|Not all of them stayed, but at least the SU students showed up for the Wake Forest game|
This post is a few days late because after SU's thrilling victory over Wake Forest Thursday night, I spent some time away from a computer. However, just like Greg Robinson kept appearing on sidelines and destroying football teams, I keep appearing on this blog and destroying the internet. So, as we've done in the past, let's get to some observations on the game.
This year I'm going to do this a little different -- we will go over some things we thought going into the game and contrast that with what the game told us about the current state of Syracuse football.
What We Thought: The Syracuse offense would be much improved, the unit would sustain drives and mix in plenty of deep shots down the field. We thought we'd be seeing the baby Saints.
What We Know: Through three quarters we say the baby Carolina Panthers instead. The offense is definitely a work in progress and for the first three quarters of the game it looked like Brian Pariani was calling the plays. However, unlike years past, the offense woke up and found a way to win the game. I don't think we've seen that since R.J. Anderson or Troy Nunes was under center.
What We Thought: The offensive line would be the strength of the team.
What We Know: The offensive line has a lot of work to do. New center Macky MacPherson looked overwhelmed at times, and the Orange struggled to pick up assignments and handle an attacking pressure scheme that Wake threw at them. They weren't prepared for the scheme they faced and they couldn't adjust.
What We Thought: Ryan Nassib would be in total control of the offense and be a much improved player.
What We Know: Even without adequate protection, Nassib looked in control, accurate and led a fourth quarter comeback that was thrilling. Even more importantly, he didn't turn the ball over. If the o-line can get their act together, Nassib will break SU's single-season record of 22 td passes this year. Book it.
We We Thought: The defense would struggle early in the year.
What We Know: The defense is going to struggle early in the year.
What We Thought: The defensive line would be able to get a lot of pressure on opposing QBs.
What We Know: The D-line apparently thought the game started at 10:30 at night, instead of 8:00. At least when they did show up, they made their presence felt.
What We Thought: The secondary would be pretty darn good.
What We Know: The secondary was pretty darn bad, with the exception of Shamarko Thomas who was very good. The rest of the defensive backfield made Tanner Price look like Tom Brady. There are some serious issues to work out here -- either guys were running free past Philip Thomas or the Orange were sitting in soft zones allowing big chunks of yards. Due credit should go to Kevyn Scott for great diving interception in the fourth quarter.
What We Thought: The Syracuse fans are terrible.
What We Know: The Syracuse fans are terrible. Although I will say that sitting in the stands through the first three quarters of that game, the feeling that nothing had changed was palpable. Overwhelming even. If you're like me, you are so emotionally invested in this team, that when something as disappointing and familiar as the epic failure that was the first three quarters of this game happens, you can almost understand the disappointment. However, as frustrating as it was, I'll never understand leaving early. Like always, I stayed until the end, and hot damn, it felt good to be rewarded.