Doug Marrone was displeased with his team's effort on Friday. As such, one would hope the team responds in a way that Doug Marrone would not be further displeased come Saturday and Sunday. You don't want to make Doug Marrone further displeased. You wouldn't like Doug Marrone when he's further displeased.
Thankfully, the SU football team saved their own lives by coming out on Saturday and beating the living snot out of one another. And it was the maligned offense that did most of the snot-beating.
Saturday, the group pushed SU’s veteran defense around at times. The line consistently got good push off the ball, and Carter and Antwon Bailey rumbled inside for several solid gains. Carter in particular ran with strength and purpose, lowering his shoulder and pushing back the pile for extra yardage several times. He broke one inside run to the sideline and raced 30 yards before being knocked out of bounds. Later, on one third-and-one call, he blasted forward for 11 yards, dragging several defenders with him for much of the way.
On to the position notes...
Everybody Loves Nassib. The sophomore is getting high marks from the coaches, reporters and fans so far. Any lingering doubts as to whether or not he will be the man this year should be officially quelled.
Believe it or not, there's one guy who might be more important to the RB unit than Delone Carter this year. It's his coach, Tyrone Wheatley. Coach Wheatley's philosophy seems simple enough...GET IT DONE.
"It’s quite simple," said Wheatley, who is ramrodding the Orange’s running backs. "My task is to take the players and incorporate their skills and instincts and creativity. My job is to get these guys ready. To coach them hard. And to coach them up, fast."
Meanwhile, HCDM remains pleased with the progress of Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith. Speaking of, don't you think Jerome needs to spice his name up? He's losing that war. How bout something like Hismajesty Jerome Smith?
Meanwhile, Rob Moore is looking to add more accolades to his illustrious Syracuse career. Moore has a Bad News Bears-esque task ahead of him, turning a ragtag group of overachievers into champions.
"When I look at the group I have I see some guys who may have been miscast or not highly thought of," said Moore. "And I think some of them may have bought into that. If we’ve done anything yet, it’s this: We’ve helped re-build their confidence and have made them believe that they have more than enough ability to be excellent receivers. We have a lot of work to do, but it begins there."
As for the guys still in uniform, HCDM is hopeful and likes what he's seen.
Marrone assessed that Lemon is a "good football player who has strong hands and runs good routes," said Sales "has picked it up," and offered that "Weaver’s been better (and faster) than what he was in the spring, to this point."
One gets the sense that we should expect good things from Weaver, shame we got him so late.
We haven't heard much from the tight ends so far this year. It's been a long time since a TE has had a prominent role in SU's offense but Marrone says that might be changing this year.
"They run a lot of different combination routes," Marrone said of the tight ends in his offense. "They’re not like a slot who is running all these intermediate routes. They have to be able to go vertical and make an opponent say, ‘You know what, we’re going to have to carry this guy, we’re going to have to jam this guy, we’ve got to pay attention to him.’"
"We have some phenomenal tight ends this year," Nassib said. "If we’re in a situation where the we’re in man coverage and we have a tight end on a linebacker, that’s a win all day. And even a tight end on some safeties. We have guys who can take advantage of that."
Nick Provo remains the odds-on favorite as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Junior David Stevens, who spent last season as a LB, might also be contributing. And of course Dave Rahme has mentioned freshman Beckett Wales as a guy with some potential, so at this point it's up to the players to sort themselves out.
(By the way, according to the media guide, his full name is Beckett Wolf Wales. That's outstanding.
It's official, we have a battle brewing for the WLB spot. In one corner, incumbant Ryan Gillum. In the other corner, baby-faced Marquis Spruill. Dave over at Otto's Army thinks the odds are on Spriull's side.
Gillum is the type of player who can find a starting spot on a 4-8 team that lacks depth while looking like nothing more that a special teams player on an 8-4 team. Spruill on the other hand was a 4 star prospect, older than a true freshman and represents the type of change you would hope during the second season of Marrone’s tenure. Spruill was on campus all spring, earning praise, and seems poised to become the third weapon in what has the makings of a fearsome group of linebackers.
Dave Rahme likes what he's seen out of Phillip Thomas, who made some great plays in coverage over the weekend.
Dave Rahme says it looks like Gulley and Steve Rene are getting strong looks for the punt returner job.
The first-team gunners for the moment...speedsters Da’Mon Merkerson and Dorian Graham.
Ross Krautman had an up-and-down day Saturday. He missed an XP but also drilled a 37-yarder.
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