Syracuse Orange Preview
My Sporing News pal and Orange faithful Scottjax77 was kind enough (and brave enough) to preview the Syracuse Orange season. Here’s his take:
After going 2-10 (1-6 in the Big East), 4-8 (1-6), and 1-10 (0-7), the past three years, there seems to be plenty of optimism in the Orange Nation.
The question is should there be?
Their offensive was 114th in the nation. Syracuse lost their best player in WR Mike Williams, apparently for academic reasons and the offensive line, for a lack of a better word has been “offensive.”
New Offensive Coordinator Mitch Browning takes over a unit that’s not even a shell of a unit that once featured the likes of Marvin Harrison and Donovan McNabb. What will Mitch do?
First he needs to shore of the Offensive Line, which will be led by seniors Ryan Durand and Corey Chavers. It comes down to how well Tucket Baumbach, Ryan Bartholomew, and Jim McKenzie can do. Tucket and Ryan have limited experienced while Jim, as a Freshmen, was a starter.
If the offensive line is fixed that will clear the way for QB Andrew Robinson (started 11 games 154 completions on 292 attempts with 7 interceptions and 13 touchdown passes) and his backup Cameron Dantley (8 games played, 1 game started 48 completions 3 interceptions and 5 touchdown passes), which ranked 55th nationally. So you can imagine what could happen if the offensive line clicks. This is one of the reasons for being optimistic.
The running back position will be manned by Curtis Brinkley. Curits played and started in 8 games with 111 attempts while gaining 371yards with 2 touchdowns and a 3.3 yards per carry. Often injured Delone Carter (no stats last year) and Sophmore Doug Hogue (251 yards and 1 touchdown) will be the backups to a unit that was near the bottom nationally.
With most of the touchdowns that Andrew threw went to departed Mike Williams. Syracuse will rely on Junior Lavar Lobdell (86 yards, 0 touchdowns) and Sophmore Donte Davis (no stats last year). Neither was spectacular and will need to improve for the team to even come close to being 55th in the nation. There backups will be senior Bruce Williams a converted safety, red shirt Freshman Chaz Cervino and Freshmen Marcus Sales and Van Chew. So this will be a source of concern for Coach Robinson.
The Defense, was the pride of the Orange, was ranked 111th nationally. The lone bright spot is Tackle Arthur Jones. He had 17 tackles for a loss. He will need help for a unit that let teams rush for 207 yards per game and passed for an average of 260 a game.
The defensive line had only 9 sacks last year. This young unit will be led by Jones and senior nose tackle Nick Santiago. The ends will be manned by Graduate Vincenzo Giruzzi and sophmore Jared Kimmel. The problem for the tackles and ends is the lack of experience in the backups. Backup ends are Sophomore Anthony Perkins and Freshmen Mikhail Marinovich. The tackle position will be backed up by Sophomores Bud Tribbey and Andrew Lewis.
The Linebackers are led by Senior Jack Flaherty. The there is little else. Coach Robinson will have to rely on Sophomore’s Derrell Smith and Mike Mele to a unit that only had 9 interceptions, but unfortunately none from any of the starters or their backups. Mike Stenclik, a junior, will play a prominent backup role. As playing will be Red shirt freshmen Chad Battles and Ryan Gillum, and sophomore Parker Cantey.
There are no returning starters for the secondary. The starters will be safeties A.J. Brown, a senior, sophomore Randy McKinnon and cornerbacks sophomores Mike Holmes and Da’Mon Merkerson. Their backups will be seniors Paul Chiara and Ryan Howard. So Robinson is going with youth rather than with experience.
Syracuse punter will be Rob Long who averaged over 41 yards per game and Kicker Patrick Shadle, who was 10-14 on field goals (1 50 yards and 5 over 40).
Sophomore Max Suter who averaged over 25 yards a return for 1,299 yards (an NCCA record) will handle the kickoffs.
This team is built for the future. Something that Coach Robinson doesn’t have. He must produce now. If Syracuse can win 4 games this year it will be a miracle.