If you take last basketball season and the last two years of football, Syracuse will have played Maine as often as its played Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Cincinnati. The basketball team had its way with the Black Bears while last year's football outcome was positive but not as positive as we would have liked. On the heels of the nasty Washington loss, we're hoping to make things a little bit more how basketball does it this time around.
Doug Marrone has begun preparations for Maine. The first step? Not taking them lightly at all:
"We understand that Maine is always a team that gets better and better from game to game. They gave us all we could handle last year. We know we’ll get their best," Marrone said.
Some might consider this a trap game, especially with all of the FCS upsets so far (James Madison, North Dakota State, South Dakota). However Doug Marrone would like to remind you we haven't earned the right to play "trap games" yet.
"Some people refer to these games as trap games," Marrone said. "You take them for granted.
"We’re not even close to that stage."
And so what of these 2010 Maine Black Bears? Picking to finish near the bottom of their conference, theory dictates that the Orange will have an easier time this year than last. But let's see if the theory is holding up so far...
Defensive struggle is one way to describe Maine's first game of the season, a 3-0 loss to Albany. A first quarter field goal was the only score of the day. The Bears started with Warren Smith in at QB but when he struggled, he was replaced by Chris Triester. Triester's day was slightly better, though Smith held on to his gig.
That paid off last week when the Bears bounced back to beat Monmouth 31-23. Smith was 17-of-26 for 197 yards but failed to throw for a TD. The hero on the day was RB Jared Turcotte, who rushed for 144 yards and 3 scores.
And so, my unscientific analysis based on game recaps is that the Bears lack any kind of passing attack...and therein lies our defensive strategy. Shut down the run and make Smith beat us with his arm. On the heels of the Washington game it sounds a little shaky to trust our secondary with that task but something tells me the talent level will allow us to compete a little better.
Keep an eye on The CMSB throughout the week for Maine updates.