College Football Countdown | No. 75: Syracuse

The events of 2014 have taught us one profitable lesson: Orange-clad jaunty administrators who pronounce of a plus-one genius – a thought that a baseline for a program’s success should be one some-more win than a before bid – need to be taken seriously.

Take Gerard Dielessen, for example, a secretary ubiquitous of Netherlands’ Olympic committee. Back in February, Dielessen sat during a long, wooden list in Sochi, eating some arrange of Dutch pastry-cookie hybrid – they were tasty – and minute how Dutch athletes entered a 2014 Games eyeballing 9 medals, one some-more than a country’s transport during a 2010 Vancouver Games.

You competence remember what happened next: Dutch speedskaters alone accounted for 23 medals, a value trove of gold, china and bronze unmatched in Olympic history. Dielessen and his Dutch athletes set a plus-one standard; they finished during plus-16. So there’s something to be pronounced of a energy of certain thinking.

Two months later, Scott Shafer – a orange-clad Orange manager – espoused a identical mindset after his seven-win Syracuse debut.

“We won seven, so we wish to win 8 or some-more this year,” Shafer said.

Consider a source: Shafer can’t indispensably advise his organisation will be worse, of course. Also cruise a transparent advantages of a positive, keep-moving-forward mentality: Syracuse hasn’t notched 3 uninterrupted winning seasons given 1999-2001.

Finally, cruise a prolonged run: Shafer’s garland won’t go plus-eight in 2014 – we know, to 15-0 – yet plus-one means 8 wins in 2014; another plus-one spells 9 wins in 2015; another plus-one means double-digits wins in 2016, and now we’re talking.

LAST YEAR’S PREDICTION:

But we unequivocally like a Shafer sinecure and a smoothness that comes with it; we also like his staff, yet they still have to infer themselves as recruiters. The Orange should continue to build a some-more unchanging program, building on Marrone’s foundation, and will, within a deteriorate or two, be means adequate to hoop a ACC’s aloft spin of competition. Based on a team’s issues in 2013, however, we don’t cruise a Orange go aloft than 5 wins.

2013 RECAP:

In a nutshell: Syracuse reached a postseason notwithstanding a occasional hiccup, with both sides of a spin fading and issuing between capability and incompetence, salvaging another winning deteriorate interjection in vast partial to a smoothness postulated by a university’s preference to foster Shafer as Doug Marrone’s successor. This was key: Syracuse never won some-more than dual games in a row, for example, and maybe a organisation reduction informed with a roster’s strengths and weaknesses would have struggled righting a boat after a season’s distressingly nauseous defeats – like a 56-0 highway detriment to Georgia Tech, or a 59-3 dump during a hands of undefeated Florida State. But reaching a postseason, let alone defeating Minnesota in a Texas Bowl, noted a gratifying entrance for Shafer and his staff.

High point: Beating Boston College to secure a play bid and commanding Minnesota to secure a winning season. The Orange would better 4 play teams: B.C., Minnesota, Tulane and Maryland.

Low point: The nauseous waste mentioned above, not to discuss single-digit waste to Penn State and Pittsburgh.

Tidbit: Shafer was a initial Syracuse manager given Paul Pasqualoni and usually a third in a program’s complicated epoch to finish with a winning record in his entrance season. Pasqualoni went 10-2 in 1991, interjection in vast partial to a substructure left in place by his predecessor. Way behind in 1937, Ossie Solem kicked off his eight-year spin with a 5-2-1 finish.

Tidbit (100 yards edition): Only one Football Bowl Subdivision organisation did not concede a 100-yard rusher in 2013. It’s Syracuse, as we competence imagine. The closest was Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas, who rushed for 95 yards in a Yellow Jackets’ 56-0 win.

ARBITRARY TOP FIVE LIST:

Syracuse grads now in sports broadcasting

1. Mike Tirico
2. Ian Eagle
3. Marv Albert
4. Greg Papa
5. Gary Apple

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Offense: It’s not a critical shift, yet keep an eye on one descent storyline: Syracuse and coordinator George McDonald wish this section to pierce quicker, quicker and quicker, building a fast-paced dash and character in and out of ACC play – a gait McDonald has called “full-bore fast.” This genius began to take reason early final season, eventually fixation a Orange among a league’s tip 4 in plays per game, yet demeanour for even some-more of an up-tempo feel in 2014; McDonald has streamlined a offense in an bid to make things reduction complex, in spin permitting his offense to spend some-more time behaving and reduction time reacting. As elsewhere – say, during Auburn – a pivotal is not usually quarterback play yet altogether descent rhythm. Not that quarterback play won’t conclude a offense’s altogether success.

The Orange need some-more from youth Terrel Hunt (1,632 yards and 10 touchdowns), a second-year starter with plain dual-threat athleticism – he combined 500 yards and 7 scores on a belligerent – yet still-developing intrepidity and participation as a passer. As such, McDonald will continue to implement complicated doses of short, can’t-fail screens and flares, attempts that keep Hunt divided from intensity missteps while gripping a Orange’s flitting diversion stranded in neutral. How critical is this offseason? It’s critical for Hunt, who needs to uncover an ability to pull a spin downfield – a growth that would keep defenses honest, for one, yet also emanate some-more using room for Syracuse’s plane flitting game. Of equal regard is a team’s miss of a proven revolution during far-reaching receiver.

Junior Ivan Foy stairs behind into a overlay after doing some educational issues, giving a Orange a returning starter during right tackle and formulating a plain extraneous participation to this descent front. Foy is a earnest talent; comparison left tackle Sean Hickey, on a other hand, is a loyal all-conference close – and a warn returnee in 2014, to be honest. After traffic with injuries and rubbing – and Foy’s deficiency – a Orange’s line should spin into predicted form come August: Hickey during left tackle, Foy on a clever side, youth Rob Trudo in a middle, youth Nick Robinson during right ensure and sophomore Omari Palmer during left guard. The anchor is Hickey, of course, who effectively creates a blockade around Hunt’s blind side, yet a pivotal competence be a multiple of Trudo and Palmer – with Trudo stepping for a multiple-year starter during core and Palmer a usually genuine visitor among a starting quintet. One certain to consider: Springtime injuries forced Syracuse to block would-be pot into roles with a first-team offense, a growth that could compensate dividends with a Orange’s abyss come a unchanging season.

The Orange will divert all it can from a low fast of backs. Begin with Prince Tyson-Gulley (462 yards), a projected starter after spending final deteriorate in a change-of-pace role. But there will be touches for sophomores George Morris II (334 yards) and Devante McFarlane (292 yards), dual considerable youngsters, and maybe an increasing purpose for 260-pound comparison Adonis Ameen-Moore in short-yardage downs. The issues: one, either Tyson-Gulley has a distance to hoop an every-down role; two, either one of a dual sophomores can do some-more than furnish in a tiny representation size; three, either a interior of a line will deliver; and four, either Hunt and a flitting diversion can assistance open lanes on a ground.

Defense: There are holes along a core of Syracuse’s defense, commencement during tackle, stability during inside linebacker and fluctuating to a behind end. Of these losses, Jay Bromley’s depart looms largest: Syracuse contingency locate a viable organisation along a interior of a defensive line, maybe cobbling together a cohesive section by shuffling incomparable ends inside in certain packages. One choice would be to change comparison Micah Robinson (22 tackles); during 270 pounds, his support could be of use on flitting downs. As is, demeanour for a bottom set to underline a multiple of comparison Eric Crume (28 tackles, 5.0 for loss), youth Ryan Sloan, sophomore Marcus Coleman and 330-pound JUCO send Wayne Williams. While Sloan, Coleman and Williams share snaps on a nose, we can simply see Robinson adding abyss behind Crume during tackle.

Looking for a dermatitis star adult front? Get to know sophomore Ron Thompson, a former four-star parsimonious finish who done a pierce to defensive finish before to final deteriorate – adding some prolongation in reserve, if usually sparingly, yet showcasing a far-reaching ability set indispensable to surpass as an every-down end. At some point, Thompson is going to pull comparison Robert Welsh (32 tackles, 4.0 sacks) for starter’s snaps; as such, we consternation if Shafer can emanate a smaller, some-more jaunty intrigue with Welsh and Thompson on a edges. It seems a hold unsettled, yeah, yet let’s cruise a group’s altogether flexibility: Syracuse lacks all-conference weapons yet has a ability to line adult any series of opposite looks with a front four. That’s one positive.

As with a line, Syracuse contingency reconstruct in a core of a second level. There’s no doubt as to a starters on a outside: Cam Lynch (69 tackles, 12.0 for loss) and Dyshawn Davis (49 tackles, 7.0 for loss) return, with Lynch an all-conference contender – a new personality during a position – and Davis an off-and-on, frustratingly means producer. With this camber entrenched, a Orange can spin to a charge of stuffing Marquis Spruill’s boots in a middle. I’d gamble on a pursuit descending to sophomore Marqez Hodge, a solitary splendid mark in final year’s differently annoying detriment to Georgia Tech. What Hodge gives Syracuse is 3 speedy, aggressive, play-in-space linebackers. we cruise that’s what Shafer is looking for. Keep an eye out for incoming beginner Zaire Franklin, a many considerable member of February’s class.

The delegate is a concern. How can it be noticed as anything but? When it comes to cornerback, Syracuse is arguable usually in a unreliability; seniors Brandon Reddish and Julian Whigham and youth Wayne Morgan don’t indispensably enthuse confidence, yet Morgan has flashed a nose for a football – something in high direct on a outside. One positive: Keon Lyn’s injury-ravaged comparison discuss did pull this trio adult a spin on a two-deep, so knowledge isn’t an issue. The Orange will foster comparison Ritchy Desir (47 tackles) to a tip mark during safety, maybe with some assistance from former JUCO send Darius Kelly. Then there’s a one certain thing, youth giveaway reserve Durrell Eskridge (78 tackles, 4 interceptions). After shutting clever final season, Eskridge qualifies as one of a tip returning safeties in a ACC. we still wouldn’t trust this secondary.

Special teams: If recovered from final year’s hip injury, comparison Ross Krautman will retrieve his starting pursuit during kicker. If not, demeanour for Syracuse to use youth Ryan Norton, Krautman’s deputy a deteriorate ago. There’s no discuss during punter, where youth Riley Dixon does his thing, yet a Orange could mount to accelerate this sputtering lapse diversion with an offseason competition. Syracuse does cover well, however.

POSITION(S) TO WATCH:

Wide receiver: Flares, screens and baby-step completions aren’t good enough: Syracuse needs to widen a margin in a flitting game. So a vigour is on a slew of returning receivers to step brazen and assistance Hunt supplement a clarity of risk to a prolific using diversion – giving this conflict much-needed balance, basically, an descent exigency opposite Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State and others. A few targets are experienced, during least: Jarrod West (26 receptions for 397 yards) is still around, if disposed to disintegrating acts, and associate comparison Jeremiah Kobena can supplement depth, if small more.

But a Orange’s intensity for alleviation hinges wholly on a younger expel of earnest options, a organisation paced by youth Ashton Broyld (52 for 452), a intensity star; sophomore Brisly Estime (28 for 257), whose insignificant per-catch normal belies an ability to get behind defenders; and sophomore Alvin Cornelius, who sealed a unchanging deteriorate with a flourish.

Here’s my dream-season scenario: Broyld develops into a 65-catch, double-team sketch weapon, while Estime is given a possibility to work over a low middle. Having these dual lead would change West, Kobena and former Arkansas send Quinta Funderburk into possession or delegate roles; we wouldn’t ask any of a seniors to do more. More assistance comes in a 2014 signing class, from early enrollee Corey Cooper by four-star signee K.J. Williams.

GAME(S) TO WATCH:

Pittsburgh: Let’s palm out waste to Florida State and Clemson, assume waste to Notre Dame, Duke and Louisville, and place a toss-up tab on matchups with Maryland, Pittsburgh and Boston College. By all accounts, Syracuse is set to assume one of a toughest schedules in college football. With small time to breathe – a Irish, Cardinals, Seminoles and Tigers come in a five-game camber – it’s sincerely probable that Syracuse hits a home widen wanting during slightest one win in dual tries to secure play eligibility. The season’s final dual games come on a road: Pittsburgh on Nov. 22, B.C. on Nov. 29.

SEASON BREAKDOWN PREDICTION:

In a nutshell: we cruise 8 wins competence be overly optimistic. Six wins? I’d gamble on it, and I’d block a seven-win finish if we knew Hunt, these receivers and this flitting diversion could broach opposite top-tier competition. But 8 seems a stretch: Syracuse doesn’t seem built to eke out 8 wins opposite a high-quality schedule. There’s Florida State and Clemson, those transparent – and really expected nauseous – losses; there’s Louisville, and this delegate competence not have a request opposite a Cardinals’ flitting game; there’s Duke, and Duke is no longer Duke; there’s Notre Dame on a road, and a Irish’s invulnerability is built to hunker on a Orange’s chest; there’s Maryland, that seems significantly improved; and there’s Pittsburgh and Boston College, both on a road, to finish a unchanging season.

I typically save a report for last, given it’s mostly not as critical a customary as crew and scheme, yet not in this case: Syracuse contingency be gauged opposite a problem of this schedule, and it’s a beast. Again, however, we do cruise a Orange hit out another 6 wins during a unchanging season, earning a third play bid in as many years. My confidence – yet 6 wins competence seem desperate to this fan bottom – stems from a returning core of contributors: Hunt, Tyson-Gulley, Hickey, Broyld, Trudo, Crume, Thompson, Davis, Lynch and Eskridge. In a identical vein, Syracuse’s register and crew are some-more informed with both a staff’s philosophies – utterly McDonald on offense – and a ubiquitous feel of a ACC, and a latter is of essential importance.

But it’s tough to omit some of a issues – with 4 station out above a rest. One is a flitting game: Syracuse lacks a ability and a crew to widen things downfield, so let’s get prepared for some-more of a plane attack. A second is a defensive line, that competence have coherence and a earnest talent in Thompson yet lacks a horses and proven prolongation to hoop a good cut of this year’s opposition. A third is a secondary, that could be an Achilles heel all season. And afterwards a fourth: Syracuse does not utterly possess a abyss indispensable to continue a charge opposite a cream of a crop.

Dream season: Syracuse beats Louisville, Boston College and N.C. State to secure solitary possession of a third mark in a Atlantic Division.

Nightmare season: The Orange dump 6 games opposite ACC foe and separate a non-conference slate, finale during 4 wins for a initial time given 2009.

UP NEXT:

Who’s No. 74? This organisation will supplement 4 quarterback to a register before tumble camp, including one as a send from a organisation within a conference.

RANKING EVERY FBS TEAM FOR 2014


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