To Anyone Who I May Have Met Friday Night:
Now, to the task currently at hand – ripping Syracuse apart.
I never expected Syracuse to beat Connecticut Friday night. What I didn’t expect was to see Syracuse continue to show a lack of development offensively and fail to force a turnover on the defensive side of the football. Syracuse’s problems appear to be terminal, and until they are properly addressed, the Orange will continue to wallow in maddening mediocrity.
Fields or Patterson?
Does it matter?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s great to have a quarterback controversy on the Hill again. It wouldn’t be a football season if Syracuse didn’t have to choose between two quarterbacks who appear to be allergic to completing passes.
Perry Patterson clearly is not a quarterback with the innate ability to run the style of offense that Coach Pariani wants. While it was never anticipated that Patterson would throw for 300 yards a game, it was reasonable to believe that Patterson would at least show flashes of competence every once in a while. Unfortunately, Patterson can’t even reach this low benchmark.
Patterson didn’t just look bad Friday night, he looked downright terrible. With that performance against Connecticut, I have zero confidence in The Pudgy Passer to turn the corner.
Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if Joe Fields could get the job done. Fields, in his limited duty Friday night showed flashes of escapability, but did not impress at all with his ability (or should that be inability?) to deliver the ball downfield. It will be a wait-and-see approach to determine whether Fields will be a viable replacement for Patterson for the remainder of this season.
Running backs: C
This could have been Rhodes’ breakout game.
Unfortunately, it was 60 minutes of “more of the same.” Enough production to remain Syracuse’s only viable offensive weapon, but not enough to warrant any worthwhile acclaim. What could have been a terrific senior campaign has dissolved into watching a guy with great potential fail to meet lofty expectations.
80 rushing and 20 receiving amounts to a nice game for a nice player. But when you’re a Doak Walker candidate, average isn’t enough.
Receivers/Tight Ends: D+
Tim Lane: Terrible.
J.J. Bedle: How are you even on the field of play?
Rice Moss: Soiling Kevin Johnson’s #12.
Bruce Williams: Was it worth burning the redshirt?
Nick Chestnut: It’d be nice to watch him catch the ball in more than the 4th quarter.
If this group of receivers can’t get separation on Connecticut’s secondary, they won’t be able to get open on anyone.
Offensive Line: F
As bad as Syracuse’s quarterbacks and receivers have been this season, the offensive line just may be the root problem for all of Syracuse’s woes.
The line can’t run block.
They can’t pass block.
They do a terrible job at picking up the blitz and are generally just taking up five spots on the line of scrimmage. Along with targeting a crop of talented receivers, finding help on the offensive line needs to be Robinson’s point of emphasis this recruiting season.
Defensive Line: C
Facing an inexperienced Connecticut offensive line, Ryan LaCasse and James Wyche should have been a nightmare for Randy Edsall. Unfortunately, it was more of an uncomfortable dream than the impetus for psychotherapy.
Someday I assume LaCasse and Wyche will shed their Josh Thomas Disease and learn not to overpursue the passer. When that day will be, I don’t know.
Kelvin Smith made a ton of plays on Friday night. 10 tackles is nothing to sneeze at, and that kind of performance merits some kudos.
As for his mid-field mates, the jury is still out as to whether they can become the dominating force they were projected to be. The depth is still there, it’s just a matter of this unit finding its niche and understanding game situations.
The other big knock on this linebacking crew is their frequent infatuation with eschewing their tackling responsibilities. When you’re 6’2”, 255 pounds, you need to plant someone, not try and push them over. Sometimes, making the fundamentally correct play is a lot more worthwhile than trying to make a big one.
Dowayne Davis had a monster game. And that’s about it.
At least it wasn’t the disaster it could have been.
A 43.4 yard average is nothing to scoff at. During the course of the game, however, it seemed like Carney wasn’t getting the hang time that he is so talented at. Alcohol, apparently, impairs one’s perception.
I’ll just file this performance under “Shitty Weather” and wait to see what Carney can turn out this weekend in the Dome.
I had an interesting conversation about Pariani’s play calling following the game. The substance of the argument boiled down to whether Pariani was dumbing down the playbook too much or simply not having any talent to move the football. It’s probably a little bit of a) and a little bit of b), but I still don’t believe that any offensive coordinator should be unable to generate a minimum of 200 yards of offense.
It’s one thing to have a bad game with the playcalling, it’s another when the problem has become an epidemic. If something isn’t working, other options need to be explored. This isn’t to say that Pariani needs throw out the baby with the bathwater, but the current state of affairs is frightening. You can only play the hand you’ve been dealt, but you can at least pull the wool over the eyes of your opponent to give yourself a competitive advantage.
The aggression was back, but it probably bit Syracuse in its ass more than it hurt Connecticut. You can only watch D.J. Hernandez squirt through the “A” gap so many times before you realize that sending heat from the outside to converge on the quarterback isn’t working.
On the bright side, Syracuse will actually see a stationary quarterback this weekend against Rutgers.