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Can you find Nancy Cantor freaking out on the sideline?
So you wanted to take a break.
Slow it down some and have some space.
Well, fuck you too.
~Song for the Dumped by Ben Folds Five
They could not even beat Akron. In the 25 years I have been on this earth I have seen a lot of great Syracuse games, and a lot of bad Syracuse games, but I have to say that this is one of the lowest lows. Alright, seeing as this is a day late you already know the situation, and if you are reading this blog you are a fan of Syracuse, this one will mostly be emotionally cleansing for you and me. So strap in and here we go.

All in all, Cameron Dantley (nicknamed last year as Cantley) did not have a bad day (13/20, 135yds, 3TD, 1INT). However, when you have a three touchdown day and do not win the game, you know you could have done better. He also had a lost fumble. However, the fact of the matter is when you have the ball late in the game, you have to score, especially if you are down. Curtis Brinkley also had a fine day with 21 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. The rush unit had 232 yards on the ground which is decent as well. I am not sure if the Cantley start over ARob was something that really changed the outcome of this game in any way, but I was impressed with Cantley last year and I was not unimpressed with him in this game. Either way, the offense is not the real big issue with this team, which is surprising considering how the offense really stunk last year.

This defense continues to be terrible, and the real problem for this team. Arm tackles do not work, and I cannot believe none of the coaches have told the players this. Several players on Akron needed to have contact a second or third time to even think about going down. This is unacceptable and goes against every defensive fundamental of the game of football. I cannot give them an F in this instance because they could actually stop most of the running attack of Akron, however the passing game being stopped was a completely different story. Most of the time players on Akron were wide open by several yards. I am not sure if this is because the defensive players are just bad, or they do not trust themselves, of if it is simply the type of zone or man defense they are playing, but either way I think I probably could have earned a couple touchdowns against the Syracuse defense. This is completely unacceptable, and if I hear Greg Robinson called a defensive guru ever again I just may lose it. Again, because they managed to stop the running attack, and Darrell Smith actually got an interception, therefore I will not give them an F. I truly feel like you have to have done nothing right to fail, however they do not earn much more from me because of everything else. Enjoy your moral victory of juuuuust being better than an average Pee Wee team would have been.

Special Teams
Not a bad day for the special teams unit. Patrick “Sex Offender Mustache” Shadle went 4/4 on extra point attempts. Good for him. They should be automatic and sure enough they were. He did not attempt any field goals, so he had a nice day. The punter Rob Long punted three times for a total of 116 yards, two of which were inside the 20 yard line, so he had a good day as well. I believe one of which was also on the three yard line, so there was good help from his fellow special teamers. Max Suter had an alright day, returning five kick returns for a total of 105 yards, the longest of which was 24 yards. Therefore, once again the Special Teams unit earns best unit of the day, less for their playmaking, but more for the fact that they did their jobs competently.

I mean honestly, in actually executing this game, they did not do too badly. However, I believe the coaching grade has to reflect on how the overall team performed during the game, which was poor. Especially the defense. The simple fact is that nothing on the defense was fixed between last weekend and this weekend, and that rests squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Something has to improve or they will continually get low marks from this commentator.

D+ (1.28)
This game was easily the most winnable game for Syracuse, other than Northeastern, on the schedule. Yet, they lost by two touchdowns. Syracuse was favored in this game. Yet they lost by two touchdowns. Syracuse had the opportunity to see their mistakes from the previous week and fix them. Yet they lost by two touchdowns. Greg Robinson recently was quoted as saying “It's pretty obvious I would have liked to have won more games to this point. I really didn't have that much knowledge of where the program was at that point [when he took over from Paul Pasqualoni in 2005]. There was a lot of work to be done.” Yeah, and it was your job to do it. I guess you did not. Thanks Greg for finally admitting you are terrible. We appreciate it. At least one thing was fixed from last year. H/T to Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan for the video.

Next week Penn State will be in town, and the Carrier Dome will be packed. Not with Syracuse fans, although some will come, but rather travelers from State College and all points in between. Syracuse will surely be demolished. Here is my prediction now; if Syracuse loses to Penn State by more than 40 points, and we either lost to Northeastern, or we do not win by a touchdown, Greg will be fired after that game. Just a gut feeling. We’ll see if I am right, and at this point I am praying I am. I wish I did not have to stomach an impending 1-11 season, but I and you are as well. I will be in Syracuse this Friday for the world premier of The Express, and subsequently the Penn State game on Saturday so look for lots of writing about all that next week. In the meanwhile, starting later today will be part one of my four part series on Ernie Davis’s hometown legacy in Elmira, New York. Until then, stay away from sharp objects.


1 Responses to “Akron - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Can This Team Get Lower?”

  1. # Blogger John

    My reactions to the scores:
    - I may have even given the Offense a slightly higher score. The O line has made leaps and bounds over last year; we now have a running game; and we saw some greatly effective use of the tight end. Isn't that what the West Coast Offense is all about?
    - You say you couldn't give the Defense an F because they contained the Akron run game. Me? I have no trouble giving them an F. They just don't get it: they can't tackle, they can't defend the pass, they're not conditioned. Is this their fault? Not totally... when it comes to the game situation, sure, they have to execute. But when they're not learning the fundamentals in practice, when the COACH is having you do "thud drills" and then doesn't have answers on how to fix the defense -- that's not the players' fault.
    - Coaching, D-? Another one I'd give an F. Sure, shit rolls downhill and people like Mitch Browning who have actually improved his facet of the team get overlooked by Greggers' total incompetence. But Mitch isn't the face of the program; Greggers is. The head coach has the final say and has to accept the ultimate responsibility. The 4th quarter collapse of this team is directly attributable to this coach. These players are (or could be) good enough to finish a game like that. But a stronger, smarter defense, and a better executing offense, wins us that game, no question about it. In my mind, that results in an F for Coaching.

    And honestly, these are still my thoughts, after having seen the game live in person at the Dome, staying to the bitter end, and having had the luxury of sleeping on it for 3 nights now.

    On my drive home from Syracuse after the game, I was listening to Jim Lurch's call-in show on AM 570. One of the callers, who had been an Orange fan for decades and had held season tickets up until recently, posed an interesting query: are we at the low point in the program? Where do they go from here? Doesn't it seem like they're just treading water in the years since Greggers took over?

    Sir, there isn't enough energy left for treading water. The head is sinking below the water, and those oxygen molecules are bound to hydrogen... so good luck breathing down there.

    Next up: Otto the Orange grows gills. That and more, tonight at 11.  

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