Brian from Orange44 is back to talk SU football, basketball, lacrosse and former Marshall Street bars. You know, the essentials...
1. The Syracuse football team held their spring game this past weekend. What did you learn?
Not much. I hate this "organized scrimmage" thing that Syracuse has done lately. It’s a good thing Coach Marrone plans to make it a full game with the modified scoring next season. That should at least be more captivating than what they did in the Carrier Dome. That being said, Cameron Dantley should be the starter and Ryan Nassib should be demoted if the season starts tomorrow. Granted Nassib had a quick delivery and some nice passes to Mike Williams, but hell I could throw a touchdown to Mike Williams. "Cantley" was the more consistent and the offense looked good. Nassib could have just been nervous, but that is not a good sign for the young starter.
We learned that the defense needs to get tougher. Specifically our safeties need to cover better, but this is not a new problem. At least Marrone is toughening these players up. I think most of the players are respecting him for it. It is hard to gleam much more from this scrimmage, but at least the fans seem to be supporting the program again, which helps a lot of things.
2. Greg Paulus remains a "free agent" as a college quarterback. Should Syracuse bring him in or are we better off just continuing down our own path?
This is interesting and somewhat of a bizarre loophole in college sports. He has a year of eligibility in another sport and he’s looking to use it. I suppose getting a free Masters degree is not a bad way to spend it. But he is looking to play a sport he hasn’t played in the last four years. Will he be any good? I have no idea. But once upon a time Syracuse offered him a chance to resurrect the Syracuse football program and he declined in favor of f***ing Duke Basketball of all things. Apparently Marrone has a couple of good quarterbacks on the roster currently he likes. Frankly, unless this guy is gonna win the Heisman, I would tell him to take a walk and thanks for the interest. I don’t want a guy that we offered the world to and then spurned us coming back and getting the free ride again, only to leave.
3. SU received it's first two commitments for 2010. Without knowing how the season will pan out, what are the biggest areas SU needs to address in recruiting for next season?
Obviously Rick Jackson has improved, but we will need to develop a legitimate, talented center to sub in when Jackson is on the bench. Sean Williams is not cutting it, and frankly he may never cut it. Therefore a big, dominant center could be nice to look for to round out the class. Additionally, with the team next year I can’t see anyone replacing Kristof!’s blue collar work effort. Someone that is the type of player like Kristof! and even Harris, who focuses more on defense or rebounding and then getting the occasional low post look would round out a team nicely.
4. The dust has settled on last week's basketball team news. Forgetting the expectations of Jonny's Orange, where do you see the current team shaking out in preseason rankings?
I think we will barely make the top 25, if at all. And I’m alright with that. I too often forget that the 2003 team was unranked at the start of the season. Either way I think we should be no better than 20th. I think we will also most likely be picked in the top 5 of the Big East this year as well, considering every other team will be a shell of their former self. I think about the only guy that didn’t declare or graduate from the Big East was Greg Monroe on Georgetown. Either way, it will be a quite and humble start to the 2009-2010 campaign.
5. Give me a bold prediction about the 2009-2010 Big East basketball season.
It will probably suck. All the teams as we know will be shells of their former elite selves. Therefore we probably will not dominate as we did this year. But that is alright. Also, I have a feeling that Seton Hall will be a surprise. I have no idea why I think that, nor do I have any reason to. Just a random though. You wanted bold, so there you go.
6. The men's lacrosse team survived a scare against Albany last week. With two games remaining, can this team work out the kinks to repeat at national champions?
This team is certainly talented enough to get back to the Final Four. Could they end up winning it all for a record 11th time? It’s possible, but this season it just does not seem likely. John Galloway just does not seem as crisp and focused this season and seems to be letting some soft goals by. Especially evident during the Princeton game, the defense has massive lapses in coverage on occasion. While they bounced back against Cornell, and defended well against Albany, the defense is still troubling. But really, I think under pressure the overall defense will hold up. What Syracuse is lacking is Orange::44 favorite Danny Brennan. DBren had the biggest win percentage in the face off X last season, and that most assuredly meant more offensive possessions for Syracuse to work with. By winning only around half of the face offs this season, they are obviously giving the oppositional team more scoring chances. Although the Princeton game was lost by the defense, the other games were either lost or close because of the losses at the X. I think a Final Four appearance or a Championship appearance is completely possible and likely, but a win would take our talent and a lot of luck.
7. So many bars on Marshall Street are closing or have been closed for some time now. What's your favorite memory from any of the bars no longer with us (Darwin's, 44's/Konrad's, Lucy's, Maggie's)?
Darwin’s was my Friday joint. I was there almost every Friday at 4pm for $2 pitchers, and life was good. They had darts, long tables for cards, and for the ever pivotal Red Sox/Yankees series a drop down big screen. Then at around nine or ten it turned into a mega dance party if you had the chops to go the distance from 4pm-2am. Darwin’s will forever hold a special place in my heart and I feel fortunate to reminisce on occasion with my stolen Darwin’s pint glass. My favorite time there was my senior year in 2005 right after Senior Celebration at Manley Field House. They provided buses back to campus. The entire bus convinced him to go to M Street. Darwin’s was absolutely packed. It took probably 20 minutes to get a drink, so I ordered 8 bottles, carried them all back, and proceeded to dance the night away with my closest friends and fellow future graduates.
As a personal update I’ve elected to take the New York Bar Exam, which is step one in my multi-step, multi- year plan to purchase Darwin’s and re-open it. You’re welcome. In several years.
Keep it glued to Orange44 for more Syracuse updates from this legal eagle.