Sunday, October 25, 2009

Syracuse - Akron Observations


The Syracuse Orange avenged last year's stunning loss to Akron yesterday, winning 28-14 in a game that will never qualify as an instant classic. But there's no "instant classic" column in the standings and a win is a win, so let's put this one down as a W and keep moving on.

As we do after every SU game, let's get to the good, bad and ugly observations from yesterday's game.

The Good

Delone Carter had the break out game we've been waiting for all year. 170 yards on 30 carries is impressive, I don't care who you are playing. It's also worth noting it's a marked improvement over the Maine game, where Carter only tallied 72 yards rushing.

The reworked offensive line had a solid game, consistently opening up holes that had not been there all year for the running backs. Whether it was better play or a crappy opponent, I'm not sure, but we'll find out in one week when Cincinnati comes to town.

ZERO rushing yards allowed. Let me repeat that - Akron rushed for ZERO yards. I don't care who you play, that's outstanding.

Likewise, Derrell Smith had another monster game. He's the best player on this team not named Williams and he's the best player on the team who hasn't been suspended (more on that in a bit).

I've been on the Marcus Sales bandwagon since last year and he stepped up and had a nice game in Williams' absence. There were not a lot of opportunities in the passing game, but Sales took advantage of the ones that were out there.

Greg Paulus is a smart guy. He knew the number one priority coming into the game was to protect the football and not beat yourself - especially against an inferior opponent. He didn't take any unnecessary risks out there yesterday. Before you jump on me, there's more on Paulus in the next segment.

The Bad

Holy Hell, what the f*ck was going on with Ryan Bartholomew and snapping the football??? Edward Scissorhands could have done a better job. This needs to get fixed in a hurry.

Another sloppy game in terms of fumbles. There is no margin for error on this team -- and turnovers are the biggest errors you can make on a football field, short of shooting someone on the field like the Last Boy Scout.

While Paulus didn't turn the ball over, he didn't make plays either. He's definitely got a case of happy feet and he's quick to break out of the pocket. He looked a little lost without Mike Williams and his arm strength is never going to be overwhelming. In short, I'm not sure how much more improvement we're going to see out of him this year. If he were a sophomore in instead of a guy with 5 games of eligibility left, I may feel different, but over the last 3 games, Paulus hasn't shown much.

Speaking of quarterbacks, I hate rotating Nassib into the game in the middle of a series. It seems to throw off any kind of rhythm and half the time it leaves the team in 3rd and long. I don't mind Nassib playing, but give him a dedicated series. Yesterday the packages he played in were largely unsuccessful.

Special teams. Fumbled kick offs, giving up TDs on kick returns. The bottom line this year, this unit has not performed well. This is probably the function of an overall lack of depth, but this isn't pop warner football. The opponent doesn't give you a break because you have fewer players. At a minimum, special teams needs to stop putting the team in bad positions.

I also found it odd Ryan Litchenstein got benched. The move seemed harsh to me - he's a freshman kicker, he's been extremely accurate all year and he won the Northwestern game with a kick at the buzzer. Coach Marrone said he was bad in warm ups and for all I know he didn't make a kick in 2 weeks of practice, but benching him for missing a 39 yard field goal cannot be good for his confidence.

The music selections at the Dome yesterday included Quiet Riot, Pat Benatar, Queen, and the AWFUL Cotton eyed Joe.

The Ugly

The Mike Williams suspension. If this had been the first time Williams missed games because of off the field issues, I wouldn't think twice about it. However, for a guy who missed last year due to academic issues, it is a very troubling sign. Especially since he's so valuable.

The Ugly Part II

This post on the Bleacher Report - which is so ill-informed it's not worth refuting. However, consider Doug Marrone is nearly a third of the way to matching G-Rob's win total, and he's coached 7 games.

Conclusion
A win is a win, and we'll certainly take this one. However, this team is going to need to play better to secure some wins against Big East conference foes.

1 comment:

dannymac said...

Paulus just needs more of those warm and fuzzy men hugs that he was use to at Duke. Nassib already.