Cornerback JohnMark Henderson is no longer on the Syracuse University football team. Couple with Mike Williams departure, that makes it a lucky 21 players that have left the program since Doug Marrone took over. Some left because of playing time, some just up and quit. In many cases it's hard to tell what happened but...what is, is.
Henderson arrived earlier this year with some promise and two years of eligibility to make it happen. As usual, no reason was given for his departure.
If Henderson left because of lack of playing time he would have been served well to stick around. Eventually, everyone in front of him would be injured and/or suspended. That's how it works, apparently. And don't think the Orange aren't feeling the effects of the shortage.
The Orange entered the week minus 19 scholarship players (the limit is 85) for a variety of reasons since Marrone’s arrival. Subtracting another five this week basically gives the Orange a Division I-AA roster (63 scholarship limit) similar to Colgate for its remaining four games, beginning with Saturday's noon contest at No. 14 Pittsburgh. Syracuse (3-5, 0-3) is already trying to narrow a significant talent gap on its conference foes as evidenced by its 3-28 Big East record over the last four-plus seasons. Now, it has a significant manpower shortage, too.
The Orange are specifically looking at the loss of five key players this weekend against Pitt (It's Wednesday and we haven't even talked about Pitt yet...crazy week).
First and foremost the Orange will look to fill the gaping hole left by Mike Williams, who accounted for 1/3 of SU's receptions and 1/2 of SU's receiving TDs. The losses of Torrey Ball and Jared Kimmel weaken the core of Syracuse's defense, the defensive line. Thankfully Jim McKenzie will be back in the line-up or else the loss of starting guard Andrew Tiller might have really destroyed the already fragile O-line. And in Bailey the Orange lose their second-leading rusher and third-leading receiver. Bailey is the big threat in the Stallion package so expect that to be affected as well. Mike Jones and Averin Collier, your move.
As for the players there, they're saying all the right things, putting their head's down and learning how to deal with the adversity as a team.
"We’re coming together as a team, man," said receiver Donte Davis. "That’s what we do. We’re going to stick together and stay close. You always have tests here and there. We’re OK. We’re brothers out here. We’re going to stay together."
"It’s a team issue thing," said Syracuse offensive lineman Ryan Bartholomew. "We all have to understand we have team rules and we all have to abide by them."
"Coach has rules and guidelines," said Syracuse starting quarterback Greg Paulus. "Those are the things this team is going to do. Coach always talks about doing things together, doing things as a family. He sets the standard through his example. It’s a great example for us to follow. I know we’re going get this thing going. Playing hard for him and our teammates, that’s what we’re working towards."