The Husky come home to face one of the weaker opponents on the schedule this week. With that being said, Syracuse may not be the pushover people say they are. Like BYU, I don’t know a ton about Syracuse and only had one game to scout from. So, here goes my best shot at a scouting report (position by position).
Overview from last game:
Syracuse played at Akron last Saturday and won 29-3. They didn’t truly pull away until the end of the 3rd quarter but they did win on the road and there’s something to be said for that, as we Husky fans know all too well. The Syracuse defense was very solid throughout the game. Of course, they were playing Akron but they definitely shut down their running game. Their offense was okay. They pounded the ball with the good running back that they have and that will be a common occurrence this season. Their special teams were terrible, much like the Huskies but we’ll blame both teams on first game jitters and a little bit of bad luck. The game is online at ESPN3 if you’re dying to watch it. I did so I could write this but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it. It was a pretty boring game.
Last season the Orange were led by former Duke basketball player Greg Paulus. This year they hand the position over to Ryan Nassib. Nassib did get some experience last season, completing 38 of 68 passes. He was brought in for deep passing situations, so that tells us that he has a stronger arm than Greg Paulus. In other words, that tells us nothing. Nassib is elusive in the pocket, several times escaping Akron’s rush and dumping the ball off to a tight end or running back. I didn’t see him throw down the field a ton but he seemed fairly accurate. A couple of times he forced balls and that was his biggest drawback from what I could see. The Huskies could get a chance for a few turnovers if he does that. His backups are completely unproven.
Running back may be the best position the Orange (how have I not mentioned how lame their nickname is) have. They have a senior, Delone Carter, who rushed for 1,021 yards last year. Carter is a power back who runs between the tackles. Akron loaded the box against him and that kept him in check for a good share of the game. He still got his yards and is the kind of back where you don’t realize how many yards he picks up until you look at the stats after the game. His backups are Antwon Bailey, who is another power back, and Prince Tyson-Gulley who is the explosive, make you miss guy in the offense. He didn’t play much against Akron though. Their fullback, Adam Harris, sounds like a pretty normal, solid fullback.
Wide Receivers/Tight End:
The Orange have a bunch of possession receivers and don’t seem to have any deep threats. Their best receiver is probably Alec Lemon. He caught 29 balls last season as a true freshman and is sure-handed. The rest of the receivers don’t have a ton of experience and don’t seem like great playmakers. Junior tight end, Nick Provo, might be the best receiver the Orange have and he’ll definitely be an asset on Saturday. This group isn’t terrible but definitely lacks explosiveness.
The line only returns one guy from a unit that wasn’t very good last year. Ryan Bartholomew is the returning starter and has switched to center after playing most of his career at guard. The unit is built up to be physical and aggressive. They aren’t as big as BYU but they aren’t small by any means (no one is under 287 lbs.). There were no huge holes against Akron and they didn’t seem to dominate the game but Akron did load the box which made it a little bit hard to get a read on the running game. They were okay in pass protection, not great though. They have absolutely no depth, for what it’s worth.
The Orange were very good against the run last year and that started with the defensive line. They lost their star defensive tackle, Arthur Jones, to graduation and their top defensive end to knee problems but the Orange still have a lot of experienced players on the line. It’s tough to get a read on how good these guys are. They got a lot of help from a solid linebacking crew behind them in the first game but there also weren’t a ton of holes Akron had to run through. Again, it was Akron. Their mascot is the Zips…
Along with running back, this is the Orange’s best position. They have two leaders, Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue, who are about as solid as they come. Expect to hear their names a lot. After those two guys, there’s a bunch of young players. The other starter is true freshman, Marquis Spruill, who has good size and speed. There isn’t much depth but the top two guys at this position make it strong.
The secondary was pretty bad last year but they do have experience now. They didn’t impress me very much during the Akron game but they weren’t bad. Mike Holmes is one of their corners and is pretty solid. The rest of this group makes me think that the Huskies will be passing a lot on Saturday.
So, there you have it. Hopefully this was a little bit helpful. We’ll have predictions coming soon and more!