By Savie Maneen
Reason to Get Excited
4) You never know who might step up, and you never know when.
The Orange offense needs a playmaker. While it’s easy to say, “If he hasn’t emerged yet, he’s not there,” that’s not always the case.
Last year, WR Marcus Sales was buried deep down the depth chart and a virtual non-factor all season long. All he did was catch 5 passes for 172 yards and 3 TD’s in SU’s Pinstripe Bowl win.
Despite all the tribulations faced by the 2008 Orange, RB Curtis Brinkley managed to churn out over 1,100 yards on the ground (which he eventually parlayed into an NFL contract).
In 2006, no one knew who freshman WR Mike Williams was. He finished the season as the Orange leader in receiving, then really blossomed the next year. He’s now the #1 wide out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The point is, you never know when a younger guy will start to put it all together, or when a back-up might rise up given then right opportunity.
We saw young RB’s Adonis Ameen-Moore and Steve Rene get carries at Tulane. WR Dorian Graham caught two TD’s. Jerrod West, Kyle Foster, Jerome Smith and Beckett Wales have all been on the field this season.
Who knows if things don’t start to click for any of the aforementioned …
Cause for Concern
4) Depth and injuries are a problem for the Orange
Syracuse has battled an unusually high rash of injuries since training camp started. While the bye week certainly helps guys get healthy, the Orange is still on thin ice. One or two injuries at the wrong position can significantly hamper the team (just look at SU’s pass rush in the wake of the Chandler Jones’ injury).
As mentioned before, nearly every member of the Syracuse secondary has been banged-up at some point. Doug Marrone pointed out that opposing teams will pick on injured DB’s, especially corners Keon Lyn and Ri’Shard Anderson who are wearing casts on their arms.
Back-up RB Prince-Tyson Gulley is out for the year. No other Orange tailback has more than 4 carriers this season. The offensive line has been thin behind the starters all year long.
Even beyond the injured, the back-ups at most positions are either freshmen or lack much game experience. As the rigors of the season take their toll, it’ll be tough for guys to stay fresh. Just look to last year, when the Orange offense – with quite a few guys battling through nagging pains – managed just 4 touchdowns over its last 4 regular season games (a stretch in which SU went 1-3).