Syracuse was magical behind the arc. Devo, fresh off suspension, popped in three of six and earned 20 total points. Andy Rautins made seven of ten and scored a total of 26 points in another excellent game from Andy. Overall the team made 12-22 (54.5%) and shot the ball very well away from the basket. Andy Rautins was your leading scorer with 26. Eric’s 20 were good also because they were much desired “points off the bench” because of his suspension having him lose his starting spot.
Flynn had a nice night with 14 points and was slicing the lane a lot, however he committed way to many turnovers by trying to pass over or through four or five defenders. Sloppy passes in a close game will be detrimental to a poor shooting night should the Orange have one.
Onuaku and Jackson each had a decent night with 11 and 14 points and 7 and 7 rebounds respectively. However, they both continued to miss easy buckets mere steps from the hoop. Therefore I think it can easily be classified as an off night for both of them.
Kristof! made good use of his 23 minutes in the game, providing a defensive spark off the bench. In his short time he got eight rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. He also seemed to gain some self confidence back after losing his starting spot.
Harris had a good game going starting with three points but then injured his hand. It appears it was just cut and with the lead he sat out the rest of the game. He should be good to go in the next contest, but should news change I’ll keep you updated.
Overall the team played well, but a lot of sloppy passes resulted in the 20 turnovers that Syracuse had. Limiting turnovers is the key in a close game against a tough opponent. Just ask UConn.
All in all an outstanding game for Syracuse who managed to attain triple digits on the scoreboard in a Big East contest. I grossly overestimated Seton Hall’s abilities and Syracuse cruises to their first conference victory. The next two games for Syracuse should not be too taxing as they travel to USF and then take on DePaul at home. If the Orange play well, they will be set up to take on some heavies in the conference very soon.
Then of course December 29th, 2004 that was the day at brand new Athletic Director DOCTOR Gross fired Coach P after a six win season. Six wins seems like a lot these days considering that Greg Robinson managed ten wins in four years.
So today is yet another day in a yearly status check that I personally take of where we are in terms of football. While some things got better (the offensive line), some things got worse (Greg Robinson’s win %). Because even if you are a nice guy, and the team gets better, if you do not win games you lose your job. So Syracuse hired alumnus Doug Marrone. He has about eight months to get the team ready to compete again. Will we go to a bowl game this coming season? It is doubtful. Will I feel a whole hell of a lot better about paying money to see this new team? Absolutely. No where to go but up. But I already feel a lot better about our chances of winning more games or at least staying in games.
A year from now I will be out of school, already working for a bit I am sure. The season will be over again, and we will know right away if this is the man to return the football team to prominence, or at least put Syracuse back on that road. While I am not sitting in a sunny location blogging from a hotel near a bowl site right now, hopefully sometime within the next five years I will be. Syracuse traditionally has given me pretty great Birthday presents.
Labels: Holidays Are Enjoyable
The year, much like every year, started out with very high hopes. Everyone said that surely this team had to be better than the year before. Everyone knew that this team had no where to go but up. Surely Greg Robinson could turn this around. No.
We start out traveling to Illinois where Syracuse faced a Northwestern team that on paper looked pretty even to Syracuse. The first drive went well, putting Syracuse in field goal range, and everything started to look up. However, sadly Syracuse remembered they were Syracuse and the offense stalled. Andrew Robinson started at quarterback and finished poorly (14/28, 103yds, 0TD, 1INT) and he actually managed to get a safety by getting an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone. The Northwestern defense proved to be formidable to the unfocused and unprepared Syracuse offense. Syracuse lost 30 to ten, and earned a GPA from me of 1.63 (C-).
Then it came time to open up the season in the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse was set to take on the Akron Zipps from the MAC Conference and they freaking blew it in their home stadium. The offense actually did not have a bad day with Cameron Dantley getting the start and doing well (13/20, 135yds, 3TD, 1INT), and Curtis Brinkley also had a fine day with 21 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line really showed they had improved from last season. However, what was clear was that the defense was terrible, failing to tackle just about anything. Syracuse lost this one 42 to 28 and they earned a GPA of 1.28 (D+).
After losing to Akron, nothing like renewing a storied football rivalry with a team ranked in the top 25. A day after the world premier of The Express, Syracuse took on past rival Penn State in the Carrier Dome, ranked 17th. With Dennis Quaid and Rob Brown, stars of the movie, as honorary captains, Syracuse looked dismal against the far superior team. The offense was bad, the defense was bad, the coaching was bad, and the only thing that was not bad was the special teams. Penn State obliterated Syracuse 55 to 13. Syracuse earned a GPA of .83 (D-).
The cure for what ails you; a 1-AA (FCS) Northeastern team for Homecoming. Syracuse next plays Northeastern in the Dome and hey, they got a win. The offense was pretty good, with Brinkley earned 145 yards on the ground and a touchdown and Doug Hogue having exactly 100 yards and a touchdown. But the defense was just dreadful in allowing Northeastern to get within striking distance. Syracuse won, but it was too close 31 to 20. Because this was a 1-AA team, they did not get a grade but simply a pass.
Then it was probably the worst game of the season. Syracuse had Pittsburgh beat for just about three quarters. Then they remembered that they were not a good team and allowed Pittsburgh to take the lead late in the game that they finished with. Offense was again not so bad. Dantley had a nice day (9/17, 137yds, 2 TD, 0 INT), and Brinkley finished with 119 yards on 16 carries. But the defense let Pittsburgh get right back in this game. Syracuse was full of heartbreak and sorrow in this game. Even the special teams ran back a kickoff for a touchdown. Syracuse lost however, 34 to 24. Syracuse earned a GPA of 2.56 (C+).
What a perfect time for a bye week. Syracuse then traveled to West Virginia to take on an up and down Mountaineer team. Syracuse underwhelmed again. Curtis “Boonah” Brinkley tearing off 144 yards and gaining 5.1 yards a carry against West Virginia, a defense that is fairly strong in the Big East. The offense was successful, but the defense allowed a 92 yard forth quarter run by Noel Devine to put the game out of reach for the Orange. Syracuse lost 17 to six, and earned a GPA of 2.75 (B-).
On the road again, Syracuse traveled down to a struggling USF team, ranked 19th in the nation. Similarly to us scheduling Northeastern, the Big East Gods gave USF an easy win with the Orange. USF had Syracuse’s number as the defense allowed Matt Grothe to run 72 yards for a touchdown. He’s the freaking quarterback. Curtis Brinkley had another outstanding game (20 carries, 129yds, 4.8y/c, 1 TD), but the team overall could not do much. Syracuse lost 45 to 13, and earned a 1.9 GPA (C/C-)
Another bye week and it is back to business with Louisville coming to the Dome. Syracuse owns Louisville Football. Syracuse’s second win and only Big East win came from Louisville. Dantley had a fine day (11/22, 178yds, 2 TD, 0 INT), and Brinkley finished with 166 yards and a touchdown. The defense was solid, earning an interception to seal the deal. Louisville just couldn’t beat Syracuse and Greg. Simply stunning. Syracuse wins 28 to 21 and earned a GPA of 3.05 (B).
Syracuse then followed up a nice Big East win with a nice Big East flop. Save for an 82 yard run by Doug Hogue, a run mind you that was the longest run by an SU running back since 1953, the offense was abysmal. Nothing Syracuse did on defense managed to impact anything. Syracuse had such a promising start, but then completely wavered. The Orange lost to Rutgers 35 to 17, earning a GPA of 1.35 (D+).
It was then back home for the final home game of the year. Syracuse was to play Connecticut in the Carrier Dome. At this point I don’t think anyone was under the illusion that Syracuse was winning this, but I think we all figured it would be somewhat close. Nope. Syracuse was ineffective and even special teams was terrible. This was the game that was the final nail in Greg Robinson’s coffin. Syracuse lost 39 to 14, fired Greg Robinson the next day, I drank myself silly, and Syracuse earned a GPA of 1.5 (D+).
So after Syracuse got trounced by UConn they then had to go and face Notre Dame in South Bend. I maintained that Syracuse could pull an upset in this game for five reasons, and sure enough I just happened to be right. Cameron Dantley had a fine game (13/25, 122 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), the one touchdown being the game winner. The defense managed to slow or stop Notre Dame’s passing attack, and freshman Antwon Bailey had a breakout game (16 carries, 126 yds, 7.9 ypc, 1 TD). Syracuse became the first eight loss team to beat Notre Dame in history. It was a huge upset and probably Robinson’s biggest win in his four years. Syracuse beat Notre Dame 24 to 23 and earned a GPA of 3.0 (B).
Finally Syracuse, riding high off their Notre Dame win, entered #16 Cincinnati to face them in Greg’s final home game. Some would think that the players would respond and get another and final win for Greg, but it turns out all of his magic was left in South Bend. The offense only managed to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Brinkley only managed 60 yards, and the defense allowed the Bearcats to cruise to a final Big East victory. Syracuse was unremarkable in every way and finished the year just like they started, losing 30 to ten. They earn a GPA of 1.83 (C-).
Syracuse had a dismal year only racking up two real victories, one of them a conference win. They finished the year 3-9 (1-6), and they looked pretty awful most of the year. Yes, they did flash greatness once in a while, but usually it was a lot of disappointment and head shaking. No matter how they tried, they just could not execute to a competent level except those rare occasions. They finished the year with an overall GPA of 1.97, earning them a final grade of C. It just does not seem low enough though does it? Syracuse ends the Greg Robinson era, an era only seeing ten wins on four years. We now look to the future, hoping for better things, and knowing that it is only possible because we have no where to go but up.
1. Orange::44: It's been a wild ride for the basketball team since we last chatted. They lose to Cleveland State, but then have won since, including a big one at Memphis. Thoughts?
Nunes: At the end of the day, you have to take 12-1. Regardless of the Cleveland State outcome....WE'RE 12 and frickin 1!!! How did that happen?
It had been a weird ride though. We had games where it really felt like we were a 12-1 team and we've had some games where we felt like a 6-6 team. I can't tell if its that we play to the level of our opponent or that we're just still gelling in so many ways, even as we keep winning. I still have so many questions about the future of this team. I could see them going 12-6 in Big East play and I could see them going 9-9. The point is, we know they're good but we really don't know HOW good they are yet. It's way too early to anoint them as Big East championship contenders, but at the same time that's not out of the question if a couple things break right.
2. Orange::44: What are your expanded thoughts on the entire Devendorf situation now that it's been a few days since the decision?
Nunes: I think that the University didn't get it exactly right but they ended up a lot closer to what the punishment should have been. If Eric Devendorf isn't a scholarship athlete on our basketball team with Jim Boeheim publicly defending him, I think he would have facing a much harsher penalty. Maybe not "suspended for the entire semester" harsh but much more so than 40 hours of community service. That amounts to a slap on the wrist at the end of the day and was more of an attempt by the Judicial Board to save face on all sides than anything else. They win cause Devo still gets punished. Devo wins cause he'll be back in uniform within 2 weeks. The accuser "wins" because there was punishment that fit the crime.
When I was a senior we got busted for having a party and serving beer to minors. We had to perform 20 hours of community service and were placed on probation. Devo basically got the same thing plus 20 more hours.
I don't want to defend Devo...he did strike a female in the face and that's a pretty shady thing to do regardless of the circumstances. But thankfully it wasn't as bad as we first heard and ultimately, it won't hurt the team nearly as much as we thought it might.
3. Orange::44: How good was Andy Rautins against Coppin State and do you see this continuing for him?
Nunes: I'm very happy for the guy. He wasn't in a terrible slump but he certainly wasn't firing on all cylinders. Talk about perfect timing. It's great for him because now he's brimming with confidence. It's great for Jonny Flynn because now he knows he's got a great complimentary threat back that can cover for him when he's off, like he was. And we know we can survive without Devo when multiple players are doing their jobs.
Will Andy hit 8-9 three-pointers a night? Of course not. But the spark that he can ignite when he does get hot is a huge asset for the Orange and I think it makes us that much more dangerous.
Now as for his hair, well....we're still working on it...
4. Orange::44: Is Syracuse ready to take on a Big East team now?
Nunes: Sure! Bring on South Florida!
It goes back to the first question. What do we REALLY know about this team other than they play to the level of their opponent. So in theory, they should be able to hang with anyone in the Big East. Like we saw in the Memphis game, a lot of it comes down to our ability to force bad shots. If Notre Dame comes at us with their usual barrage of 3-pointers, a lot of it is going to come down to how many they make and if we adjust defensively. We haven't faced a player like UConn's Thabeet yet and although we have the bodies down below I don't know if they have the combined experience to keep him in check.
I feel good about our chances in the Big East, we're certainly one of the more battle-tested teams among them. But I honestly don't know how we measure up day-to-day with UConn, Pitt, G'town and the others just yet. Time will tell. It usually does.
5. Orange::44: How do you feel about the rounding out of the football staff Doug Marrone is putting together?
Nunes: On paper, it looks pretty good. Yeah, Rob Spence left Clemson under bad circumstances. But good coaches find themselves in bad situations all the time. I like the pedigree of these guys...Clemson, Tennessee, Georgia, etc...lots of experience to go around. Inasmuch as Marrone is putting together a staff that knows New York and the surrounding area, the hiring of Greg Adkins signals that Syracuse isn't going to just stay local either. I feel like Marrone is really surrounding himself with good football people that he can trust and I don't think you can ask for any more than that.
If you want Norm Chow and Dan Mullen, guess what...Norm Chow and Dan Mullen don't want to be here. So I'm going to trust that Marrone knows what he's doing based on the finding the guys that are available and can turn a program around quickly with strong recruiting and creative play schemes. All of a sudden it seems like the pieces are in place to get some good recruits and play an offense that fits what we have to work with rather than try to force it.
6. Orange::44: Is losing JUCO transfer Barnas anything, or are you not worried with five QB's on the team already and the fact he played in D-III?
Nunes: Well apparently now we find out the guy wasn't even going to play QB (maybe...if that's not just spin). You always have to remind yourself that Garrett Barnas hasn't proven anything on a Division 1-A level so it's hard to say he was going to come in and really make any waves. That said, if I'm left with Cam Dantley, Andrew Robinson and a trio of untested underclassmen...I'm not jumping up and down.
My guess is that Marrone and Spence want to find their own guy. Maybe they even have their eye on someone already and that's why they didn't want Barnas eating up the scholarship. I trust they'll find what they need. In the meantime they'll just make due with what they have. And if we are going to run a spread offense, I expect to see a little more of David Legree in the preseason.
7. Orange::44: Finally, what is your favorite holiday tradition?
Nunes: I hate to be so generic but I'm a fan of the whole opening presents on Christmas Day process. As a kid, we celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas (haha...suckers) but somewhere along the way we just veered towards Hanukkah only. Then when I got married my wife celebrated Christmas so we started it up again. It's a great excuse to pretend to be a kid again, and I'm almost always assured the newest version of EA Sports NCAA Football so I literally can be a kid again for a few hours afterwards.
Oh, and Egg Nog. If God had blood, this is what would course through his veins.
And I'm probably ask him to see a doctor about that cause it sounds bad. Yet delicious. Happy Holidays to you and Cusians everywhere...
Thanks you Sean, great work as usual. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you as well. I’ll be back later today with my complete wrap up of the football season just in time for Christmas, if you can stomach it.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other Wednesday Nunes::44 will appear here, while the following week Orange::44/Magician will appear on his site. Until then, enjoy Nunes/Magician articles and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.
Coppin State - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Andy, You're A Fine Guy. What A Good Baller You Would Be.2 Comments Published on 12.23.2008 by Brian Harrison
I can’t say enough about Andy Rautins in this game. Coppin State played a really soft defense and that left Rautins open to shoot the hell out of the ball. Somehow he decided to have a hell of a day and make more than two baskets. He finishes with 29 points on none three point baskets and two free throws. He shot nine for 16, with five rebounds and six assists.
Paul Harris had a nice game with 15 points and nine rebounds. He had some good looks off the base line and made some tough mid-range jumpers. He looked good in this game and continues to just grind out productive outings for the Orange.
Arinze Onuaku had a nice game as well, with 12 point and ten rebounds. He, much like Rick Jackson, missed a couple easy buckets around the basket though. They should never miss those easy ones. However, they both padded their statistics by getting offensive boards and put backs. Jackson finished with ten points and six rebounds. Similarly, Jonny Flynn finished with ten points and ten assists in a game that he allowed Rautins and others to shine over himself. He played another 40 minutes however, so it begs the question as to whether playing so much will eventually take its toll in the Big East slate again.
This team had a huge problem with turnovers in this game. Syracuse had 22 to Coppin State’s nine. This was the sloppiest game from the Orange in a while, which is disheartening because they have taken much better care of the ball as of late. Syracuse also was stinko on free throws again, making only 12 of 18 (66.7%)
Syracuse did shoot the ball well however, making 30 of 55 field goal attempts (54.5%), as well as ten of 25 three point attempts (40%). Nine of the ten were Rautins, while Flynn made the one other. Overall the team shot well, but Rautins was the one trick poney of shooting in this game, and it will most likely be necessary to have someone else providing support, especially in those tough Big East road games. It is also necessary that the team makes those chip shots the first time.
This team looked tired out there today. It seemed I was correct in my preview that they would be flat from playing Saturday night in another state, getting a plane ride back, and then turning around and playing again Monday night. While this will be the case in the Big East, they will not play so many games in a short period like they have been.
It was a cold and snowy night in Syracuse and I am glad that the team managed to pull out another win. If I am braving the cold, I deserve it like the other fans. Syracuse delivered on a shooting clinic via Andy Rautins. The interesting thing about this team is you never know who will have an amazing night on the floor. Syracuse is back in action next week for the start of the Big East Conference slate. Until then, the team can rest, enjoy Christmas, and Andy is probably getting lucky.
Jonny Flynn is the leading scorer for the Orange again. He ended up with 24 points and six assists, however this game did not seem to be dominated by Flynn. It just did not seem like Flynn took 17 shots. This was a good effort for Flynn however, and he played all 40 minutes ala last season.
Paul Harris had 15 points and had his mid-range jumper definitely working in this game. He also had a good baseline game working. He basically stunk the first half, because really his strategy on dribbling is just to put his head down, get low, and go fast. That makes it very easy to pick his pocket. However, the second half he was much more controlled and put in a good game.
The best player (and it pains me to say it) was Rick Jackson in this game. Although he still missed a two footer around the basket on a couple occasions, he played a nice game with 14 points and seven rebounds and seemed to be in the right place a lot of the time. I sort of am in love with this bigger line up as I think it made the 2-3 zone more effective that it has been with Kristof! and Devendorf in the game.
Andy Rautins got the call up for Eric Devendorf not being in. He delivered with nine points and two assists, one of which was a great up fake and a pass to Onuaku in an open lane. Speaking of Onuaku, he only had four points and five rebounds, but it was less a bad game, more other players doing the job.
Kris Joseph had six points off the bench. Mookie Jones and Kristof! only played one minute each and did no damage on the scoreboard.
Syracuse played the 2-3 Zone the entire game, and frankly, seeing as Memphis only made seven of 33 three point attempts, it was probably the correct move. Memphis only shot 34.3% from the floor, and because of the zone, they were mostly ineffective from inside the arc. I was overall pleased with the defense in this game, however it still is bothersome that Syracuse bites on every single head or ball fake that the other team makes.
Syracuse on the other hand, shot pretty well. They made 47.4% from the floor (27-57) and 42.9% from long range (6-14). What they did not do again was make free throws however. They only made 46.2% (12-26) from the charity stripe and frankly that is abysmal. Onuaku actually air balled a shot. What are these guys practicing?
Sadly Dick Vitale and Dan Schulman were the commentators in this game. I myself could not hear them because I watched in a bar, but I was told that Dan blasted Devendorf. Not that it was proven anywhere that he hit anyone. I heart the media.
The referees in this game were awful as well. Jim Burr made a traditional bad call, but the other referees were worse calling phantom fouls and calling blocks when they were supposed to be charges. Nice job folks.
Also, did anyone else love the handshake between Boeheim and John Calipari?
Overall, this was a sloppy first half, and a solid second half. Pretty much exactly what we’ve been seeing all year. Yet, without Eric, the team battled back and won the game on good inside game, and some nice shots from outside at the right times. Flynn hit some great shots in the game and Harris and Rick had the game from inside the arc working. Now Syracuse will face its final non-conference opponent in Coppin State. However, if we manage to have only lost one game in the non-conference you cannot help but feel good about the prospect that this team will return to the NCAA Tournament.
I actually did not watch this game because I was studying. But I surely could not avoid it after the fact for about 36 hours thanks to ESPN and all my friends I ran into that went to any other Big East school. The stat sheet for this game does not look that bad as Syracuse went 54% from the floor and 40% from three point range. However, we all know that the defense and intensity was not up to par, and shooting 50% from the free throw line (9-18) is simply unacceptable. Devendorf showed no mental effects from the entire Judicial Board junk as he lead in scoring with 17 points. Syracuse did not deserve to win this game, and fate would have it that they would not. Hopefully this has lit a sufficient fire under their asses, but that has yet to be seen. Jim Boeheim said it best. He doesn’t think this team will win any Big East games. If they play like they did this game, it is true. Syracuse loses their first game of the year 72 to 69.
The cure for what ails you; a sub-par team that Syracuse has beaten the last 18 times before. Rick Jac… wait. Rick Jackson? Really?! Rick! Rick Jackson was your leading scorer with 14 points. Paul Harris also had a great game earning a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jonny Flynn got a tech. Nice. Either way, nothing too spectacular to report here. Just a decent game against a lesser non-conference team. Syracuse wins 82 to 60.
This guy is quitting jobs, hiring people left and right, and seems to be making everyone feel a lot better about the future of Syracuse Football, which is the idea. I’m liking a lot of what I have seen so far. He’s filling out a nice staff that should help him with recruiting and his approval rating in my mind is shooting up by the day. Donovan McNabb’s interest is peaked (H/T: Kirk).
The Judicial Board
As a student at SU (and for the record I have never appeared in front of them) I thought that the Judicial Board was an absolute farce. As a law student/lawyer I find it ridiculous that this process is able to exist and SU still claims to be for truth, justice, and the American Way, etc. However, the board that reviewed the appeal has decided that he can come back after 40 hours of community service. Hopefully seeing as it is the winter break he can crack out a five day work week of eight hours a day and be back very soon. Merry Christmas, you’re helping the poor. It’s a win/win. However, violating the SU code of conduct is about as hard as a DA getting an indictment for a ham sandwich from a grand jury. I’m pretty sure if you walk on the grass on the Quad it is somehow violating the code of conduct. Oh yeah, and there is a pretty compelling argument that the girl was never hit nor injured. Either way, for the shady business in general, this punishment fits the crime. I am satisfied. For now.
Mic Check… 1, 2, 1, 2
How great is this?
Fantastic. I love when Jimmy gets worked up over little things.
Still getting scooped by other people. Nice.
I think that’s enough for now. As Barney Stinson would say, “Daddy’s home.” Look for my Memphis Preview later today, a full postgame from the Memphis contest shortly thereafter, and just in time for Christmas, a recap of that horrific football season, with some goodbyes for Greggers.
Labels: Chill Out Already
It’s true, he has turned down head coaching offers before. However, he has never had that experience of actually running a program. I think it is problematic when you just end a four year relationship with a first time head coach, the most disastrous four years in program history, and they go out and hire the same.
He has been out of the college game since 2001.
He has worked for the Jets and Saints, since departing from the University of Tennessee system. The NFL is not the college game. The last time we got a traditional NFL coordinator to be the head coach, it again ended in disaster.
Can he recruit?
We are just not sure. Again, he has been out of the college game since 2001. He claims while with the Jets, etc. that he has kept up recruiting relationships in the northeast with high schools. This I am highly skeptical of. With a coach like Turner Gill, you know that recruiting can be picked up and probably be successful immediately. With Marrone, we just are not sure. It is difficult to resurrect a college football program, and it starts with recruiting.
Was this guy just what was left over?
Apparently Holtz was the guy until Tuesday. Before that, Gill was possibly the guy. Before that, ANYONE was the guy. Marrone’s name had only surfaced in the public eye lately. After we could not lure Holtz away from ECU, and it seemed like Auburn had Turner Gill locked down, was Marrone our only option left because he was in the minority that actually wanted this job? I would like to believe he was not, and this was the candidate Gross and the committee wanted, but we’ll never know unless someone in that room says so.
He’s an alumnus.
His hiring means that the big three (football, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse) all have Syracuse alumni as head coaches. Syracuse, their alma mater, is also each of their first head coaching jobs. “Today is the greatest day of my life.” He said that today at the press conference introducing him to the world. You can tell he is passionate and a true “Syracuse guy”. That is always a plus, as if he wins and can stay, this is a job that he could finish his coaching career at.
He’s an offensive guy.
Although he does not call the plays for the Saints, he still knows offense and has the ability to call plays and do such things. Sean Peyton of the Saints is just that kind of controlling guy that likes to call the plays himself. However Marrone has the ability to install not only elements of the west coast offense that worked, adding in the spread offense again, and who knows, maybe even an option attack. He will evaluate the current talent, as well as the players he can bring in, and adjust accordingly, and I have faith he can execute that.
He knows the game.
This guy is football smart. He knows the blitz packages that Rutgers uses. He knows the coverage schemes that UConn and Pittsburgh uses. He knows how to counter all of them. He knows several defensive and offensive sets, how to implement them, the personnel needed to implement them, and what is successful. There should not be too many moments where we go “what the hell did he just do?” I’m pretty sure he won’t punt on third down either.
He’s from the Bronx.
It is one of the best accents to say “fuck you” to somebody. I’m just sayin.
There are several other reasons to like or dislike this guy. However, these are the main ones. Only time will tell of course. Before we move on, we need to look back at this dismal season. Look for my season wrap up in the next week or two. We will continue to keep you updated on the Eric Devendorf situation as it develops. I have my finals all next week, so it will be sparse updating until the 19th, but rest assured nothing will escape the watchful eye of Orange::44.
Also, FanFoodie.blogspot.com, a great site to help you around any city you can watch a game at, asked me to put together a guide for Syracuse while watching your hometown Orange. Check it out right here, and forever thereafter in the “Unflushable” section to the right.
We will keep you developed on this story, much like Axe will. Attempts to reach DOCTOR Gross were useless, probably beacuse he was drunk already.
Eric, who has had a tumultuous stint on the team already, was on probation from an earlier incident. He now has five days to appeal the findings, and from the receipt of the appeal, the Judicial Board has ten days to write an appellate decision. In the short term, Devendorf will probably play, but he probably will not be in the future. I’m sure we’ll talk about this tonight, so come back at 9:00pm EST for our Big East Blogger Roundtable.
Andre Dixon, the junior tailback, was arrested by UConn Police on N. Eagleville Road after Dixon failed a series of field sobriety tests. He was stopped because he was following too closely to an officer’s vehicle. He was then placed under arrest and is now out on a $500 cash bail and is scheduled to be back in Rockville Superior Court on December 15th. Meanwhile, UConn Football Coach Randy Edsall has suspended him for the rest of the season.
This is not Dixon’s brush with rules. Dixon was suspended for the first two games of the 2007 football season for unspecified violations of team rules. Either way, this guy is talking like he blew his second chance opportunity. This very well may be the end of Dixon’s career at UConn as a football player. What a shame. DWI is one of the most avoidable crimes there are. It’s simple, you can either drink or drive your car, but not both. You can walk, get a cab, or get a buddy to take you. This was just a stupid mistake by a young man who should have known better. UConnvicts strike again!
Jonny Flynn again led the way with 24 points. He also had six assists and a steal. Flynn played well as he usually does, however six turnovers are a huge blemish on his game. Overall, he helped engineer the comeback by distributing the ball to Onuaku and the other shooters. While Flynn led in points, this was by far not his best game.
Paul Harris had a nice game with 21 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. He also made nine of ten free throw attempts. Way to go Paul! Devendorf had 15 points and four steals, but he also had six turnovers. Unacceptable. Onuaku had 12 points but only four rebounds. You could tell he was not as aggressive on the boards in games past. His unproductively on offense was clearly due to being double teamed, however that means someone is open so he needs to be aware of this and pass accordingly. Kristof! had one point on a free throw, but was 0-2 on field goals. He did have six rebounds, a steal, and a block, so he continues to do the little things to keep this team afloat.
Off the bench, Andy Rautins had a good game and played some solid defense. He was the main reason Syracuse could overcome such another large deficit. He had 11 points and six assists. Rick Jackson was mostly futile in his 13 minutes getting 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and in steal.
Overall, this game was brutal to watch. Cornell was on fire, the Syracuse defense was bad, and Syracuse’s offense stalled in the first half. Save for some lucky breaks and more intensity in the second half, this game would have gone to the Big Red. Luckily, Syracuse’s offense took over in the second half and Cornell finally started missing baskets. Syracuse escapes with an unblemished record again. Turnovers are the key for this team as they are coughing the ball up way too much. Syracuse had 19 in this game, five more than the previous game. Syracuse will need to be more patient offensively and be more deliberate with the ball to prevent so many turnovers. At least for now the team can rest as the game schedule will now relax.
Nunes: That was fun. I watched the entire game start to finish, with sound...a luxury I don't usually get here on the West Coast. It was an entertaining game as a Syracuse fan and a fantastic finish. It was nice to be reminded that watching Syracuse football can be an enjoyable experience.
It's also nice to beat Notre Dame and their smug coach...nice to know we single-handedly swung the entire Notre Dame alumni base against him in one fell swoop. Dude went from a Gator Bowl berth and good momentum for his program to waiting until Brian Kelly decided to stay at Cincy before knowing if he gets to keep his job.
Also a nice win for the Big East. Sorry Notre Dame, we don't like that you get grouped in with us in bowl situations and we don't like that you refuse to play nice with us for football. Glad we could help the Big East get better bowl games in the process.
2. Orange::44: What did you think of Greg's move during the Notre Dame Alma Mater? Do you think that he is a hypocrite for not staying on the field with the team at home for the Syracuse Alma Mater?
Nunes: Well, I'm no psychologist, but...
If everyone calls you a jerk for long enough, eventually you'll become a jerk just because subconsciously you want to live up to their expectations. Conversely, if everyone is constantly applauding how nice you are, and that's the only thing you have to cling to, that's probably what you'll end up being like whether you mean to or not.
I think it's subconscious but Greg feels like he has to "the nice guy" at all times. He's decided that for himself. And the worst the situation is with coaching and the wins and losses, the more he clings to the nice-guy routine.
Stopping the interview to respect the alma mater was a fantastic deflection technique, wasn't it? Greg got to hold off on answering any "negative" questions and came off looking like a classy guy. I don't doubt that Greggers is indeed a nice guy but to the extent that he pulls that routine, there's got to be something going on underneath that drives him to do it so much.
3. Orange::44: He then turned around and the team played terrible at Cincinnati. What were your thoughts of the game and does this mean anything for the future of the program?
Nunes: I had no illusions about this one. I knew we were gonna get crushed. We used up all our good mojo and momentum against Notre Dame. You heard the players before that game...that was their "bowl game." Cincy had too much on the line (even if they already clinched the conference) to lay down to SU.
And just like every other nice win in the Greg Robinson Era, the Notre Dame win was proven to be a fluke determined more by the play of the other team than by anything we did. And although Greg loves to talk about all the steps the program took to get better, we once again wasted the momentum.
I said after the Cincy game that the Greg Robinson Era ended exactly how it was supposed to. With a disappointing game in which Syracuse never stood a chance and refused to learn from it's mistakes in order to win the game.
4. Orange::44: Syracuse beat #18 Florida, #23 Kansas, and Virginia last week, as well as destroyed Colgate on Monday. How impressed and/or enamored are you with this team?
Nunes: I'm very impressed. I've been saying all season that they're going to be a good team but this is definitely beyond my expectations. I would have been happy with 5-2 right now. And to be honest, last year's team would probably be 4-3. No way they win the Richmond, Kansas or Virginia games.
It feels like the most complete team we've had since...I don't know...since 2003? So many complimentary players, so many different ways to beat a team. And the fact that they're getting experience playing man defense as well as zone is only going to make them that much more formidable come Big East play and beyond.
Oh and look out for Paul Harris...Flynn's getting all the attention but Harris is about to blow up. Excuse me...'fro up.
5. Orange::44: Syracuse stumbled against Virginia. Was this simply because of the schedule, or do you see a weakness in this team that could hurt them again before the Big East?
Nunes: It's hard not to overreact in November and December but that's what I'm trying not to do. Louisville lost to Western Kentucky but that doesn't mean they're not one of the best ten teams in the nation. Things happen that defy expectations this early in the season. On paper, there's no reason Virginia should have been able to hang with us. Was is the hangover of the CBE? Was it a classic letdown game? Was it just dumb luck that the Cavs caught us on a bad night? Who knows...but I don't think I can really say this is a game you need to worry about in the longterm. What we did against Cornell might be more indicative.
6. Orange::44: Clearly defense is an issue for the Orange. Do you like the new situation of playing mostly man-to-man, would you like to see more zone, or is this zone not good enough to run as much as we usually do?
Nunes: If nothing else, I like the idea of this team being adept at playing both kinds of defense. When Notre Dame comes to town and starts chucking up three-pointers, I want to know that SU can drop out of the zone and start challenging the shooters rather than just resting and hoping ND will start missing. All of a sudden the game is 110-85 and we're all wondering what just happened.
I just hope Jimmy B is keeping an open mind. There's no award at the end of the season for the team that plays the best zone defense. But the team that plays the best defense period, well, they usually do end up an award.
7. Orange::44: Big East Grab Bag: Cincinnati won the Big East. If the Big East had a Championship Game, what two teams would you like to see in it and what do you think would happen?
Nunes: Well 8-3 Pittsburgh is clearly the most deserving team to play Cincy in the Championship Game. The two teams played a solid game a few weeks back with the Bearcats winning 28-21 and I think the rematch would be just as good a game. Cincy seems to be in "head down and do the work" mode so I feel like, despite a big game from LeSean McCoy, they'd probably win that one as well.
Regardless of what you think of Cincy as a program historically, they're clearly the best team in the Big East this year. Take away that SNAFU game against UConn and they're probably ranked around #10 right now, with their only other loss to #3 Oklahoma. I have faith in them to beat whichever mediocre ACC team they play in the Orange Bowl and with Brian Kelly returning and an off-season to rest their injured players, expect them to remain near the top of the conference for at least another year.
Your leading scorer was Paul “Afro Man” Harris who had 22 points. He was working in the first several minutes of the ball game as he was responsible for Syracuse getting such a big lead early on. Paul Harris is excellent at the put back rebound in the air. Simply magical to watch. He also displayed that in overtime against Kansas on a missed Andy Rautins three.
Other than that, the team did well and it is of no avail to really analyze this game because this was a far inferior opponent that was not even remotely a contest for Syracuse. Flynn finished with 12 points and seven assists in his first game of the year in which he did not lead in scoring. He also had three steals. Arinze Onuaku had ten points and six rebounds, but he also had three blocks. Eric Devendorf finished with nine points and two steals. He had an excellent game by Devo standards though because he had zero turnovers. I feel that is big for him. Kristof! of course had zero points, but who cares right? He had five rebounds and two assists. That will round out your starting five.
Rick Jackson off the bench was pretty good, scoring ten points off four out of four free throw shooting and three out of six field goals. He also had ten rebounds earning a double-double. Not so good was Andy Rautins, who missed all four of his three point attempts. He finished zero for five on field goals and scored two points off two made free throws. What is Andy’s problem this year? Is Flynn banging his lady or something? Mookie Jones has nine points and three steals in 21 minutes of work. Nice job for the freshman. An assortment of walk ons and bench players saw action in the game as well, including a made three at the buzzer by Jake Presutti. I’m not one to give much love to the walk ons so that is all I’ll say on them.
Syracuse shot well from the floor, making 33 of 65 field goals (50.8%). This is up from the last two contests and the first time they break 50% since the Florida game. Syracuse did not shoot from long range well however, only making four of 17 (23.5%), one of which was that Presutti hit at the end of the game. This is unacceptable for such a talented team. Although it did not matter in this case because Syracuse could do anything they wanted on the floor, Syracuse needs that shot in Big East play. Free throws were finally way up as well as they made 16 of 21 (76.2%). Turnovers were right about the same with 14 on the game, however no one was a big offender just over half the players that saw the floor each had two. Again, Devendorf had zero so that is big for him. The defense was solid, especially in the first half as Colgate struggled to even keep their head above water most of the time.
A fine game for the Orange as they now become 7-0 on the season and 116-45 all time versus Colgate. Syracuse will next face a pretty good Cornell team at home, so stay tuned for that preview. Harris, do whatever you want with your hair if you are going to score 22 points in games with no braids.
The Big East is one of the nations premier sports conferences. We all know this. Especially you, the reader of Orange::44. Thus, there are a lot of people out there who want to know more about it. This is natural. But you may be wondering who will aid you in your quest for Big East knowledge? Why, the bloggers you know and love of course.
This Wednesday evening at 9:00pm EST, I am hosting what I hope will be the first of many group discussions on the state of the Big East and the teams that comprise it. Joining me will be a quality panel that we have assembled for this inaugural Big East group chat.
Sean Keeley from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Some would say he is the best Syracuse blogger out there. I wouldn’t not agree.
John Radcliff from Mountainlair. An entertaining blogger on the West Virginia beat, John will bring a deep knowledge of Big East football and basketball while wrapping it in a delightful bow of songs and sass.
Chas Rich from Pitt Blather and the AOL College Football and Basketball FanHouse. This expert from Pittsburgh will be riding high off his team beating West Virginia, as well as having a Top 5 basketball team.
We hope to be having these little shin digs once a week in the future, with a revolving panel of bloggers from different and awesome Big East blogs. We assume that since basketball is really kicking into high gear that we will talk about basketball quite a bit, but seeing as this is basically the last week for Big East football we will address some of that as well. Feel free to come and ask us anything, but keep it clean and respectful (save some light jabs if you are so inclined). I will moderate this discussion, so either way it should be a lively discussion.
Big East Bloggers: If you would like to join the panel in the future, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk.
Cameron Dantley had an abysmal day (6/23, 59 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT), Curtis Brinkley was a non-factor (16 carries, 60 yds, 3.8 ypc, 0 TD), and no one seemed to contribute in any meaningful way consistently on offense. Syracuse had nothing to play for but pride and that was not enough for Syracuse to sustain drives like they did against Notre Dame the previous week. Whether it was the dropsies, a bad pass, or simply no where to run, Syracuse’s offense stalled quite a lot. Syracuse only converted three of 14 on third down conversions and only managed 211 total yards of offense. This was another step back in a season full of backwards motion.
Granted, Tony Pike is a great quarterback. But when you have such a dangerous quarterback on the other team you would think that the defense would not give receivers six yards of space. For instance, on Cincinnati’s last touchdown, the man in the flat had a good six yards of space. Keep in mind that Cincinnati was in the red zone on the 15 yard line. There is not even that much ground you have to defend and yet Cincinnati made it look easy against our secondary. It is supposed to be harder to score in the red zone. While they did have one interception, the secondary was simply the worst in this game I have seen them all year, and seeing as it was the last game of the year, that is more than unacceptable. Hopefully the next coaching staff can come in and actually teach people how to properly defend.
Patrick “Sex Offender Mustache” Shadle did his part, as per usual. He nailed a 33 yard field goal in the second quarter and added an extra point late in the game. Rob Long also did his part, kicking seven times for a total of 271 yards. No punts ended up behind the Cincy 20 yard line however. Mike Holmes had seven kick returns for 161 yards and averaged 23 yards a return. Not bad, but he could have had better. All in all, a pretty pedestrian day for the special teams.
While they did not make any horrific decisions in this game, once again they get a mediocre grade because of the failure to adjust during a ball game. With literally no tomorrow, you would have thought they would pull out all the stops and try a lot of different things just because they could and they probably would not be in a similar situation like this in the future. They did not.
This game was brutal to follow. While you had to root for Syracuse to pull an upset and have these kids, and yes even Greg, go out on a win, they did not even muster a touchdown until basically garbage time of the fourth quarter. They looked absolutely awful, and they did not even play this bad against UConn, USF, or West Virginia. A sad ending note to the Robinson tenure, and proof positive that a change needed to be made. Good luck to Cincy in the BCS. Then again, they might not need it.
Syracuse football now rests for another year. Sort of. As we all know there is now a very public (sort of) search for the next Orange head coach. No matter who is picked will have the daunting task of fixing this broken program, and returning us to at least being competitive in the Big East once again, as well as sending us to Bowl Games. I will have my annual wrap up of the football season, or final grade for the semester. That will show the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between. Also, we say goodbye to Greg as he departs from Syracuse, possibly at gunpoint. Until next season, the crying child sleeps.