|The Syracuse defensive line gets penetration on a 4th down stop against Northwestern Saturday afternoon|
Syracuse lost to Northwestern more than 48 hours ago, so I won't bore you with a detailed recap of a game you've already watched and read about. Here are a few thoughts from my vantage point in the stands -- a view I won't get much this year thanks to having an 8 month old, living a 150 miles from the stadium and having a job where we actually work on Fridays.
- The no huddle spread was an offense many of us have been lusting after for years -- and since it racked up almost 600 yards and 41 points, it's pretty fair to call it a success.
- I thought the new offense was well suited for Mackey MacPherson. He's smart, experienced, he handled the line calls with aplomb and he's not required to blow 330 pound nose tackles off the ball in order to be successful. He played well.
- Likewise Ryan Nassib took to the new scheme like a competitive eater takes to a gravy boat. We know enough about Nassib to know that while he has his limitations, this wasn't an Andrew Robinson v. Louisville fluke performance. Barring an injury, he'll most likely hold almost every Syracuse passing record when the graduates.
- Marcus Sales had good numbers, but he had a bad drop followed by the ball that was thrown behind him that he popped up in the air and resulted in an interception. That sequence will mar an otherwise nice return to action.
- When he wasn't jumping off-sides Lou Alexander alternated between getting beat badly and getting beat worse tha badly. At one point my step-father swore he went out and ran an actual pass pattern. Luckily for SU, once Justin Pugh gets healthy they can plug him in at left tackle, flip Sean Hickey to right tackle, and sweet Lou can head back to the bench where his Michael Hay impersonation will do less damage.
- Raise your hand if you thought SU would rally back and take the lead after being down 35-13......if your hand is up and you aren't named Orange Chuck, you are a liar.
- Jerome Smith is going to have to be more decisive and bang it upfield quicker if he's going to have success in this scheme.
- Hello Jeremiah Kobena.
- We are 3.1 years into the Doug Marrone era, the team is on its third special teams coach (this year its Marrone himself) and we have witnessed 3.1 years of awful special teams. At this point it's fair to call him the anti-Beamer.
- In terms of the roughing the passer call at the end of the game, it obviously hurt, but you have to acknowledge that last year this team caught some breaks early. These things have a way of evening out.
- The students showed up - no one else did. While we all want to see the building full, there are advantages, I didn't have to wait once to get a beer or take a leak.
|Other than the student section there were no lines and no waiting in the Dome|
- With two minutes left the defense has to come up with a stop. In that situation it's understandable to play coverage and make the opponent work down the field - but as my Uncle pointed out yesterday, would it have killed them to rush the passer with 4 guys? Of course not. Then again, on Monday everyone is a genius....still Shafer and the defense played not to lose, that usually gets you beat.
- It was a wildly frustrating game, but I'm actually optimistic about the year ahead. If you can score points you're never out of a game, even if you're pointing automatic weapon at your foot and never taking your hand off the trigger. Syracuse pulled a Tony Montana on itself Saturday and still almost walked out alive.