Thursday, October 29, 2009
In any event, we have arrived at the all too glorious middle of the collegiate football season. The men have been seperated from the boys, and now the time has come to seperate who can run with the big dogs from who still pisses like a little puppy. With varying sentiments regarding the performance of our own Syracuse Orange circulating throughout the fanbase, the blogosphere, and not Darryl Gross's thick, shiny skull, i figure what a fine time to chip in my 2 cents, which apparently buys less than kenny's 2 pennies.......
Let's go back to school with some position by position grades. Today I will cover the orange backfield.
Greg Paulus-Has definitely been the born leader that many have hyped him up to be. Makes relatively sound decisions under fire with the exception of a few miscues when he gets too far out of the pocket(I.e throwing on the run close to the line of scrimmage.) Has the ability to feed his big targets early and often as X reciever Mike Williams has 45 receptions on the season. Arm strength and the ability to throw a tight ball into the middle of coverage have been key issues with him not playing football in the last 5 years. Turnovers have been a huge issue as well, however they primarily occured over the span of two games and outside of that he has been relatively flawless. In any event, i think he has done a solid job.
Ryan Nassib-Sees limited action, primarily as a wideout out of the Stallion Direct-Snap package. Also takes some snaps with 4 wide. Ability to throw the ball in a vertical offense has been much more consistent than greg paulus. However, experience level simply is not on par with Paulus, and his composure has yet to be tested. Has played well but i don't know if Miller, Loeb, or Kinder have the chance to take his job or not next season.My bet is on kinder if nassib doesnt come up with an ability to escape the pocket.
Delone Carter- Explosiveness has been greatly improved over last year as he assumes the role of Featured Back in the offense, A role many assumed Sophomore Antwon Bailey would fill particularly after his performance against Notre Dame last year. Has had multiple touchdown games on more than one occasion and has taken the game into his own hands on more than one occasion, particularly last week with mike williams out. No Questions here.
Antwon Bailey- Hasn't gotten many carries due to Marrone reserving him for usage in the Stallion Package. Has handled it rather well, a couple bobbled snaps but we all know the terrible job that Mckenzie and Bartholomew have done with getting the ball out there. I'll be optimistic here.
Tune in tomorrow as i pick apart the wide recievers.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Basketball season is finally here with a bang, as the orange hosted (AMERICU) midnight(?) madness on friday night, and we spared no expense bringing in only the finest wastes of money that Darryl Gross has to offer.
(Correction/Editor's Note:Greg Robinson wasn't even invited. you fail.)
(Editor's note to the editor's note: It was a less painful way to piss away the money than betting on the jets.)
In any event, the athletic department REALLY spared no expense in throwing this thing together, with the women's team arriving by fire truck and the men's team on police motorcycles. and my personal favorite...... JIMMY B dressed as a cop!
Jimmy apparently is more patient now than he ever was in the past, i've heard it takes a great deal of time, effort, and vaseline to squeeze into those leather pants. But it was all for a good cause, somebody has to keep robert washington out of syracuse! Although i must say this does bring images of apollo creed into my head(I WANT YOU! AND YOU!). Come to think of it i think he would make a great fit in the village people........
But i digress.
I'll have something serious up this week, pinky swear.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Syracuse's first drive against the West Virginia Mountaineer defense on Saturday opened with promise. Running backs Antwon Bailey, Delone Carter and Averin Collier had moved the ball 26 yards down the field on the ground and quarterback Greg Paulus completed his first pass attempt to tight end Mike Owen for a solid eight-yard pick-up.
The Orange were moving the ball.
However, on the seventh play, the drive was derailed in a tragically familiar fashion for the Orange as Paulus threw a terrible interception.
The play aroused bad memories of an overtime interception that sealed Syracuse's fate against Minnesota in the season opener as well as the five that plagued the former Duke point guard against South Florida last week.
The West Virginia defense erupted in celebration as they jogged off the field, giving the ball to Jarrett Brown, Noel Divine and the WVU offense with great field position.
Eight seconds and one 11-yard pass from Brown to Divine later, WVU had a 7-0 lead.
Paulus finished the half with an unimpressive stat line: 5-of-9 for 30 yards and an interception.
With a 27-0 deficit at the start of the second half, it was not No. 2, but No. 12, redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib, who took the reins of the Syracuse offense. Nassib performed decently, completing 7-of-16 passes (with at least four drops by Orange receivers) for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Included was a 50-yard completion to star receiver Mike Williams on a beautiful double play-action fake, the same play that resulted in Paulus-to-Williams touchdowns of similar length against Northwestern, Maine and USF.
Nassib's performance was far from perfect. Many of his incompletions came on throws behind his receivers or over their heads. And his touch left something to be desired.
However, the undeniable zip on his passes wowed the announced crowd of 40,144 at the Carrier Dome, leading many to call for his insertion into the starting lineup.
After the game, Doug Marrone quickly ended that speculation, stating that Paulus was his quarterback and would start in Syracuse's next game against Akron on Oct. 24.
Marrone's announcement has done little to temper the Paulus-Nassib debate amongst Syracuse fans.
Paulus supporters cite the senior's successes against Northwestern and Maine. The Nassib camp looks towards the future of the program, saying that Marrone should get Nassib valuable game experience since he is the heir-apparent for the position anyway.
Marrone needs to start whoever gives the team the best chance to win this season.
Syracuse football is at a crossroads.
Doug Marrone is in his first season and has said and done all of the right things off the field. In addition, the on-field performance has been much better than it was under former head coach Greg Robinson.
However, the only thing that is going to rejuvenate this proud program is pretty obvious.
In the words of Syracuse alumnus Al Davis, "Just win baby."
Attendance in the Dome (especially among students) is absolutely stagnant. If Syracuse is going to contend in the games it faces a talent gap, it needs a full "Loud House."
If they are going to recruit well, which Marrone has been doing thus far, a full stadium is instrumental. Promise and hope brought people out for Minnesota and Northwestern, but the numbers have been slipping steadily since.
Going to a bowl is the easiest way to propel the program back into the national scene, and it is still achievable for the Orange this season. They have won two games after two very strong performances by Paulus.
Entering the game against West Virginia, Paulus was on pace to break multiple single-season records for Syracuse passers, eclipsing greats like Donovan McNabb, Don McPherson and Marvin Graves.
Call Paulus an "experiment" if you must, but the results are undeniable. He can win football games.
If Paulus continues to struggle when Akron comes to the Dome on Oct. 24, then Nassib should probably be given the job. However, coming off a bye week, Paulus' tired arm should be re-energized and the Orange should be primed to win their third game and keep the hopes for a bowl berth alive.
Give Paulus a chance to be successful. If he returns to the form we saw against Northwestern, Syracuse can win four more games and make the improbable run to .500 in Marrone's first season.
Immediate success will do eons more for this program than a few snaps for a quarterback who may or may not be the future of the team. There is no guarantee that Nassib will be the answer next season.
True freshman Charley Loeb will have had the same amount of time in Marrone's and offensive coordinator Rob Spence's system. Two promising recruits, Jonny Miller (Mullen HS, Denver, CO) and John Kinder (Lawrence SHS, Cedarhurst, NY), are also coming in at the position.
Orange fans need to back Marrone's decision, cheer on Paulus, and give him the chance to succeed.
He has exceeded almost everyone's expectations thus far, and can continue to do so. If he does, Syracuse will be on the track to reemerge as an Eastern football power much sooner then we could have hoped for.
Monday, October 5, 2009
It was not the ferocious USF D-Line led by George Selvie that led the Bulls to victory in the Carrier Dome.
It wasn't a litany of penalities or poor defensive play by the Orange that led to their third loss on the season, and first in Big East play.
It wasn't even exciting Freshman Quarterback BJ Daniels who led South Florida to victory over Syracuse.
There is only one statistic that shows why the final score was 34-20 in favor of the USF Bulls:
The Syracuse Orange were victims of seven turnovers over the course of the game, effectively shooting themselves in the foot on promising drives and giving the Bulls great field position to work against the defense, and on occasion, points.
In a game that was otherwise controlled by Syracuse, fumbles by Mike Jones and Delone Carter, as well as five interceptions proved to be more than the Orange could overcome.
Greg Paulus has become the main scapegoat in Syracuse's defeat, after what was easily his worst performance of his young college football career. Five of Paulus' passes found their way into the hands of Bull defenders, one of those being Jason Pierre-Paul who intercepted a screen and returned it 18 yards for the score.
When he was not throwing errant passes to South Florida, Paulus was a very effective quarterback for the Orange, throwing two very nice touchdowns to superstar receiver Mike Williams, en route to a 25-46 performance that resulted in 269 Yards. Paulus also helped Syracuse overcome one of their biggest problems on the season: third down conversions. The Orange were able to convert a gaudy 9 of 15, and found little problem cutting through USF's stingy defense.
However, seven turnovers is something no team can easily overcome, and the Orange were no different.
Part of the problem for the Orange was in the run game. Syracuse has had trouble establishing the run game all season, and Saturday was no different, as the Orange gained only 95 yards on 30 carries. Carter led the way with 43 yards on 13 Carries, and Antwon Bailey and Paulus each added 26, but USF obviously wanted to force Paulus to beat them through the air, and it worked to their advantage with the resulting interceptions.
The other major issue that has plagued the Orange all season, the lack of a second option for Paulus, also reared it's ugly head. Mike Williams had another dominant performance with a career high 13 receptions for 186 yards and the two touchdowns. However, the second leading receiver for the Orange was Bailey, who only had twenty-seven yards. Although Williams is rarely shut down by an opposing defense, when he is unavailable, Paulus' options are scarce.
The biggest Achilles heel for the Orange all season, however, has been Offensive line play, and that looked to be a giant issue coming into the game against one of the top defensive fronts in the nation. However, the Offensive Line put forth a valiant effort, only giving up three sacks- none to the highly acclaimed George Selvie- and allotted Paulus time to work more often than not.
Syracuse's defense played well through out the day, keeping the game close despite USF's consistently good field position. Middle Linebacker Derrell Smith added to his All-Conference resume, with 11 total tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack on Daniels. Outside Linebacker Doug Hogue added five tackles and a sack. Both safeties played well, with Mike Holmes totaling 7 tackles and a forced fumble, and Max Suter adding 7 of his own, and recovering a fumble. Star Defensive Tackle Arthur Jones made his presence known with two fumble recoveries on the day.
BJ Daniels was able to find success against the struggling Orange secondary. The young quarterback compiled 208 yards through the air on 12-20 passing, as well as two touchdowns, both to receiver Carlton Mitchell who had 139 yards on 6 receptions, one being a key 85 yard touchdown that opened the second half.
The Orange outgained the Bulls 344-333, converted third downs at a higher percentage, went 2-2 in the red zone, and beat the Bulls in most other statistical categories. However, the turnovers stand out like a sore thumb, and was Syracuse's undoing.
It is obvious that this team is quickly coming around under Doug Marrone. No Syracuse offense has had this kind of productivity since Donovan McNabb was under center more than a decade ago, and the defensive front seven has made running the ball against the Orange more than ill-advised. However, one thing still prevents this team from taking the next step- they have yet to learn how to win. Great football teams can keep mistakes to a minimum, and when the game is on the line, they put it away. Knowing how to win is what makes this team 2-3 when it could easily be 4-1. However, they are learning this long lost art, and Coach Marrone will make sure they keep on studying until they've mastered the material.