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Syracuse football targeting former Virginia OC Robert Anae, current QB coach Jason Beck for staff openings

Syracuse football is targeting two Virginia staff members who are now in search of new programs after the resignation of Bronco Mendenhall, according to a report from Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. Robert Anae, UVA’s offensive coordinator, who has reportedly left the program, is being looked at for SU’s OC vacancy while quarterbacks coach Jason Beck is being assessed for the same position.

The two names become the first and second publicly linked to the Orange this offseason, aside from already hired special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky. Orange head coach Dino Babers, heading into his seventh season, announced previously that three of his 2021 assistants wouldn’t be retained, including offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Sterlin Gilbert.

Anae, who turns 63 on Tuesday, had run the Cavaliers offensive since 2016, also working with inside receivers (another positional vacancy at Syracuse with Reno Ferri gone). He’s a Laie, Hawaii, native who has spent the past 15 years working under Mendenhall. Anae previously coordinated the offense at BYU from 2005-2010 and 2013-15, primarily coaching the offensive line at a handful of other stops including Boise State, UNLV, Texas Tech and Arizona.

While Anae and Babers have never overlapped on a staff, their ties to Hawaii and shared past employers (UNLV and Arizona) speak to their familiarity with one another. Babers was born in Honolulu and returned for his college days, playing for the Rainbow Warriors and squaring off against a BYU team that included Anae in 1981 and 1982. Anae went to UH in 1986 as a graduate assistant, two years after Babers left the same position.

Beck, who is expected to call plays for Virginia in the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 29, is also deeply rooted in the Mendenhall tree. He’s coached quarterbacks at UVA since 2016, mentoring Bryce Perkins and Brennan Armstrong, after working with Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum at BYU from 2013-15. A former Cougars quarterback himself from 2014-16, Beck also worked at Division II Simon Fraser (OC, 2012) and FCS Weber State (QBs, 2009-11) after GA stints at BYU (2008) and LSU (2008).

Whoever takes over the Orange offense will work with Babers to rejuvenate the Atlantic Coast Conference’s least-productive passing game two years running. Syracuse is expected to return Garrett Shrader, the former Mississippi State signal-caller who started the final nine games of the 2021 season and proved to be a strong complement to standout running back Sean Tucker in the ground game.

Shrader ran for nearly 1,000 yards before accounting for sacks as well as a team-high 14 touchdowns, but completed just 52.56 percent of his passes for 1,445 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

Anae and Beck are coming off a successful 2021 campaign in which the Cavaliers averaged an ACC-best 392.6 passing yards per game to go with 34.6 points per game, good for fourth in the conference.