-opener against Penn State: the word OR in bold face right at the top of the listing for quarterback.
As he wends his way through the final week of preparation for his first game as a college head coach, that's what Syracuse's Scott Shafer is faced with — no clear-cut starter. It's either sophomore Terrel Hunt OR Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen leading the offense.
A quarterback in his playing days, Shafer isn't concerned just yet.
"Both of our kids have done a good job," Shafer said Tuesday. "Drew has grown every day he's been here. His confidence level is up. I think he feels comfortable with the offense we want to promote. He's confident, and his teammates are confident.
"I think we've got two guys the kids can rally behind. I feel good about the way we're heading into this week. Both guys are preparing well and ready to play."
Syracuse meets the Nittany Lions on Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home to the NFL's New York Giants and Jets.
Syracuse is one of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision teams entering 2013 without a quarterback that has started a game. That's the bad news. The good news that one of the other 10 is Penn State. With the departures of Matt McGloin and Steven Bench, the Nittany Lions don't even have a quarterback on the roster that threw a pass for them last year, and O'Brien's depth chart also has that OR between Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson at the starting spot.
Syracuse is preparing to face both.
"Both kids are very talented," Shafer said. "Both have similar skill sets, so I don't think it changes our approach as we go into it. You never know. They may have a wildcat package. They may have different things that they do with each kid. That'll be something we'll have to feel out as we move our way into the second quarter."
The Orange depth chart has Jerome Smith or Prince-Tyson Gulley as the starting tailback, Clay Cleveland at fullback, Jarrod West and Adam Flemming at wide receiver, and Beckett Wales at tight end.
The offensive line is stout, even with the absence of Justin Pugh, a first-round draft pick of the Giants. Macky MacPherson is at center, Sean Hickey (6-foot-5, 291 pounds) will take over for Pugh at left tackle alongside guard Rob Trudo, and sophomores Nick Robinson (6-5, 297) and Ivan Foy (6-4, 313) will anchor the right side.
Defensively, captain Jay Bromley anchors the inside at tackle along with Eric Crume with Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson at end. The linebacking trio of Marquis Spruill, Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch is solid, and Ri'Shard Anderson, Durell Eskridge and Keon Lyn will be among the rotation in the secondary.
Page 2 of 2 - "We've had great competition with the whole group," said Shafer, defensive coordinator for four years before taking over for Doug Marrone in January. "It just goes back to the philosophy that you have 11 starters, but you have 16, 17, 18 guys that you want to play on defense through the course of a game when situations arise.
"They'll all play," Shafer said of his secondary. "One guy will get the nod as the starter, but the next guy might play the same amount of plays or more depending on how it kind of works itself out. We just have to kind of get into the game and see what their plan is and then try to react.